John Curtas is …

ENOTECA SAN MARCO

We want to like Mario Batali’s restaurants (all three of them in the Venetian). We really do. We try to ignore his less-than-appetizing appearance, celebrity status, high prices, and the overwhelming mediocrity of the food….but sometimes, it’s just hard.

It’s hard because when you drop $150+ for lunch, for two, consisting of a pizza, a pasta, a plate of (really good) salumi, a bottle of Lurisa mineral water and a bottle of $75 wine, you’re going to feel like, well, as my Dad used to say: “They saw you comin’.”

The menu brags about “Over 100 wines under $100,” but what it doesn’t tell you is that most of those wines are priced way north of fifty bucks. It also doesn’t tell you how average the pizza dough is, and how over-laden with toppings it becomes in order to please the yokels. (The pizzas here aren’t even in the same league as Settebello’s – so much for Batali’s pizza-making fame — which, no doubt, you’ve heard about from Otto or Mozza.)

Of course if your customers don’t care, why should you?

You can almost feel the tourist trap machinations that go on behind the scenes here — like: “How much (or rather: How much for how little?) can we get away with…?” — catering to a clientele that simply wants to say it ate at a Food Network god joint, with no demands or expectations beyond that.

It’s sad.

Almost as sad as the lukewarm bucatini amatriciana that beheld(?) a paucity of pancetta (or guanciale) — for $18. Eighteen buck-a-roonies for noodles even this guy could make at home.

That being said, there are reasons to come here. The aformentioned salumi is superb, as is the collection of Italian cheeses. We suggest sidling up to the bar, ordering a glass from the interesting, all-Italian, by-the-glass-list, grab a grazing platter, and watch the world go by from one of the best, indoor perches in town.

Once things get cookin’ though, youz paying your monies (lots of it), and youz takin’ your chances.

ENOTECA SAN MARCO

In the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian

3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89019

702.266.9969

www.enotecasanmarco.com

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9 Responses to ENOTECA SAN MARCO

  • THANK GOD FOR NOVE AND CHEF GENO!!!!

  • agree with the less than appetizing appearance (mario.) My GOD, the cojones it takes to use a butchered mammal made into sausage as a necktie.

  • Agree 100% with you on this one John. It’s one of my favorite lunches on the strip (when forced to the strip for lunch) for the cheese, meats, and some of their sinfully delightful fried appetizers. Along with a quartino of your choosing it is a fairly affordable lunch for two. I have tried a couple of their entrees, but stopped doing that as I found it silly and expensive. When they first opened they had these marvelous little deep fried smelt, which they took off the menu because Americans, as a whole, are not really on board when it comes to eating whole fish no matter how cute and little they are.

  • I disagree with the worst parts of the review, its true that the prices when you do San Marco Enoteca “correctly” but then again doing this place correctly consists of five courses of the most amazing Italian “junk food” you can get. San Marco Enoteca, and it’s sisters Pizzeria Mozzo and NYC’s Otto is all about a unique presentation that 90% of all tourists don’t get, but foodies fiend over the options presented in the menu. Although I agree the pizetta’s aren’t as good as Settebello’s we must also agree that the only good thing at Settebello is the pizza – the rest of the menu can be happily ignored but there is nothing on Mario’s menu that is not delightful, its as if the pizzas are there only to appease the not so adventurous diners, foodies can safely skip them.

    The best appetizers on the menu are the pork shoulder and the polpette (aka veal ricotta meatballs on polenta – to die for!), the secret to ordering wine is to skip the bottle service and go straight for the Enomatic (http://www.enomaticusa.com/ – chose Nevada of course); one look at the average table tells you that everybody is drinking by the glass rather than order bottles of wine!

    PS: “THANK GOD FOR NOVE AND CHEF GENO!!!!” – that made me lol, chef Geno might as well be at Rao’s, he serves the same type of 50′s inspired Italian American oversized portion blandness. I’ll pass… I don’t need to punish my taste buds.

  • ELV thinks you’re being unfair to both Geno Bernardo and Rao’s, but otherwise appreciates the informed opinion.

  • I haven’t done San Marco yet, but had a good (albeit expensive) experience at CarneVino.
    Stratta, Alex’s redo of the casual Italian at Wynn seems to be flying under the radar–the pastas and pizzas both there are some of the best I’ve had in the city, at the very least.
    I’ve also eaten casually at the bar a couple times at Nove and found everything presented better than expected.
    And as I mentioned to you, John, Pips at Aliante–actually worth the trip.

    Have you done the Grill at Valentino? I’ve only had Pellegrini’s fancy menu (still great) but I’d expect his casual to be up to snuff.

  • I have eaten at several of Mario’s restaurants and was disappointed with all of them, but the worst was Carenvino! Totally overpriced, rude waiters that basically thought they knew best what and how you should eat your food! Never again…none of them!

  • Met up with an associate to have lunch and this is the standard of strip factory food. BTW, I’m a local.

    We had the potato and octopus salad = Terrible. Lacking lust of flavor, over use of arugula, maybe 4 pieces of chuck light style pieces of octopus, which were probably prepped in batch earlier in the week, with slight fishy offness. The quality standard for poor, frozen cheap octopus. And the potatoes, nice chunks of raw, or was that al dente waxy starch. just a garbage salad for 14 bucks.

    Next was the Caponata – hardly authentic. I could swear there was pinenuts in there or was that the seasonal corn, either way nothing to compare to the slow stew and combining of flavors in which a caponata should be. Progresso makes better shit in their jar. What was served was more of a hells kitchen constant rendition of ratatouille.

    Then the clam pizza. The clams were flavorless and as tough as ABC gum. Pizza dough please. Bland, now seasoning. B&B should be ashamed of this 10 million dollar a year + revenue, consumer/tourist trap. I should have drove the extra minutes to Settebello for some real Italian pizza.

  • And now we find that Enoteca San Marco will become Otto this week, apparently with a new menu as well. Anyone else have a heads up as to how major the change is going to be?

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