Sunday, May 8, 2011

Review - Carnevino - Las Vegas, NV


We were promptly seated in the smaller dining area on the opposite side of the host station & bar.  After having dined in the main area before, I was a little disappointed, the side we were seated in is directly in the casino and really didn't give the fine dining ambiance we were hoping for. Not to mention the blaring music - Red Hot Chili Peppers, really? At what is described as fine dining? The music was too loud, and along with the noise from the casino, I might as well have chosen to dine at a cafe.  Our server even commented that he had to tune out the bad choice in music and blamed Mario Batali for the music selection.  Ugh.

Anyways, on to the food...

Zach's Chopped Salad $18

My SO ordered the Chopped Salad and commented that it was the best salad of his life.  WOW.  Really? The BEST? I took a few bites and understood why this would be his favorite.  He loves anything spicy.  A salad is rarely spicy... But this one had a kick! It's described to have beans, Pepperoncini and Parmigiano.  But it's so much more than that. There is a ton of Parmigiano, and thin slices of chilies that are much spicier than a Pepperoncini.  Chopped lettuce, cucumber and garbanzo beans.  It was really spicy, and sweet and tangy.  Tons of flavor in such a simple salad.

Osso Buco Alla Milanese $40

I decided to pass on an appetizer and go straight to the entree.  I chose the Osso Buco Alla Milanese with saffron risotto and gremolata - this was fabulous!  The pork was super tender and full of flavor.  It wasn't overly salted, it was seasoned perfectly.  Alongside was the risotto, which actually wasn't much of a risotto at all, it was orzo with a saffron cheese sauce.  It was rich and creamy and complimented the fall apart meat.  Amazing.  I would order this dish again in a heartbeat.

L to R - Mascarpone & Guanciale Mashed Potatoes ($9)
Sauteed Mushrooms & Spring Onions ($12)
Roasted Beets with Pistachios and Gorgonzola ($9)

For a table for four, we ordered three sides. The Mascarpone and Guanciale Mashed Potatoes were really good - creamy and indulgent, the richness from the mascarpone really stood out.  I didn't notice the Guanciale much, it was subtle, but a great change from sour cream and bacon.  The roasted beets were great - I love beets on their own, but paired with an extra creamy gorgonzola and pistachios? Fabulous!  I rarely order mushrooms for sharing while dining out, since my SO hates mushrooms and will rarely eat a dish if mushrooms are even on the plate.  Fortunately his parents like them!  The mushrooms were sauteed perfectly, but they were a little bit oily, they were likely cooked in the cast iron pan they were served in.

Warm Cinnamon Sugared Doughnuts $12 

Ugh.  I wish I had gone for the appetizer or I had finished my meal instead of saving room for dessert. The doughnuts were just nasty.  Gross hard hockey puck dense doughnuts.  I hated them.  The Apricot Rum Pastry Cream resembled baby food, and was equally as bland.  What a major disappointment.  I would have been happier at Krispy Kreme.  or even Dunkin' Doughnuts - these were seriously bad.

Rhubarb Blueberry Crisp $12

And to follow up with my bad dessert, my SO's dessert wasn't that great either. It was sour, bland, everything I wish a fruit crisp wasn't.  It was very shallow, so a really thin layer of fruit with a really thick layer of bland granola on top.  Again, major fail.

Vanilla Semifreddo $12

My SO's Mom had the Vanilla Semifreddo.  I have to say that out of our three choices, hers was the best.  It wasn't fantastic, but it was good.

So, for sake of stating the obvious, everything is overpriced for what you get - be warned.  But to rate a restaurant lower because of the price range is just wrong in my opinion.  If I had a concern about prices, I would be sure to check the menu before making a reservation or call to inquire about the average bill.  Carnevino posts the menu on their website with prices.  The reason I am giving Carnevino 3 stars instead of 4 is because of the crappy ambiance and the horrible desserts.  What a shitty way to end a meal.  I think dessert is so important since this is the last chance to make a good impression...  They failed miserably.

Will I return to Carnevino?  I am not sure.  Maybe on a hotel comp, but no one in my group was thoroughly impressed enough to want to come back. With all of the fantastic 4 and 5 star restaurants concentrated in one city, it's likely that I wouldn't choose to return.

The Palazzo Resort, Hotel & Casino
3325 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Hours: 5:00pm - 11:00pm
Taverna Hours: noon - midnight

Carnevino (Palazzo) on Urbanspoon

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