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rjwong

Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare / Wynn (Vegas)

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Has anyone dined at Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare over at the Wynn?

I read that it got nominated for a James Beard Award for "Best New Restaurant" and I was wanting to give this place a try on my next trip to Las Vegas at the end of the month.

What would you suggest to eat? Is there a tasting menu? Please let me know. Thanks.


Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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Okay lets see here...I've had two meals at Bartolotta- one lunch and one dinner. To sum up the experiences, they were both GREAT. Going back to my notes, here is the menu and some commentary on the

Lunch (December 2005): me and my friend had (and shared everything):

Warm Seafood Salad- shucked mussels, calamari, langoustines, octopus nicely grilled. The salad was dressed simply with good extra virgin olive oil, and some lemon. I seem to remember some herbs (not in my notes)- parsely for sure at least. The quality of the seafood was (obviously) the focus. The flavors were bright and fresh, and transported me years back to my trip to Italy.

Warm Salad of Porcini, Arugula and Artichokes- this was arguably my favorite course of the afternoon, and it ironically contained not a single item of seafood. The porcini were sliced thinly and sauteed to a rich caramelized brown, and were tossed with fresh cooked artichoke bottoms and wilted arugula. The salad was, again, dressed simply with lemon and olive oil. Shavings of rich and salty pecorino finished the dish. The flavors melded so well togther- the earthy porcini, tangy wilted greens, and the salty cheese with the tender and herbacious artichokes...ahhh divine!

The main dishes were equally as delicious. I had their Zuppa di Pesce (it had a longer Italian name that I failed to note). It had clams, mussels, langoustines, calamari, and more- maybe too much variety here, as I was getting a new flavor practically with every bite. I didn't have enough time to fully appreciate the wonderful quality of the seafood. But that was not a major gripe. The wonderful brodo was rich and zesty with a nice punch from garlic and basil. It was flavored with tomato, but not overwhelmed by it, which many other restaurants tend to do.

Tagliolini with langoustines and pomini tomatoes was the other main we ordered. I only had a sample of this dish, but it was also good. The home-made pasta was slightly overcooked, however. The langoustines were large and sweet. Nice dish, but nothing outstanding.

For some reason, I did not jot down the dessert, though I am sure we ordered some. (Or at least one--it is not in my character to bypass dessert.)

Dinner (Summer 2005)

Red Mullet, taggiasche olives, capers, cherry tomatoes and frisee. This was a truely delectable dish- the rich and almost shrimpy tasting fish was nicely accented by the salty bite from the olives and capers. The dish had an almost Provencal character. My only gripe is the price. Damn! For a little over 20 bucks I got a TINY (maybe the size of a playing card :blink: ) filet of red mullet. Not the greatest value, but then, its Vegas, so nothing surprises me that much.

Seared scallops, sauteed porcini, white truffle oil, brown butter. This dish was the better of the two starters we had. My aunt said that this was the best scallop dish she had. I have to agree. The idea of paring a sweet, plump scallop with rich (almost heavy) flavors is becoming quite a trend, especially in Vegas, where you will find numerous variations on this theme. This dish was wildly successful.

The main course was a whole roasted branzino (Italian seabass) for two. It wa pricey- 13 dollars per 100 grams- but it was worth it. Like most of Bartolotta's dishes, it was very simply prepared to allow the excellet quality of the fish to come through. It was served with roasted potatoes, zucchini, and roasted peppers. All of these 'contorni' were simply dressed with olive oil, salt, pepper. (Plus some rosemary for the potatoes.) The fish is presented on a platter, and is then boned and carved tableside. Two sauces were served to accent the fish. The first was a cold sauce (more like a relish) of crushed cherry tomatoes, roasted garlic, onion, vinegar and oil. The second was an olive oil based sauce, with pureed oregano and parsely.

They also offered "royal langoustines" (what makes them royal? they seemed quite normal to me...) charcoal grilled by the piece. (Something like 14 bucks a pop...) We were hungry when we ordered, so we got two of these guys as well. They were big (but not REALLY big- like the name and price suggested :angry: ) and sweet, and were served with a lemon and butter sauce on the side. Just a dab was enough to create the perfect bite. Any more, and the delicate flavor would have been overwhelmed.

We were quite full, so we shared a light dessert: A chilled fruit soup with nectarines, raspberry sorbet, and a tuile. It was the perfect ending to the meal- delicate and not-to-sweet. The soup tasted like it was spiked with a touch of sweet wine- a muscat perhaps. (I don't know my Italian sweet wines too much!)

