Saturday, May 18, 2013

Finding Heaven in the City of Sin: Ferraro's Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar, Las Vegas

Moments shared over an astounding meal seem to provide memories that can last a lifetime. First dates much like a perfectly prepared meal should be savored, flowing smoothly from start to finish without any distractions. A first date or an important business meeting can quickly turn sour, should some unscrupulous food make its way into the mix. Be honest with yourself, not too many things can compare to sitting in an intimate location, looking into the eyes of someone you find yourself hopelessly falling for, eating bite after delicious bite of handmade old-world gourmet faire.

World renowned for its never ending, over the top excesses in all categories of life, the Las Vegas Strip draws foodies, thrill seekers, gamblers and lovers in by the millions annually.  And what better way to keep your guests stuck at the gambling tables than by stuffing them with delicacies created by big name celebrity Chefs? The problem with many of the new eateries helmed by these über Chefs becomes not only getting a reservation but, eating creations that resemble outer space creatures instead of delicious food. Not to say pushing the culinary envelope isn’t needed in this day and age, we strongly believe that taking things to the next level will help elevate everyone’s palates. But what about those nights when you want a dish that was created a few hundred years ago and can only be found in select regions further away than you’re willing to travel? In steps a place like Ferraro’s, an Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar that hands down has everyone beat on the strip when it comes to dishing out authentic Italian cuisine.

Walking through the doors of Ferraro’s brings about an enthralling feeling. The provocatively wonderful scents of slow cooked dishes pouring out of the kitchen and the seductive vibes in the air make it hard not to be instantaneously impressed. Gazing at the massive wall that contains hundreds of bottles of wine (all of which can be sampled by the glass and described in detail by their master sommeliers) only helps to intensify the feeling that Ferraro’s takes both their food and drink very seriously.

Seated quietly in a corner with a view of the entire restaurant, we were fortunate enough to not only be greeted by the proprietor Gino Ferraro himself but Chef Mimmo Ferraro as well. When asked what Chef Mimmo recommended for us to eat, he replied with a coy smile simply saying, “leave that up to me.”

After a round of drinks, some fresh bread made on the premises and incredible oils to go along with it, our first course arrived consisting of a trio of mouth watering treats. Starting with the fork tender Polpette, a house-made veal meatball which came smothered in a wonderfully light sauce that sent our taste-buds into overdrive. Sitting next to the Polpette was a perfect sized portion of Risotto Funghi, Prosciutto e Porcini that was buttery smooth, seasoned impeccably and not overly rich like you may find at a restaurant rushing to get dishes to the table while saving a few bucks. Rounding out the trio was the freshest pasta I have tasted in many years. A helping of Saghetti Carbonara, Piselli e Tartufi (housemade Spaghetti Carbonara, Peas & Truffles) combined with speck, pancetta, shallots, Parigiano Reggiano, seasonal black truffles and peas had us scraping our plates and looking for another helping. The astute accuracy of how these three pieces to the puzzle played so exquisitely together shows how the mind of a genius Chef who cares about his final product really works.

Up next came another triad of delights, this time in the form of a Insalate Mimmo that was so crisp & vibrant with its heirloom tomatoes, avocado, red onion, fresh mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, a variety of cheeses and a first for yours truly. I have said it time and time again I am not a fan of beets, but I will always try them in search of what others seem to find so thrilling about them and for the first time in my many years of life, I have finally eaten beets that were delicious. The Barbabietole Pistacchio e Caprino was something we spoke about hours after dinner was over. Beets, micro greens, pistachio nuts, goat cheese and a raspberry vinaigrette culminated a second round that was delightful far beyond what I ever could have imagined it to be.

As I sat thinking to myself how each course had progressively blown the previous course away by leaps and bounds, I caught a glimpse of our incredibly attentive waiter approaching our table with two gloriously plated dishes in hand, followed closely by Gino & Chef Mimmo Ferraro. I knew the best had yet to come when placed before me sat the pièce de résistance, the Costata di Manzo a sizzling 18oz porcini rubbed prime Rib Eye and their famous Osso Buco, a veal shank braised until it was falling apart in a red wine reduction served alongside a portion of silky farro and asparagus.

Wondering would there be any room left and more importantly how could they top what they have done thus far, we were brought out the coup de grace, dessert. Nestled together on the plate in front of me sat heaven in the form of tiramisu, Nutella & orange zest crepes and chocolate Italian gelato. 

Its moment such as these where I can truly can say I enjoy my job and even more so enjoy the fact that I am able to tell others about my experiences. Far too often people allow themselves to get so caught up in the hype of something that they miss the hidden gems life offers up occasionally. Keeping up with the latest trends instead of creating your own lane doesn't always provide for the best of memoirs when all is said and done. If only it were easy to see that taking the road less traveled can often lead to a positive, life altering experience you will never forget, many of this worlds inhabitants would live much more fulfilling lives.

If our opinion holds any weight, you will trust in us when we say, the dishes we enjoyed, when combined together can seriously right some wrongs in one’s life and help them see the bigger picture as to what good food really is. When you are treated like kin, by an entire group that obviously loves and cares for one another as well as who produces such remarkably great dishes like the ones we had, it is hard not to feel like your a member of their loving family. 
That being said Ferraro’s has instantly become a staple in our “Las Vegas Diet” that will thoroughly be enjoyed each and every time we step foot into the city of sin. 
4480 Paradise Rd.
Las Vegas, NV 89169
(702) 364-5300

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