A recent lunch for two at Otto consisted of the following:
– small octopus salad
– grilled radicchio with smoked mozz
– gnocco fritto (fried dough strips)
– short rib ravioli
– tagliatelle with ham and Spring peas
– ice cream dessert
To make an expensive, disappointing story short, the radicchio was billed as grilled, but tasted so strongly of kerosene that all nuance (not to mention flavor) was obliterated. (Side note: ELV loathes the chemically-odoriferous scents left on food from gas grills, and wonders why chefs even bother.) The gnocco fritto were as tasty (and about as complex) as something you’d get at a county fair, and the two pasta dishes were seriously flawed.
In fact, of the whole meal, only the octopus salad displayed the kind of careful cooking we’ve come to expect from a Mario and Joe production.
How flawed were those pastas? To begin with, the tagliatelle needed another minute in the pot — it being al dente to the point of you could barely cut it with a fork. The chewy ham strips garnishing its top were thrown on as an afterthought — instead of being tossed with the peas — and the saucing (if that’s what you want to call it) tasted of little beyond a little butter.
As for the ravioli, it was thin, sparse, devoid of any beef richness, and barely helped by its tepid tomato sauce. If you’re an aficionado of oxtail pasta (and let’s face it who isn’t?), the one at the Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria in Crystals kicks its underfed ass. The goblet of ice cream, cookie and caramel sauce was hardly Batali-worthy either.
If you’re counting, that’s one-for-six, and clearly below the Mendoza Line for a restaurant of this pedigree.
Truth be told, this isn’t the first time we’ve been let down by this kitchen. The pastas have never impressed us, and the pizzas may have passed muster in Vegas five years ago, but now aren’t in the same league as pies all over town. Good ingredients will only get you so far, and Otto is clearly in need of someone who knows what to do with them.
The cost you ask? $130 for two, including a $24 tip.
With no booze.
And no, it’s not worth it, especially when Postrio is a stone’s throw away.
In the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian (Remember, when they spell shops with a “-ppes” they saw you comin’.)
3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109