GIORGIO RISTORANTE Ides Of March Dinner on News 88.9 FM KNPR – Nevada Public Radio

So good is Chef Nico Chessa’s one night only Ides Of March Dinner this Sunday at Giorgio Ristorante in the Mandalay Bay, that ELV — besides telling you about it in the basso profundo baritone* for which he is known — decided to post a few tasty snaps of it in advance!

FYI: The total cost is $49/person, which includes three big pours of three excellent, Italian wines, each well-matched to the food.

Click here to hear today’s commentary about this extraordinary meal on KNPR, which also applauds the wonderful things uber-chefs Rick “Sustainable Fish Man” Moonen and Adam Sobel are doing with their new lounge menu at RM Seafood, or continue reading after the jump.


Great chefs, like great generals only prove their worth, when there’s a disaster. “Disaster” may be an overstatement, but Vegas is certainly going through a culling of the herd, if you will, and these economic times are going to give some of these high flyers a chance to prove their mettle.

Times are tough, but bargains abound, so you can now party like it’s 1999 in just about any restaurant in town. Just like the value of your house, prices in those restaurants have been rolled back ten years, and entire hotels like the Wynn and MGM are now aggressively promoting three-course meals for under $50…in almost all of their eating outlets. These are the same places, with the same chefs, where a year ago you would’ve had trouble getting out of there for less than three Benjamins.

All of our high-end hotels have taken up this chant, and two of my favorites, in Mandalay Bay, are demonstrating how serious talent rises to the top when circumstances demand it.

Over at RM Seafood, Rick “Sustainable Fish Man” Moonen, has managed to make tasty lemonade out of one lemon of an economy by making three gutsy moves. First he closed his superb fine dining room. As good as it was, he realized (and I suppose the economy told him) Las Vegas is overstocked with high-end, big deal meal dining options. Secondly, he had the good sense to bring on Adam Sobel as his Chef de Cuisine. Sobel is one of the young Turks out there who can cook and create with the best of them. Moonen doesn’t need any creative sparks, of course, but it never hurts to have a talented young dynamo nipping at your heels. Thirdly, the two of them have unleashed a small bites lounge menu that will have your eyes rolling back in your head both for the flavors you experience and the prices you don’t.

Spanish ham with tomato jam, electric Kusshi oysters with buzz buttons (think pop rocks), baked clams like only these two seafood masters could master, and a charred kampachi (yellowtail) collar that tips its hat to Raku, and showcases what world-class minds can do with modest ingredients.

Just down the hall, in a place that inexplicably remains under the radar, despite doing outstanding food for nine years, Giorgio Ristorante** showcases the skills of Chef Nico Chessa. A pasta perfectionist par excellence, Chessa is strutting his stuff this Sunday with a one day only, Ides of March menu, that harkens back to traditional Roman cooking.

Ordinarily I wouldn’t make a big deal out of a one day menu, but I had a chance to preview this three course wonder last night, and I don’t know what was more impressive: the recipes, the price, or the fact that Chessa was able to incorporate the flavors of ancient Rome into a modern menu and dazzle both eye and palate. Julius Caesar would’ve crossed the Rubicon for Chessa’s pork cheek wrapped shrimp with artichoke and fava bean salad, and that brute Brutus would’ve been right at home chowing down on lamb stewed with grape must, and herb spelt risotto.

Perhaps if those two frenemies had supped on food and wine this good for the Roman equivalent of forty-nine-bucks a head, they would’ve agreed to call it a day without the bloodshed.


In the Mandalay Shoppes at Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino

3930 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89119



In the Mandalay Shoppes at Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino

3930 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89109


* Admittedly, a contradiction in musical terms, but you get the point.

** ELV’s alter ego — the pompous and never in doubt restaurant critic to the stars John Curtas — mistakenly called it Caffe Giorgio during the broadcast).

2 thoughts on “GIORGIO RISTORANTE Ides Of March Dinner on News 88.9 FM KNPR – Nevada Public Radio

  1. Caffe Giorgio, Giorgio Ristorante, the important thing to know is Chef Nico Chessa is at the helm, the service is great and the food is spot on. Beware the Ides of March? More like embrace the Ides of March!

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