Rosemary Focaccia with Salted Butter and Lardo
Gnocco Fritto with 24-month Galloni Prosciutto di Parma and Parmesan / Carne Cruda Alla Piemontese Crostini with Mushrooms
Snapper Crudo – Squid Ink Crisp, Citrus and Pearl Onion
Cesare’s Tuscan Fries with Gorgonzola Mascarpone
Grilled Octopus – Pickled Vegetables and Limoncello
Squash Blossoms – Ricotta, Tomato and Basil
Spaghetti Nero – Dungeness Crab, Uni and Chile
Corn Agnolotti – Trumpet Mushrooms, Watercress
Ricotta and Egg Raviolo – Brown Butter
Beef Cheek Ravioli – Brown Butter and Aged Balsamic
Red Snapper – Romesco, Cauliflower and Herbs
90 Day Dry-Aged Bone-In Ribeye – Maldon Salt and California Extra Virgin Olive Oil
270 Day Dry-Aged New York Strip Riserva – Maldon Salt and California Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Delicata Squash Agrodolce
Mascarpone and Guanciale Mashed Potatoes
Spinach with Garlic and Hot Peppers
Charred Yellow Corn with Peppers and Lime Sea Salt
La Colombe Double Espresso with Ice
Pumpkin Bread Pudding – Pumpkin Gelato, Caramel Sauce
Sfogliatella – Banana Custard, Huckleberry Reduction
Lemon Cheesecake – Seasonal Grapes, Lemon Zest, Grape Sorbetti
Bombolini – Apple Cranberry Conserva, Vanilla Gelato
Having recently engaged in two lengthy debates about the quality of USDA “Prime” Beef versus other domestic Small-Farm or European Grass-fed Cattle it was undeterred in beliefs that there is nothing quite like the aged Steaks at Carnevino that a party of five made reservations inside the Palazzo’s ode to Meat and Wine to celebrate, the birthday of out-of-town twins proving as good a reason as any to sit down for a four-course feast overseen by Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group’s culinary director Nicole Brisson.
Now standing as one of Las Vegas’ top Steakhouses for nearly a decade, the ten year anniversary that few survive to see coming in January and the restaurant still doing big numbers even on an otherwise inconsequential Monday in October, it was just 45-minutes prior to a big rush at seven o’clock that the group of first timers arrived from a delayed flight out of Chicago, the trio of hostesses collecting the reservation and quickly escorting the group to a large table in the center of the main dining room.
One of Sin City’s most lively restaurants, the overhead music turned down on this particular occasion but still assisting the bustling atmosphere by way of Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty and Amy Winehouse, it was after quick confirmation of allergies and intolerances that three Mocktails were ordered, each seasonal concoction praised by those who partook while Iced Tea or Water was the Beverages of choice for the others.
In many ways an interesting choice for a birthday meal as two of the five diners were Pescetarian, though any who have dined at Carnevino likely know that the restaurant’s Appetizers, Pastas and Salads are also worth the price of admission, it was after mere moments that the meal got underway with two of the restaurant’s signatures offered to every guest, the Gougeres unfortunately a bit cool to touch and without the creamy center usually experienced while the Rosemary Foaccia and duo of Butter and Lardo once again tempted throughout the meal, even though staff twice took away the empty small plates mistakenly assuming that diners had their fill.
Offering two additional Cicchetti as an amuse, two receiving Vegetarian-friendly bites while the rest enjoyed imported Prosciutto wrapped around fried Dough and Toast topped in aged-Beef Tartare, it was shortly after this that course one of the meal arrived, Batali’s charred Octopus every bit as good as usual with a good Char on tender flesh while the Crudo was unfortunately fairly flavorless, far better bites found in the Cheese-stuffed Squash Blossoms atop coarse Tomatoes and the crispy Potato wedges served with a requested side of the Restaurant’s funky Gorgonzola Mascarpone “Steak Sauce.”
Always doing an impeccable job with meal pacing, an impressive feat for a high-volume Restaurant that focuses so heavily on tableside presentations and lengthy prep-times for some of the heavier cuts, it was shortly after appetizers were finished that the team once again presented tableside with three Pescetarian-friendly Pastas plus Mario’s legendary Beef Cheek Ravioli, the Egg Raviolos divided tableside with deep yellow Yolk pouring forth soon to be sopped up with Bread while the Spaghetti Nero was mildly spiced with a good bite and plenty of Crab, the Agnolotti unfortunately very one dimensional as the Butter and Corn overwhelmed any semblance of Mushrooms or Watercress.
Happy to see others thus far impressed by the meal, the best certainly yet to come, it was after another brief respite that carts were wheeled tableside, a $150 Bone-In Ribeye and $110 9-Month Dry-Aged Riserva sliced tableside and presented with all the bold favors fans have come to expect while two portions of tender Red Snapper were served atop spicy Romesco along with four seasonal sides.
Quite literally cleaning the Bones and nearly every bite of the sides in addition to both plates of Fish, the Squash Agrodolce, citrusy Corn and Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes both with and without Guanciale all highly recommended, it was after a brief visit from Pastry Chef Ashley Costa that the meal reached its end, three seasonal riffs on old favorites highlighted by both the Banana Pudding served in a Sfogliatella cup and the Bombolini atop a bed of Autumnal Conserva while the off-menu Special of Pumpkin Bread Pudding was steamy, soft and well-spiced with Salty Caramel and a ball of slowly melting Gelato on top.
FOUR STARS: Not quite as landmark a meal as previous visits, the Bread issue frustrating but forgivable while two plates that should have been better are difficult to ignore from a restaurant that is almost invariably on-point from beginning to end, Carnevino nonetheless remains a top-tier Steakhouse more than capable of feeding a wide-range of guests from Vegetarian and Gluten-Free straight through to the “Meat and Potatoes” sort.
RECOMMENDED: Cesare’s Tuscan Fries, Griled Octopus, Beef Cheek Ravioli, Duck Egg Raviolo, Delicata Squash Agrodolce, Mascarpone and Guanciale Mashed Potatoes, 90 Day Dry-Aged Bone-In Ribeye, Bombolini, Sfogliatella.
AVOID: Snapper Crudo, Corn Agnolotti.
TIP: Pumpkin Bread Pudding is not currently on the menu, but may be joining for the upcoming holidays. If it is there, get it.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.