Enoteca San Marco

>>  Wednesday, January 27, 2010

This post is part IV of the larger series: Celebrity Chef Dining in Las Vegas.  Other posts in this series include Part I: Mario Batali's B&B Ristorante and Part II: Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill and Part III: Rao's
cauliflower ragu
One of my favorite things to do in the summer in Boston is to enjoy a meal outside on a beautiful day. After visiting Las Vegas in July a few years ago, I realized why there is very little real outdoor dining in Las Vegas.

This desert is crazy hot in the summer, and outdoor dining would be no fun.
What I find amusing is how many of these huge casinos have built up these indoor spaces that almost feel like the outdoors. The most obvious ones are at Caesars Palace and the Venetian, where super high ceiling is painted to look like clouds against a blue sky. At the Venetian there are even canals in which gondolas float by every so often with opera singers inside. There’s also a fake St. Mark’s Square (modeled after Venice) and has both indoor and “outdoor” seats.
Enoteca San Marco is one of these restaurants, by Mario Batali, that sits in the Square. The benefits of these “outdoor” seats are that it never rains, the temperature is always perfect, and you might even catch some Italian singers putting on a show if you’re lucky (or maybe unlucky depending on how you feel about that kind of music!).

Here are detailed pictures of the relaxing lunch we enjoyed while attending CES (The Consumer Electronics Show) which was also held inside the Venetian.

Enoteca eggplant pasta
Penne alla Norma tomato, eggplant, ricotta  $16
cauliflower ragu
Rigatoni roasted cauliflower ragu, chili, rosemary  $16
I got the “roasted cauliflower ragu” which we both thought was excellent. A nice vegetarian dish that was just creamy enough to taste substantial without being a bit rich. I’m not sure how they made it, but after tasting the amazing flavors that come from cauliflower when you roast it, I would not be surprised if it were relatively simple!
enoteca sides
3-vegetable sides

Solid food, and not a bad deal at $4 each. The roasted beets were good, although I actually like the ones I make better. The farro salad was healthy and tasty. Again, nothing show stopping, but the fresh ingredients made this dish good (farro is a whole grain, sort of like eating spelt or wheat berries). The third vegetable was Brussels sprouts. I was surprised when we received the dish, because essentially it was just a salad of finely sliced raw Brussels sprouts mixed with feta cheese. This was slightly disappointing, since I felt that the Brussels sprouts could have tasted so much better if they were just given a chance to be roasted a bit so they could caramelize. Oh well, at least it was healthy.

Although the veggie sides were good, they were not super interesting. Bryan kept saying we should have ordered the grilled radicchio and mozzarella salad (which we got last year and was excellent).

Wine was a bit ridiculously expensive. They do give various options for volume, and you can order a 2oz taste, 4 oz glass, etc. Bryan’s 4 oz glass of wine was $20, which I thought was a bit crazy. It’s even high for Las Vegas!

Pasta is dried pasta, as they are trying to keep this a more lower-priced restaurant. All in all, the food is pretty good here. Plus, sitting out on fake St. Mark’s Square is sort of fun.

3355 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 677-3390
Enoteca San Marco (Venetian) on Urbanspoon

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