B & B Ristorante
In the Venetian
Las Vegas, NV
I used to watch Molto Mario religiously. I have a hard time deciding which I enjoy more, Italian or Japanese food. So on our trip to Las Vegas, I booked dinners for both. The second night we were at Nobu, but our first night was at B&B run by my favorite Italian chef, Mario Batali.
First things first, a bottle of Brunello please! Yum Yum!! The wine list is impressive, if not overwhelming, and they’ve got quite the mark up — holy my gosh!! — our sommelier called it the “Strip tax.” But, the wine was pure bliss. As usual, I didn’t even get to the second page of the menu. I ordered as many antipasti and primi dishes as I could. Oddly, the dishes I was looking most forward to from watching Mario’s shows were the least interesting to me when I actually ate them. The Calamari and Seppie Fritti was fine but really not the best calamari I’ve ever had. The Marinated Fresh Anchovies “alla Giardiniera” were incredibly fresh (not surprisingly), not fishy like you would think anchovies to be, but they were all about the vinegar they were marinated in. It made drinking wine with them incredibly challenging. They were really good, but not a dish I would return to the restaurant to get. Those two dishes aside, the rest of the meal was fantastic.
The Roasted Beet Salad with Ricotta Salata was the antipasti winner for my husband. It seemed they had every kind of beet known to man on the plate and they were all perfect. The ricotta salata was a nice touch, it balanced the dish well and wasn’t too cheesy.
What really blew me away about the dinner was what I ordered from the primis. The blue ribbon winner for me was the Spaghettini with spicy budding chives, sweet garlic and one-pound lobster. It was so simple, pasta in a spicy red sauce, but none of the flavors were lost to each other. The spice didn’t overpower the sweet, tender lobster. The chives and garlic were a fragrant addition to the sauce but weren’t too strong. If I wouldn’t have had the Beef Cheek Ravioli coming next, I would’ve loved another dish of this. But, alas, I finished off the spaghettini and the large, rich plate of ravioli was put in front of me. This was really amazing. It was like a rich, slow cooked, stroganoff (but a really good one) wrapped up in a perfectly cooked pasta. The truffles were sizable but the truffle flavor was really in the sauce. The Brunello worked tremendously well with both the beef cheek and the spicy spaghattini so that was an excellent choice. The only problem with the ravioli dish was that it was too incredibly rich for me to finish. I didn’t want to send any back to the kitchen but I couldn’t eat another bite.
Actually, that’s not entirely true, I did order dessert. I got the Cioccolato, the Italian chocolate death, with raspberries and espresso syrup — heavenly! My son got the chocolate malt gelato and the Mint Stracciatella which was thoroughly enjoyed (the Mint Stracciatella should be a palate cleanser for them), and my husband got the cannoli. All three desserts were lovely. I still think I would’ve liked to have ordered in other spaghettini for dessert though!!