Talented chef Mario Batali and winemaker Joe Bastianich have again struck excellence with their Italian steakhouse, Carnevino. Located inside the luxurious Palazzo on the Las Vegas Strip, the restaurant fits in seamlessly with sky high ceilings, antique fixtures, and touches of fine Italian marble that provide a sumptuous dining experience saturated in grandeur. Executive Chef Zach Allen manages an impeccable menu of organic beef, featuring six to eight month house dry-aged steaks, organic veal, Colorado lamb, handmade pastas, and exquisite side dishes reminiscent of traditional Neapolitan street food. Pairing such superior cuisine with an impressive international wine list, Carnevino exists in a league of its own, providing only the best of the best for patrons looking for unparalleled quality.Read More ...
Many years ago, a curious journalist asked Italian movie goddess Sophia Loren how she managed to get such generous female curves. She pluckily retorted, “Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.” So it was with this quote in mind, I entered CARNEVINO, an Italian-inspired steakhouse at the Palazzo in Las Vegas. While I may not have the assets of Loren, I do share one thing: my curves were largely due to spaghetti as well as my carnivorous passion for beef.
CARNEVINO is the enterprise of culinary and business titans Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich; one a celeb chef whose scorpacciata manifesto ensures gastronomic ecstasy and the other a celebrated restaurateur and son of culinary royalty Lidia Bastianich. Together, Batali and Bastianich, known as B&B Hospitality Group, have established some of the country’s most lauded restaurants including New York’s Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca and Las Vegas’ CARNEVINO Italian Steakhouse.
CARNEVINO is tucked down a hallway in the Italian themed hotel Palazzo so there is no glaring design departure between the hotel and restaurant. The hostess area has an understated elegance, filled with rich wood juxtaposed against gold-toned Venetian plastered walls that outline an imposing archway which resembles that of many Italian manors. Guests are greeted promptly and warmly by the hostess but often, too, by GM Richard Douglas or manager Erica Killam.
CARNEVINO patrons first pass by the bar on the way to one of the several dining rooms. One of the first remarkable features is the vaulted coffered ceiling easily extending 20 feet.
The bar features beautifully lit glass spirit shelves, a fine wood bar, and welcoming short cocktail tables. In classic form, there is a flat-screened TV facing the three stone archways that opens a portion of the bar to the casino floor and separates itself by wood balustrades. The TV allows the brisk lunch crowd to rest or catch up on the Arsenal vs. Manchester game.
However, our dinner destination is the primary dining room, but we couldn't help but notice the imposing statue at the entry. It features a life-sized bronze of the venerated Bodacious, a bull so fierce on the rodeo circuit that he was actually retired and put to stud (kept for breeding purposes) at an early age. In retrospect, we realized that Bodacious set the metaphorical tone for the helluva thrilling ride were about to embark upon at CARNEVINO.
Beyond the classically outfitted wait staff with oversized, starched white aprons, the main dining area featured rich wood flooring, stone medallions, mammoth ornate wood doors and oversized antique European sideboards topped with glass domed cheese trays. CARNEVINO's warm tone is further set by luminous lighting and several oversized tapestry draped windows that allow patrons beautiful views and cascading late afternoon sunlight.
Our table features crisp white linen with sumptuous and welcoming armless leather chairs that afford us a spacious vantage of the villa. We are met with congenial staff offering us both a wine list and our preference of water. CARNEVINO is one of the few restaurants on the Strip that owns a Natura machine, an eco-friendly purification system that provides chilled sparkling and still water. CARNEVINO, as well as all of the B&B restaurants, is very much into sustainability and puts their money where their mouth is by using energy efficient lighting to refining the kitchen machine oils which are made into the soap in the guest restrooms. In addition, they established a flourishing farmer's market the result of sourcing locally grown agriculture.
With sufficient time to settle in, our waiter Mike Stephensen approaches our table to welcome us to CARNEVINO. As he presents the menu and an addendum to the menu that couldn't fit, he acknowledges the many features of the day that change based on availability. Even though CARNEVINO's menus are oversized, three-quarters of it features an impressive global wine and champagne list. The list is an oenologist’s playground. After an extensive search, I turn to one of CARNEVINO's three sommeliers, Phoenix Marchin, to help me find a wine that would pair well with my dining experience. She deftly makes recommendations given our primary beef menu selections. So we start our epicurean journey with Bastianich's own 2008 Vespa Bianco Fruili to accompany the grilled octopus antipasti.
CARNEVINO’s grilled octopus is befitting of King Triton. The thick tentacle was slowly braised at low temperatures in a cork-strewn white wine and chili flake fluid that imparts a delicate crispness while allowing the meat to soften. The octopus is then grilled and dressed simply with pickled vegetables, homemade limoncello vinaigrette and presented with gorgeous fresh radish greens. From what we’ve read, many patrons come to CARNEVINO solely for the grilled octopus.
