Postcard from Las Vegas
Armed with some local advice and tons of non-local opinions, we headed to Vegas as the gateway of our western adventure (more postcards to come).
We shared the pasta tasting menu, which changes as ingredients are in and out. We figured "When in Rome." And what I mean by that is, we eat a lot of pasta, but rarely homemade. It's something I don't usually order when we're out because I'd rather have more protein and less decadent main courses. And we're celebrating over here, people.
First, a little snack of marinated chickpea bruschetta. We liked this.
Tagliatelle with Burro Guffanti (butter!!!) and Peas: Buttery but light, perfectly al dente, the peas were super sweet and delightful. And I'm a fan of the shape.
Black Spaghetti with Ricci di Mare: This was spaghetti dyed black with squid ink, tossed with sea urchin and jalapeno sauce. At first it was delicious (and J LOVED the sauce), and I thought the heat was nice, but fleeting. Eventually I could breathe fire. It didn't taste like seafood at all, but was a little salty. Anyone with more cajones for spicy food would be fine--I'm notoriously weak in this area. But it was interesting and I recommend it!
Cavatelli with Rabbit Ragu and Favas: One of the top dishes in my book. Teeender bites of rabbit with parsley and the finest shaped (in J's opinion) pasta perfectly cooked. Fresh grated Pecorino rounded this dish out. We could have eaten huge bowls of just this--it wasn't too heavy, but it was more than comforting.
Jose's Pyramids with Passato di Pomodoro: These little guys were adorable and delicious--also in my favorites and another top choice for one big bowl of THIS. The sauce was emulsified tomatoes and the filling was beef shoulder. It was so hearty without being heavy that I just marveled.
Goose Liver Ravioli with Balsamic Vinegar and Brown Butter: You can breathe in the balsamic on this one from your chair, but the taste was not as overwhelming. The ravioli was thin and not puffy, and was perfectly cooked--a little dense, not mushy or soft. The filling is light, and the balsamic is the star. I definitely would not want a bigger portion of this dish, but it was so robust and different. I'm really glad we tried it.
The first dessert was right up my alley, but still wasn't the awesomest thing I've ever eaten or anything. The orange honey soup containeddates, apples, orange, grapefruit, banana, and strawberries in an orange/honey broth with an almond pastry of some sort in the center. It was OK. Definitely refreshing, but would not order again.
I liked the second dessert. A hazelnut panna cotta with Mirto syrup (Mirto is a liqueur popular in Sardinia), it was super light and had that melt-in-your-mouth thing going on. I could barely taste any flavor in the panna cotta if my palate wasn't totally clear, it was so light. I enjoyed it as a light finish to the meal but probably would not order it again.
The wine was to die for. We had a quartino (1/4 liter) each of the Terredora DiPaolo Aglianico 2007 and the Morellino di Scansano. I'm going to be ordering both of these for swift delivery to Arlington. DELICIOUS. Then we shared another quartino of the Aglianico. We were happy.
The service was unbelievable. We were seated late (approx 20 minutes post-reservation), but unlike last week at a less-classy establishment, the hostess carried our bar items FOR US to our table. We had new forks for every course, lest some residue remain and taint the flavors. A man used a large spoon to swiftly (I mean lightning, people) grab crumbs from our table. When a drop or two of wine was spilled on the table cloth, it so annoyed Spoon Guy that he symmetrically aligned a new white napkin onto our table to hide the disgraceful mess. Also, we sat in what we called the "wine library." We loved it--it was quiet and private.
I would definitely go back to B & B and I recommend it for people looking for a delicious, satisfying, somewhat adventurous, but not ridiculous (portion and adventure-wise) meal in Vegas. The tasting menu took a while, which helped us stay up and beat the jet lag. Can't sleep through amazing hand-made pastas, can you?
The moral of the story: Always trust a man in orange clogs. It doesn't hurt if he's also a trusted alumnus.
B & B Ristorante
3355 Las Vegas Blvd (aka The Strip)