So, I hit the big 4-0 this year, and Suzy, being the wonderul wife that she is, hooked us up with a killer trip to Las Vegas over Labor Day weekend. Having seen Vegas on the Travel Channel and many of the restaurants on Food Network, we set about studying the list of places we'd like to eat, if we could. The famous chefs have multiple venues here, and on our short list were one of the big steakhouses. Emeril had Delmonico, Wolfgang had Cut, but Mario, hugely excessive Molto Mario had his newest - Carnevino. Just the name did it for us - I mean how much better could a restaurant named "meat and wine" be for us? After looking over the menus posted outside the various restaurants, we liked what we saw at Carnevino the best, so we made reservations for 2 for 6:30pm Saturday night.
We had decided early on that the bone in ribeye for 2 was the protein of choice for us, and as this comes a la carte (if you can believe that), we inqured about sides and chose the special for the night - hollowed out pattypan squash stuffed with cheese and tomato confit and baked off in the oven, and potato and cheese zepoles - basically a fried mixture of potato and cheeses formed into little hushpuppy shaped dough and deep fried. The extensive wine list overwhelmed our modest knowledge, so with recommendations from our server, Chad, we picked an Italian wine that was just ok, in my opinion. Once we ordered, they brought us out the usual basket of bread, but since we were in Mario's house, there was a twist.
On the butter plate, there were two containers. A small crock of butter, and a small crock of lardo. Yes, lardo - pig fat, salt and pepper, served at room temperature, that was so decadent, I felt sorry for the butter sitting there practically untouched. Then the star of the evening, the ribeye appeared. They wheeled it out on a cart with a cutting board and Chad carved it up expertly, using a sharp carving knife and a spoon. Yes, a spoon. He pressed down gently on the surface of the steak with the back of the spoon so as not to pierce the steak while carving it. He portioned off all the major areas of the steak, from the tip, then on to the filet portion, then the flavorful tail that surrounds the filet. He plated it up, giving each of us bits of all the different regions, then sprinkled sea salt and drizzled just a hint of olive oil on the meat. No garnish, no salad, nothing else on the plate, except perfectly cooked and presented steak. The acidity from the tomato confit from the squash was a perfect complement to the richness of the beef, but the zepoles were just average.
Our service and dining experience were every thing we had hoped it would be. It was a wonderful Birthday splurge - the only regret was not being able to pick up the bone and gnaw on it or at least have it shipped home to Chloe!