All in all, I would have to highly reccomend this restaurant. The food exudes an almost tangible freshness and vibrancy that is insanely addicting. It is by far the closest thing I've had to *real* Italian cuisine in the states. (Real Italian in the middle of the desert, HA. :laugh: ) I seem to remember experiencing a few lapses in service, but nothing major enough to make it into my notes.

Do be prepared for steep prices, but then imported fresh seafood is never cheap.

-Robert

EDIT: Avoid the tap water. It is strangely metallic in taste...unbearingly so.


Edited by Macarons&Mozart (log)

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Three of us had dinner at Bartolotta a few months ago. I pretty much agree with everything Macarons&Mozart said about the place. The food was excellent, there were some minor service lapses, and it is quite expensive, although not really that bad by Las Vegas standards. The seafood we had was exceptional, but strangely the dish my wife and I remember most was the simple gnocchi dish she had, simply dressed with tomato cream sauce and cheese. They were as good as any gnocchi I've ever had in Italy or anywhere. I would not hesitate to recommend Bartolotta.

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On an early Fri. night during my "April in Vegas" trip, I had a reservation for Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare at the Wynn Resort.

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Bartolotta

At the center, there’s a long spiral staircase, down to the main dining area and outdoor dining area.

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My table setting

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A view from my table

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Bread and butter

A situation ensues: I wanted to have the branzino (seabass) as my main entree. My server stated plainly that the smallest branzino weighed 800 grams (2 pounds). That’s a lot of fish! Mind you, I really wanted to have the branzino. Well, the decision was made: a sea scallop appetizer, hand-crafted tagliolini with langoustines, and their fish special for the evening, an amberjack. I really appreciated my server’s thoughtfulness. More later.

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cappesante dorate con porcini

seared sea scallops with porcini mushrooms

I love sea scallops and this dish did not disappoint at all. The best dish of the evening.

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tagliolini agli scampi

handcrafted thin ribbon pasta with langoustines, and pomini tomatoes

The pasta tasted fine. The langoustines were small and in their shells. I noticed an abundance of the pomini tomatoes in the pasta.

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The fish special: amberjack with sliced olives, capers and tomatoes

The fish tasted moist. Very well prepared.

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torta di Ligure al limone

Ligure lemon torte with rosemary sorbet & balsamic syrup

I liked this dessert with its combination of flavors! Check out the lemon curd that’s flowing out of the torte. And the thin crisp layer on top.

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Earl Grey tea

By the end of the meal, I felt full. It was just enough food. And now, back to the branzino ... There’s still a part of me that really wanted the branzino so much that I would have ordered just the branzino with a salad and some vegetables and that’s it. The fish special was more of a quick decision, to be honest. Mind you, I really do appreciate my server’s thoughtful consideration for me having a wonderful meal. It is nice to have a server who is not fixated on “padding the bill.” So, the next time I have dinner at Bartolotta, I will go for the branzino.


Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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I've eaten at Bartolotta three times, and think it's an excellent restaurant. I've been working on a summary of my Las Vegas restaurant experiences for a while now; here's what I have for Bartolotta.

-----------------------------------------

"It's an Italian restaurant." "No, it's a seafood restaurant." Bartolotta serves Italian food, but places a heavy emphasis on fresh seafood flown in daily from the Mediterranean. Most dishes are very simple, with small amounts of light, fresh sauces; Chef Paul Bartolotta lets the food speak for itself.

I've eaten at Bartolotta three times - both for lunch (no longer offered) and for dinner. Since the lunch menu was identical to the dinner menu, both in content and in price, I don't distinguish between the two in the descriptions that follow.

The Menu

As already noted, seafood is the star at this restaurant. Upon request, your server will bring to the table a platter of whole fresh fish available that day. They're sold by weight; you must purchase the entire fish. Royal langoustine and slipper lobsters are also available. The fish will be cooked very simply, and is served with one of two simple sauces.

The Atmosphere

The color scheme is creams, browns and oranges. Six foot tall urns, with large aloes atop, are spread throughout the dining rooms. Tables are spaced far apart, and it is fairly quiet. There's a view of a lake, the mountain, and trees. Each table has a vase with one orchid bloom.

Service is friendly and relaxed. If you order whole fish, your server will skin and bone the fish at your table. This can sometimes lead to slight delays, since you may end up waiting while this service is performed for another table.

