Fiamma Italian Kitchen
Olive Focaccia and Soft Rolls with Tomato Basil Butter and Unsalted Cow’s Milk Butter
Pear & Bleu Cheese – Arugula, Frisee, Champagne Vinaigrette, Roasted Bosc Pears, Bleu Cheese Crumbles, Candied Walnuts
Beef Carpaccio – Spicy Patatine, Hungarian Paprika, Classic Cipriani and Citonette Dressing, Shaved Parmigiano, Smoked Black Hawaiian Lava Salt, Brioche Croutons, Burgundy Truffles
Grilled Mediterranean Octopus – Yukon Gold Potatoes, Kalamata Olives, Red Pepper Romesco, Crispy Capers, Parsley
Italian Beef Meatballs – Salsa Pomodoro, Mozzarella, Pecorino, Ricotta, Grilled Ciabatta Bread
Capellini All’Amatriciana – Guanciale, Caramelized Onions, Cold Smoke Tomatoes, Fried Shrimp and Lobster
Linguini and Clams – White Wine Garlic Sauce, Manilla Clams, Cream, Chili Flakes
Saffron Risotto – Pea Tendrils, White Tiger Prawns
Chicken Cacciatore – Fontina Cheese, Soft Polenta, Onions, Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Capers, Olives
Baramundi – Heirloom Tomato Marmalata, Summer Panzanella, Balsamic
Sauteed Broccolini – Garlic Confit, Chili Flakes
Crispy Patate – Green Onion, Crispy Guanciale, Parmigiano
Pistachio-Raspberry Tartufo – Pistachio Financier, Pistachio Ice Cream, Raspberry Sorbet, White Chocolate-Pistachio Shell, Raspberry Coulis
Peach Bellini – Prosecco & Peach Gelee, Buttermilk Panna Cotta, Schnapps-poached Peaches, Peach Sorbetti, White Chocolate Pearls, Bellini Macarons
Triple Cioccolato Bread Pudding – Dark Chocolate Bread Custard, Warm Milk Chocolate Ganache, White Chocolate Ice Cream, Chocolate Sable
Tiramisu Parfait – Hazelnut Sponge Cake, Coffee Soaked Ganache, Espresso Bean, Speculoos Cookie, Chocolate Macaron
Gelati and Sorbetti – Passion Fruit-Vodka, Jack Daniels-Cherry Coke, Lemon-Basil
More than a little impressed by Fiamma on three previous occasions, Chefs Pawan Pinisetti and Shawn Hamada continuously tweaking the seasonal menu while also tempting diners with Social Media shots of daily specials, it was alongside two friends that dinner was enjoyed on an unexpectedly quiet Friday, the first visit in nearly nine months showing several familiar items but many new ones as well with more to come in just a few weeks.
Catching the back-side of Autumn just a week before the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas sees many restaurants slow, Chef Pinisetti reporting several record weeks prior thanks to convention season, it was with deference to the kitchen and Fiamma’s Tasting Menu option that control was turned over to the Kitchen shortly after ordering Iced Tea, Caleb Anderson as well as Chef Hamada and the restaurant’s new GM all stopping by to say hello as diners conversed while enjoying the housemade Bread and Tomato-Basil Spread.
At this point a known entity with several signature dishes, MGM Grand’s website dubbing the Restaurant “Fiamma Italian Kitchen” doing the menu no justice by only listing “Featured Items,” it was for the sake of time that this visit was compressed into three courses featuring sixteen total plates, appetizers once again composed of the smoky Mediterranean Octopus and Beef Meatballs in addition to Fiamma’s stellar Carpaccio topped in Burgundy Truffles, the lone new dish a Frisee and Arugula Salad with crisp Vegetables, Roasted Pears, Candied Walnuts and Bleu Cheese.
Combining Pasta and Secondi into a single table-flooding course, the focus entirely on new plates including two daily specials and an impressive spiral of thin Capellini slicked with smoked Tomato Sauce and topped in Fried Lobster from the upcoming menu, it was somewhat surprising that a bowl of Linguini and Clams was this time a highlight having previously been off-putting and acidic, the substitution of Cream for Tomatoes making the dish far more comforting and creating for a nice back-and-forth with the daily special of fragrant Saffron Risotto topped in Prawns and a tangle of Pea Tendrils.
Changing the prior Sea Bass to a generous filet of Baramundi served alongside Summer Panzanella with crispy Croutons and vibrant Heirloom Tomato Jam it was from the skilled hands of Chef Hamada that another daily special of Hunter-style Chicken was presented, the crispy Breast’s perch atop soft Polenta and smothering with melted Fontina playing well off Capers and Olives amidst crushed Tomatoes and Mushrooms while both side dishes were equally well presented, the Broccolini lightly spiced and rife with Garlic while Potatoes seen prior remain crisp on the exterior and soft within amidst Cheese, fried Pork Jowl and Green Onions.
Transitioning from savory to sweet, Pastry Chef Denise Elrod recently posting pictures of upcoming items for Fiamma as well as Morimoto and Crush, it was as the dry-ice display of the Restaurant’s Peach Bellini billowed forth that Pawan described two new Desserts in addition to the Triple Chocolate Bread Pudding also seen in March, the Tiramisu Parfait a bit heavy handed as both the Chocolate and Espresso were quite bitter while the Pistachio-Raspberry Tartufo excelled in its subtlety, the ‘crust’ thin but dense enough to give the Ice Cream some tooth while the trio of Gelato and Sorbet saw Passion Fruit predictably cloying though the Lemon-Basil and Jack Daniels-Cherry Coke were both very well executed with the latter quite boozy.
FOUR AND A HALF STARS: Understanding the need to maintain signature items and serve guests of all sorts, but with a bit less “wow-factor” this time than last, Fiamma nonetheless remains one of Las Vegas’ best Italian Restaurants in terms of Food and service even when doing bit volume, the prix-fixe/tasting menu additionally giving guests a chance to experience a great restaurant on the Strip at a good value.
RECOMMENDED: Beef Carpaccio, Capellini All’Amatriciana, Linguini and Clams, Baramundi, Crispy Patate, Peach Bellini, Pistachio-Raspberry Tartufo
AVOID: Tiramisu was enjoyed by others but too bitter for my liking while Passion Fruit will never win my favor.
TIP: The Website Menu remains woefully inadequate and undersells the restaurant dramatically. See @chefpawanpinesetti on Instagram for daily specials.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.