Under the direction of Executive Chef Nicole Brisson, a self-proclaimed “do it myself” kind of girl, she has taken the lead that former Executive Chef Zack Allen established before his recent departure to open CARNEVINO in Singapore. Brisson’s “take the reign” style with the directive that’s expected by Batali creates an ethos that other establishing restaurants try to reach but fall short: Take magnificent seasonal products and showcase their strengths with only minimal preparation; Brisson and her team delivers this dead-on.
To whet our appetite even more, Chef Brisson sent small fried Parmesan crusted orbs along with warm handmade ciabbata rolls topped with a delicate smattering of rosemary, CARNEVINO's handcrafted salt-free butter and lardo, the establishment's recommended accompaniment to their breads and is actually lower in fat and cholesterol than butter. It’s a creamy white spread with a decadently rich texture peppered with tiny beads of pork fatback that imparts a slightly salty but robust flavor that couples with the bread like Romeo to Juliet.
A girl that loves beef as much as I do requires eating it in its near purest form, which is easy when the restaurant's provisions on choosing its meats are sans anything artificial, so of course I gravitated to the Carne Cruda Alla Piemontese (steak tartare). Featuring chopped filet combined with shallots, capers, chives, lemon and a little mustard, the mixture is then gently wrapped with a shaved trumpet mushroom and topped with smaller mushrooms. Served with crusty crostini, the tartare delivers a powerful punch of dense beef flavor followed by citrus.
Two pasta dishes served as the bridge between antipasti and entrée: Spaghetti al Frutti di Mare and Beef Cheek Ravioli in a butter sauce. The frutti di mare contained briny shrimp, lobster, clam and calamari atop a hearty but manageable portion of freshly made spaghetti and contained a little sparkle of spice. The ravioli is presented like the backs of four envelopes slightly staggered. They rest in a little bath of a delicate butter sauce and just before being served drizzled with balsamic vinegar. The contrast between the rich butter and the acidity of the vinegar enhanced the ravioli's finely textured almost veal tasting envelopes.
During intermission, Stephensen offers us warm, damp lemon scented towels with an artfully tucked lemon slice with which to cleanse our fingers before our entree.
Part of the fine dining experience is the appropriate amount of time to enjoy the experience without languishing. The wait staff pace themselves to be attentive without being obsequious. Their table team was striking in the sense they were very congenial and clearly enjoyed their careers and were eager to answer any culinary question without making one feel inadequate.
Before getting to the main entree, which is the “La Fiorentina” (classic Florentine porterhouse for two), our decanted Barbaresco is served. Our sommelier made several recommendations and we chose for the 1998 Ada Nada “Valeirano” that was first fermented in stainless steel followed by oak casts. It's likely one of the reasons that it needs a bit to decant. The flavor was very pleasing and full-bodied wine with rich accents of plum even though the wine didn’t have sufficient time to breath.
When the piéce de résistance arrives at our table, it’s accompanied with a fair amount of pageantry and so we sat forward to enjoy the theatre before us. Two attendants push out a butcher’s table to our side to foreshadow what’s in store while our waiter artfully presents the huge hunk of flesh then carves it to our delight. The accompaniments of mascarpone and guanciale mashed potatoes topped with a quail egg or seared foie gras with Barolo is also placed on the table. The potatoes were silken and chalked full with creaminess. The foie gras is mouthgasmic, offering the classic first bite resistance that precedes the delicious melt-in-your-mouth cascade of rich flavor.
And the beef? Oh the beef... exquisite. The slight crust the result of being brushed with butter then “washed” with bouquet garni and salt and then seared at 1900°F and kissed with a little grape oil. Every morsel is tender without losing any body which possesses a robust and minerally flavor that clearly spoke of the meat's pedigree. Interestingly, its purity didn't result in any bloated feeling, just a sated and gleeful gut.
What's striking about CARNEVINO is that they have perfected the art of extended dry aging. While the industry standard for dry aging is 30 to 40 days, CARNEVINO can and does dry age over a year, as is the case with their Riserva. The Riserva is suggested for true beef connoisseurs because the beef heralds its arrival with a rich mineral taste and dense, musky notes of blue cheese.