Meal #1: Whole Fresh Fish

As an appetizer, I had mozzarella salad. The mozzarella was light and soft, very different from what passes for mozzarella in grocery stores. I enjoyed it, and it wasn't too filling.

For my main course, I decided to splurge and ordered one of the fish flown in from Italy - red snapper. I had planned to get the simpler of two sauces - salmoriglio (olive oil and lemon with herbs), but the server convinced me to get salsa estiva (tomatoes, arugula, garlic, red onion, olive oil, and red wine vinegar). The whole fish arrive at the table; my server skinned and boned it. The sauce was provided in a bowl, to be spooned over the fish as desired. Accompanying all of this were some finger potatoes, roasted marinated peppers, and sliced zucchini.

The fish was very good - nicely cooked, tender, yet firm, with a mild flavor - and I'm glad I listened to the server about the sauce. The sauce ingredients were uncooked, perhaps marinated for a while. Spooned over the fish, it was a great combination. I sopped up the excess liquid with selections from the bread basket.

Meal #2: Royal Langoustines

I started with Baccalà mantecato - Venetian salt cod mousse. It was smooth, mild flavored and salty, served with greens and a fancy version of garlic toast. It doesn't sound all that wonderful, but it was really good.

Since I had previously tried whole fresh fish, I decided to try royal langoustines. Like the fish, they're flown in fresh from Italy. These shrimp sized crustaceans were split in half, grilled, and served with olive oil and lemon juice. Accompanying them were good finger potatoes and zucchini, and excellent roasted yellow and red peppers. The langoustines were very good, but pricey - $95 for a recommended plate of five. Given the high price, I prefer the whole fresh fish.

Meal #3

I started the meal with a recommendation by the server: Octopus Salad. It consisted of bright red quartered cherry tomatoes, bright green fava beans, and chunks of black and white marinated octopus. The dressing was a small amount of olive oil. Very light, very fresh, very good.

For my main course, I had "Rags of thinly sliced swordfish with Tuscan bread." Two thin slices of grilled swordfish sat atop cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, and Tuscan bread. All had been dressed with olive oil, a little vinegar, and onions. The fish was tender, not at all dry, its flavor not masked by anything. The bread had soaked up some of the dressing and was delicious. Not to sound like a broken record, but it was very light, very fresh, very good.

I'm a chocolate lover, so when my server recommended Budino di cioccolatie banana, gelato allo zuccaro di canne, there was no argument. This was described as warm chocolate banana custard, passion fruit pearls, and natural sugar cane gelato. The custard was so thick it was served free form. It had a very dark chocolate flavor, with banana in the background. All in all, it was more like a flourless chocolate cake than a custard, but slightly softer and smoother. The gelato was wonderfully creamy, with a delicate flavor. Sour passion fruit puree with (tapioca?) pearls provided a good flavor contrast. Excellent.

Summary

Bartolotta is among the elite of Las Vegas restaurants, surpassed by just a handful of places. Please order the whole fish if at all possible. It's expensive, but worth it.

The Bill

Expensive! It's possible to spend under $50 for a three course meal, but with whole fresh fish the cost will be from $75 to $100. Order shellfish and the cost will be higher still. To the price, add drinks, tax and tip.

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Didn't anybody have wine with their meal? How's the list?

I've eaten ther three times. We've had Italian whites that they recommeded each time. They were nice but I don't remember being blown away unlike the wines I had at Guy Suvoy last month. I know that this answer is lacking what you really wanted to know about the list, but Italian wines are not a strong point of mine so I generally ask for advice and in three outings none have stoodout. The food keeps me going back , probably again next month, I'll try to pay more attention if no one else answers this before than.

Slightly off topic but I hope its OK, Is that my family wants to thank you for your info on Boccondivino, we enjoyed it . :smile:

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Can't offer any first hand advice, but the 7/31/05 Wine Spectator covered the Wynn restaurants.

"Bartolotta opened with 800 wines, including a broad selection of Italian whites to go with the fish, and lots of big-name reds from Piedmont and Tuscany. Florence-born Cluadio Villani, who came from Incanto in San Francisco, is the sommelier."

This is about as in depth as it gets in the article on Bartolotta's wines.

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Can't offer any first hand advice, but the 7/31/05 Wine Spectator covered the Wynn restaurants.

