Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare
Wynn Las Vegas
Chef Paul Bartolotta is the 2009 recipient of the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef Southwest for his restaurant, Bartolotta. His various treatments of fresh fish flown in daily from Italy, with names like branzino and dentex, pezzogna and rombo, are as spectacular as anything in this town. The chef, who speaks fluent Italian, comes to the Wynn Resort from Chicago where he was behind the stoves at Spiaggia. Born into a Milwaukee restaurant family, he’s diverse in his cooking philosophy, and his menu reflects it. But fish is the thing here, mostly whole-roasted ones sold by weight. Sea bass, purple snapper, big eye and turbot are the English names, and there are others. Though it’s infrequent, occasionally the chef will make you one in a salt crust — a technique to seal in the juices that doesn’t make the fish salty at all — or alla Palermitana (green olives, garlic and tomatoes). This is also a beautiful restaurant. As you approach, you’ll spot a pair of huge terra cotta urns framing the entrance, objets d’art reputed to be hundreds of years old that could easily have been used to store olive oil in the time of Dante. A spiral staircase leads down to the ornately decorated lower level, where tables look out onto a bucolic lake stocked with otherworldly, reflective silver globes. Around the lake’s perimeter are cabana tables, perhaps the most romantic spot in Las Vegas. It’s a wondrous place to dine.
When the Godfather of New York City dining, Sirio Maccioni, brought his Le Cirque-famed New York kitchen to Vegas, he upped the ante on just how plush glitterati dining could get. No matter where you’re at on the totem pole, here you’ll be treated like a don. The food is sophisticated and fancy, kinda like their famous Cosmopolitans. Relax and dig the view of the Bellagio’s water ballet show. But here’s an insider tip, Jack: turn off your cell phone. Cells can get you canned from the dining room, and so can the lack of a jacket. Enjoy striped bass in a truffle sauce, and risotto like your mama only wished she could make. $80 for three courses and $95 for five. That does not include the wine, the beluga at $90 or the top-off with French Cognac for $625 a sniff. Definitely not for the faint of c-notes.