Few restaurants take the time that’s required sourcing the cattle and working cooperatively with the ranch. By doing so, both the ranchers and CARNEVINO can work cohesively to achieve its set standards like to ensure the livestock is treated humanely and their feed is conducive to create the ideal prime meat CARNEVINO serves to its guest. Chef Brisson works with Adam Perry Lang, a meat consultant who can tell with great accuracy the flavor profile of a steer while still in adolescence. Consequently, CARNEVINO works with smaller ranchers in Utah and Nebraska for the 5,000 to 10,000 lbs of beef they receive weekly. Of that yield, every loin is inspected by Brisson, who then chooses those for dry aging. It's an expensive and time consuming effort but one that cannot be cheated. This is one the reasons why CARNEVINO was just named one of the world's top steakhouses by the arbiters of all things lux, Goyot.
CARNEVINO isn't just a steakhouse; they're a culinary good neighbor that also supports the efforts of local agriculture. Pastry Chef Doug Taylor, who is also an agriculture instructor with Nevada's Cooperative Extension, is known for jumping in his car to embark on a treasure hunt to find local farmers that care as much for their crops as CARNEVINO cares for their patrons—and planet. Taylor's found so many local resources and provided them tutelage that their crops have blossomed so much that the excess is sold at the local Farmer's Market.
There is so much to say about CARENEVINO and we didn't even get to the desserts—a true gelati trio of pistachio, chocolate and espresso along with an espresso panna cotta topped with butterscotch sauce and roasted almonds and bolstered by a 1995 Niepoort “Colheita” Porto. But that still wasn't the sweetest part of our visit.
Chef Brisson takes us on an impromptu tour of the immaculate kitchen that ran like a Grand Prix Ferrari. Everything about CARNEVINO is impressive and most especially the coolers containing the amazing charcuterie including sopressata, pancetta and salumi.
CARNEVINO may be a contraction of the Italian words for meat and wine but calling CARNEVINO a steakhouse is akin to referring to Bodacious as just a bull or a Stradivarius as just a violin. The restaurant and its expert staff deserve every accolade they've earned. And I'm pretty certain that if Sophia Loren had decided for CARENEVINO over her pasta, she'd have single handedly brought the Roman Empire back to its zenith much like B&B have done with CARNEVINO.
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had a wonderful, unexpectedly private dining experience in the wine rack room. amazing appetizers, entrees, and wine suggestions by the very attentive waitstaff. even had a nice little "congrats" on the desert plate once the waiter learned that i proposed to my girl the morning before dinner! great dinner!
Loved the restaurant, will make sure to go back the next time.
Wonderful setting, fantastic service and complete willingness/encouragemnt (even) to sharing portions of superb food - Cesare salad, bolognese and osso bucco!!!
Everything was delicious. I would really recommend the calamari and grilled octopus. Service was fantastic. Great experience.
Made our anniversary special. Wait staff was outstanding. I'll be back.
OUTSTANDING FOOD and SERVICE! What more needs to be said.
Melted in my mouth, beautiful! And the Wine pairing, to die for. The house made peanut butter chocolate bar was probably the best I have ever had. Not to mention the great service.
Excellent wine, fillet mignon, and pasta! We'll definitely will go here!
The absolute best meal, flawless from beginning to end. No customer experience ever. I will never forget dining here.
We have eaten many fine meals in many wonderful places. This was, by far, one of the best, if not *the* best overall dining experiences we have ever had ... ambiance, service, and oh, that incredible food! We sent our compliments to the chef and the entire staff. It was a special evening for us, our 40th wedding anniversary, so this was a special night, a special meal, and we were not disappointed. We certainly hope to eat at Carnevino again on our next trip to Las Vegas. The portions are huge, and the staff not only does not object to sharing, they will suggest it and carve and serve at the table for sharing!
One of the best dining experiences I've ever had.
There are a lot of good restaurant in Vegas but this has to be one of the best that I have tried. Food was great, services even better.
Our dining experience at Carnevino was the ideal start to a great evening in Vegas. Our reservations was for 6:00 and we had plans for an 8:00 show. We discussed our time frame and menu preferences with our server, and he guided us to the perfect set of selections, all served family style. We had appetizers, and shared a ribeye steak and a pork chop with a couple side dishes, all served family style. It was the perfect quantify of food for our group, and it was unanimous, both pieces of meat were "best ever!"
Great steak!!! It was cooked to perfection and the side dishes were amazing!
We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary ( actualy our vow renewal) and was very impressed with the atmosphere and food. Our waiter was very helpful and my hubsand enjoyed his steak very much. I enjoyed the sides, especailly the Beef cheek ravioli and the mashed potatoes with the poached egg to die for. Not much of a beet eater but if you go be sure to try the roasted beets.
Poor location - in the corner of the casino - not suitable for "romantic" dinner.