"Bartolotta opened with 800 wines, including a broad selection of Italian whites to go with the fish, and lots of big-name reds from Piedmont and Tuscany.  Florence-born Cluadio Villani, who came from Incanto in San Francisco, is the sommelier."

This is about as in depth as it gets in the article on Bartolotta's wines.

Frankly, it's better to avoid any Wine Spectator reviews, which are the equivalent of People magazine in the wine world.

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I'd heard a lot of buzz about Bartolotta. Generally speaking, buzz isn't really enough to incent me to try a place. In this case however, we were seeing the 7 pm show of Love at the Mirage and we were staying at the Wynn anyway, so before leaving the hotel we made a 9:30 reservation at Bartolotta and hoped that our one lost suitcase (which contained the 'nice' clothes) would arrive at the hotel before it was time for dinner. We were told not to worry; that nice jeans were ok. As it turned out, that was true.

A friend told me that I should say 'hello' to chef Paul Bartolotta because they were friends. I generally try to resist doing this, at least until the end of the meal. It's awkward. But, I started feeling a bit guilty about my son when the clock turned to 9:45 and we were still waiting for our table. Being our travel day, it was actually 11:45 and I was feeling like a bad parent. Yes, we had to eat but maybe we could have just done something easier.

That's when I saw Chef making the rounds in the dining room. He was giving one woman a tour and checking in with many of the other tables along the way. At that point, I figured that I probably should relay the 'hello' because it was getting late and I felt the need to push things along. Needless to say, Chef was delighted to receive the 'hello' from his old friend and almost immediately turned to the host and asked if there was a table available for us.

We stood at the front of the restaurant and chatted with Chef about the state of things in the culinary world and specifically in Chicago. His passion was instantly clear and he talked about the steep contrast between his intensely technical work at Spiaggia and what he was trying to accomplish here at Bartolotta. My son asked Chef if they offered calamari. Chef told him 'no' but didn't hesitate to mention the very similar cuttlefish which, he promised, if my son did not like, would be 'on him.' A couple of moments later we were led to our table, which was downstairs in the colorful and elegant-but-not-stuffy dining room.

Bartolotta's concept of immaculately fresh fish, flown in daily from the Mediterranean and minimally prepared was reinforced via the menu and the cart of clear-eyed whole fish and still wriggling crustaceans that was wheeled up to our table. This was truly going to be an ingredient-driven meal and I was grateful for the chance to try out a variety of fish which I'd never tried before.

But before that, we sampled the aforementioned cuttlefish, which was cooked al dente, cut into strips and served with a light parsley sauce. It was clear from the way we were snarfing it down that the chef would not have to make good on his offer to my son. We also went with the outstanding, signature Scallops and Porcini appetizer, which was adorned with wide shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano and truffle oil.

Entree-wise, the wife and I opted for the Rombo, which iirc, is similar to flounder. Since fish is sold by its weight at Bartolotta, the most logical thing for us to do was split the 1,000 gram offering. Most of the smaller fish, we were told, had sold earlier in the evening. The fish was baked simply with a bit of lemon and then skinned, fileted and served tableside. It was quite a show watching the fish being expertly-prepared for service at our table. Served along with the fish were some perfectly crispy fingerling potatoes and deeply-sweet roasted red peppers. The 'sauce' was comprised of cherry tomatoes and champagne vinegar. The fish itself was tasty, moist and quite-obviously fresh. The acidity of the 'sauce' was perfect and foiled the fish's richness nicely.

My son ordered the gnocchi (primi piatti), which were outstanding. Again, the execution was flawless and the light tomato sauce was just enough to complement the gnocchi without obscuring them. This dish was a simple pleasure, although we all know that perfect gnocchi are not really so simple.

For dessert, we chose a sampling of 3 gelatos, which were all very nice. My favorite of the trio was the roasted banana but the vanilla and the chocolate were darned good too.

I'd say, based on our experience, that Bartolotta hits the mark 100% as far executing their concept. This kind of dining isn't what I'm used it and it isn't what I would necessarily choose first for myself. But they do what they do extremely well and because they are so dedicated to executing their concept, for all its self-described simplicity, the place is actually quite distinctive. Our meal was terrific and it was a great reference point for me. As I 'dine forward,' this meal will be the benchmark to which I compare similar meals. And to someone who really loves this style of dining, I'd recommend Bartolotta in a heartbeat.

=R=

Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare (at the Wynn)

3131 Las Vegas Boulevard

Las Vegas, NV 89109

702 770-3305


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

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