NOVE is such a great restaurant, it’s a shame no one is paying attention to it — even the people who eat there. That’s because usually they’re too busy looking at themselves and each other — before they hit the Playboy Club, Ghost Bar, or Simon Poolside — places whose raison d’etre has more to do with hot chicks than “cicchetti.”
The precision of Chef de Cucina Geno Bernardo’s cooking, and the Palm’s crowds that ignore it, also remind us that the restaurants of Las Vegas are so much better than they have to be.
Another reason NOVE suffers from inattention is that it’s 51 floors up (one below Hef’s haunt)…meaning: just strolling in for a quick bite generally ain’t in the cards for most folks…and just strolling in are what cicchetti are all about.
Cicchetti (pronounce chi-KET-tee), are small, tapas-like snacks served in the bars and taverns of Venice (as in Italy, not California). Here is a great Rick Steve’s article about doing a cicchetti pub crawl through the fascinating and haunting streets of that amazing city. With his guidebook in our back pocket, The Food Gal and ELV hit the streets there two years ago and did just that…as you can read about here.
Short of hopping a plane to the continent, the best you can do in this neck of the woods is to hop an elevator at the Palms Hotel and Casino, and head to NOVE — because it’s now featuring these tasty snacks in its bar — some of which took us straight back to the shadow of the Rialto Bridge.
It’s probably a smart move to recognize the absence of caloric intake of your average customer, and give them some sustenance before they start drinking the night away, but it must frustrate the chefs no end to put mini-masterpieces on plates that would sell even if they were made with the culinary equivalent of an etch-a-sketch. But such is the lot of any cook who works for the n9ne Group.
Bernardo is one such guy who, besides his serious small plates, also deserves a shout-out for superior fish and pastas he cooks nightly for that party-hearty crowd (and lots of beautiful people, musicians, actors, etc., that ELV has never heard of), who just might be dazzled by his Italian delights — if any of them ate. Bernardo’s superb salumi platter, finely sliced crudo (think: Italian sashimi), and creative primi and secondi piatti, always bring a sigh of delight to ELV and his staff (as does the eye candy walking into and out of this place).
ELV suggests you ignore the crowd (unless you subscribe to US and never miss an episode of The Hills), take the ride, and tuck yourself into a booth for a spectacular view with food to match — because in the spirit of cheap puns and easy double entendres for which he is known, ELV must point out (in case the fact has escaped you) that Bernardo and NOVE are performing nightly… at a very high level.
In the Palms Hotel and Casino
4321 W. Flamingo Rd.
Las Vegas, NV 89103