The ambiance was good, wine selection great, service was good but the menu was short and limited and equally as important, the prices are ridiculous, nice place but way, way too expensive, you can get equal or better food at many other places and pay less than half of the cost. Sorry Mario :(
The food and service was great!. However, the choice of music played was so loud one could not have a conversation with out shouting. The waiters seemed to agree and said that seemed to be the number one complaint of patrons. Also, the bartender seemed to be inexperienced at serving drinks.
I was looking forward to going to Mario Batalis restaurant but was a little disappointed. The service was average, my husband and friend split $110 steak that I thought tasted like a pile of salt. With all of the great choices in Vegas, I would not go back.
Very good food, a little bit overpriced. Atmosphere very different in the back of the restaurant, much better ambiance for a couple
We were in Vegas with friends and decided to make Carnevino one of our dinner choices. The restaurant is located in the Venetian and was very tastefully decorated. Loved the music selection and our waiter was very pleasant but the wrong drinks were served to some of our party and I think the waiter was having a little trouble understanding English. Small mistakes were made throughout our evening. The food was good but when I'm paying $100pp I expect to have my socks knocked off! I don't think I would dine here next time I'm in Vegas.
There are a lot of problems here and no superb things to overcome them or make anyone look past them is this place's fatal flaw. The wait staff wasn't good. The weren't helpful at all with the menu, no, "first time dining with us?", so basically I looked over the menu for 20 minutes and tried to retain questions for when our waiter finally showed up but by that time I would have needed a pen and paper which they didn't provide. The food was really just OK, not just OK because it wasn't worth the $219 my dinner cost me, but really, just OK at any price. They don't have salt and pepper on the table because the food is supposed to be seasoned correctly, problem was it wasn't. The pasta seriously tasted low grade and out of the box. The Cesar Salad (20 bucks for a side salad portion), way too much garlic and needed a blast of pepper which of course they don't offer. I have had much better and so has anyone who has ever had a similar dish. The Steak ($90 ribeye for one) was just OK, there are again, about 20 places with walking distance that are far far better (Mesa Grill at about $60 being one but really just about most places). When I asked the waiter what their desert specialty was I got three answers, when I asked the busboy (or bread guy) I got a different answer, this means they don't have one. If this was a diner around the corner from where I live with average pricing I still wouldn't go back, that's how eh the food was. If you are looking for an overpriced mediocre meal with pretentious service you have found the place for you. The only reason I didn't give this place 1 or zero stars is that it is just tough to give those ratings too much credibility.
The pricing is not justified. Sure, it's a good steak, great appetizers, and, WOW, what a wine selection. However, even compared to all of the other "celebrity" chefs restaurants in Vegas, which we have eaten at, Chef Mario Batali charges you as if you had to buy the whole cow, use his kitchen to cook it, and then purchase the real estate to eat it at as well. Ridiculously overpriced, even compared to the other "fine" restaurants in Vegas. By the way, they like to play the band "Bush" during your fine dining experience at Carevino. So incase you did not get enough of them in '97, you will get it at Carnevino, while you pat $120.00 a steak!
After reading highly regarded reviews I was excited about taking my clients to this restaurant. Our server was almost incapable of speaking English at all, and we found ourselves asking over and over for simple questions which was frustrating. Appetizers were acceptable, nothing fantastic. That's fine. Wine - Which is typically double what a retail bottle would be was more than 3.5 times retail cost at this place. (i.e. $40.00 bottle of merlot locally is $135 at Carenvino) Steak / Chops were good, but not worth the nearly $100 each! (These are still just cows, right?) The 4 of us decided to "share" 4 deserts. The "winner" was the Carrot Cake which was deemed only "edible". The other 3 were so terrible that they went uneaten. So "OK" appetizers,severely overpriced wine, a good (but extremely expensive) steak, and inedible desert. Not bad for only $800!! Let's just say that I will NEVER step foot into this restaurant again. On my tab, or someone elses. Nope.
The bone in filet mignon was an awful cut of meat & pasta's were too salty.
We were a party of 11. We ordered three full plate pasta dishes as a first course. Two of them came out cold. Also the waiter misjudged and we should have gotten 4 dishes. Each person got a tiny amount. We also got a fried calamari which came out undercooked/limp. We had this removed from our check. We were also misguided as to the number of side dishes we should get; we got too many and half of them were left over. Finally, the sauces came out much later than the steaks, which was very frustrating. I had the bone-in filet whcih was delicious on its own But I ordered the gorganzola mascapone sauce which came out ice cold & after my steak came out. I put a little bit on my steak but it made the steak cold to the bite. So I only used that one little bit of it. Finally, we had to ask multiple times for water re-fills. While the waitstaff was very pleasant and seemed to be trying, for the amount of money we spent (nearly $200 per person) I felt that they were not on top of it enough. Nor was the kitchen.
the meat was great but sides were awful and beer section was fair music to loud