Bartolotta – 7/3/10

Bartolotta
Wynn Las Vegas
3131 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109

I first sampled Paul Bartolotta’s cuisine at the American Wine & Food Festival a couple of years back, and was really impressed by some of the seafood he prepared. Specializing in Italian preparations of seafood, Bartolotta offers a ton of different fish and shellfish, line-caught wild and shipped almost every day. Most of the fish are available served whole family-style.

It seems everything that the Wynn does is very elegant and grand, and this two-level restaurant is no exception. As you walk down the stairs, the main dining room is in view, as well as cabanas encircling the restaurant’s private pond.

We sat at one of those cabanas, which may have proved to be a mistake, since it was blistering hot outside.

We did not try any of their whole fish preparations, opting to sample more of their dishes a la carte.

risotto ai frutti di mare risotto with clams, scallops, shrimp, lobster, calamari

I love a seafood risotto, so this dish was a must. The risotto was creamy and al dente – just the way it should be. The seafood was plump and juicy, also cooked pretty well. A pretty good rendition of the dish in my opinion.

sauté di vongole sautéed tiny clams with tomato sauce, garlic, white wine, parsley

This dish had a surprising amount of clams, as we had been told the appetizers were somewhat small. The clams were perfectly cooked, and the tomato-based sauce was light and flavorful.

Grilled saberfish

Bartolotta offers a number of fish, “simply grilled” as an appetizer. Here we have saberfish, nicely grilled and juicy. The restaurant consistently served some very fresh and well-cooked fish.

insalata di campo arugula, raddichio, frisee, Belgian endive, red wine vinaigrette


The only dish we ordered with vegetables – the salad provided a lighter alternative, but wasn’t anything special.

spaghetti all’ astice spaghetti with rock lobster, spicy tomato sauce, white wine

Pasta with seafood is something else I really enjoy – spaghetti with rock lobster? Why not? This dish was delicious. The pasta was cooked perfectly with a slightly spicy, light tomato sauce. The lobster was probably cooked a little more than I preferred, however, as they weren’t as plump and juicy as I’d expect. They were still good though. The crushed cherry tomatoes added a bright, fresh flavor to the pasta.

penne con scorfano e melanzane penne with Mediterranean scorpion fish, eggplant, tomato, basil

Compared to the spaghetti, this dish was a bit of a letdown. The penne was not cooked quite as well (a little overcooked), and the eggplant and firm scorpion fish did not provide the same exciting, vibrant flavors.

pollo alla Riviera Ligure Ligurian style roast chicken, artichokes, asparagus, porcini, taggiasca olives, lemon herb sauce

Bartolotta is a primarily seafood restaurant – make no mistake. But, they do prepare a very nice roasted chicken. The skin, all around, was superbly crisp. The meat was moist and flavorful, and the accompanying greens and herb sauce were a nice complement.

Pescato Del Giorno Con Carciofi E Origano Oven baked imported Mediterranean fish, artichokes, oregano

The fish in this case was a Mediterranean snapper. I love light, white fish, and I loved this dish. The fillet was really moist with a light and delicate flavor. The tomatoes and artichokes provided extra flavor, but were mild enough to not overpower this fish.

torta Ligure al limone, gelato al rosmarino, balsamico dolce Ligurian lemon cake, rosemary gelato, sweet balsamic syrup

A moist and tart lemon cake was topped with a rosemary gelato. I thought the cake was nice, but the rosemary gelato did not stand up too well to it. A bite of every component was largely flavors of the lemon and balsamic.

In all, I was pretty happy with the meal at Bartolotta. It’s a beautiful looking restaurant, and the food stood up to it. Seafood is done very well here, and in a variety of preparations. Some of the highlights were the risotto and lobster pasta,  as well as the chicken and snapper. Next time, I will have to try one of the whole fish.

Providence – 5/14/10

Providence
5955 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038

My friend is graduating from law school next week, and she’s been meaning to come here for a while.  We made the reservation and were on our way!

I first sampled Michael Cimarusti’s cooking when he was at Water Grill. Soon after, he would set out on his own, opening up Providence in 2005.  It became a hit instantly, garnering numerous accolades – currently, it’s one of four restaurants in LA with two Michelin stars (none have three). I’ve considered Providence the second-best restaurant in LA (behind Urasawa) and hadn’t been in a  number of months – another visit was in order.

The first thing to come out was the amuse bouche trio of a gin & tonic, margarita, and a dish made of trout, spiced cream and puffed rice.

This two “cocktails” are the same amuses that Providence has had for a little while now, and I like them. They’ll definitely remind people of the Bazaar, for it’s molecular gastronomy-like preparation.

Japanese Kanpachi – crispy rice crackers, coriander, soy crème fraîche

Providence is primarily known for seafood – and this was the first dish that really presented some fresh, flavorful seafood. The kanpachi was good, thought not a really soft, tender piece of fish. The crispy rice crackers lended some texture, but may not really have been necessary.

Bobby’s Block Island Scallops – Japanese eggplant, rhubarb, cashews, reduction of vadouvan and jurancon

What a delicious scallop this was! Nicely browned with a perfectly cooked interior. The sauce was a curry-type sauce, and had a really nice depth of flavor. Surprisingly, it did not overpower the scallop, but rather complemented it quite well.

Spaghetti Alla Chitarra – Santa Barbara sea urchin, spot prawns, English peas, green onions

Beautiful dish again here – I love pasta and seafood together, and this was no exception. the prawns were very sweet and perfectly cooked, and the spaghetti was al dente.

Wild Pacific Halibut – smoked paprika, Weiser Farms potatoes, grilled local squid

The fish here was cooked well, again. The halibut was moist and flavorful, and the squid provided some chew, but wasn’t overly chewy.

Foie Gras Ravioli – Italian black summer truffles, aromatics, parmesan

The ravioli was brought out, and black truffles were shaved on it at the table. The ravioli was good too, with a great chew to it. Flavors were great, between the rich foie gras and the earthy truffles and parmesan.

Marcho Farms Veal Tenderloim – sweet peas, bacon, almond, morel mushrooms

The veal here, cooked sous vide, was extremely tender. A butter knife could’ve easily sliced through it. The almonds and morels were good with it too, but the bacon was missing.

Yuzu Curd, Meringue – blackberry sorbet, jasmine

This dessert was okay. The yuzu curd was, thankfully, not too sour. However, nothing really shined on this plate.

To finish, we got a plate of mignardises of vanilla macarons, caramels and passion fruit gelee.

These were all pretty good, with the macaron being my favorite.

In all, we had a very solid meal, definitely solidifying its status in my top 2 restaurants in LA. The seafood was all cooked very well on this day, and the flavors and execution were definitely there. I look forward to my next time at Providence.