Eating Las Vegas

John Curtas is …

HOW TO COOK PASTA – By Vincenzo Scarmiglia

A poll was taken among the staff at ELV, and it was unanimous that OSTERIA DEL CIRCO in the Bellagio is our favorite Italian restaurant. CIRCO (pronounced: CHEER-ko) has been dazzling us for ten years, and its most recent chef, Vincenzo Scarmiglia is one our favorite Italian toques (along with Luciano Pelligrini and Paul Bartolotta) and one of the big reasons Circo has ruled the roost of Tuscan restaurants in Las Vegas since it opened.

The son of a Tuscan fisherman, Scarmiglia hails from Orbetello, Italy. His first restaurant job was as a line cook at the esteemed IL GAMBERO ROSSO in Porto Ercole. From there he worked his way through many prestigious Italian kitchens before landing at VALENTINO in the Venetian, which he helped Pelligrini open in 1999. From there it was a short hop to BARTOLOTTA as Assistant Chef, and then to the now defunct Terrazza in Caesars, before taking over the kitchen at Circo.

He makes this dish with fresh, egg tagliolini (a smaller version of tagliatelle), but told me dried works just as well (with just about any pasta dish except ravioli – that Scarmiglia insists must always be fresh). But there’s nothing quite like watching an Italian chef work three simple ingredients: eggs, semolina and all-purpose flour, into something so toothsome. Making pasta looks remarkably easy when he does it, but neophyte home cooks would be well advised to stick with store-bought.

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LOTUS OF SIAM needs another good review like ELV needs another ex-wife. But as a public service, and because there don’t seem to be any out there, we thought we’d feature some tasty snaps of the food, wine list and menu pages for your perusal.

Calling LOS a great Thai restaurant is like calling Tiger Woods (who is 1/4 Thai) a great golfer. It’s probably the most authentic, fiery, interesting and pure Thai restaurant in the country. And like Eldrick “Call Me Tiger” Woods, it is rarely off its game. Saipin Chutima is a self-taught chef who brings the pure, clean snap of heat, sour and sweet to her Northern and Central Thai dishes, and husband Bill has built up a German wine list that Robert Parker has called the best in the country.

It couldn’t be in a worse location, and some of the food is not for the timid, but if you keep your mind and palate open for adventure (and you’re prepared to drink a lot of water) you’ll have the Thai-m of your life.

Click here for my first review of Lotus of Siam and here for my Critique of Pure Riesling (with apologies to Immanuel Kant) on Nevada Public Radio.


953 East Sahara Ave.

Las Vegas, NV 89104


KLAS TV Channel 8 (CBS) Restaurant of the Week – DAL TORO RISTORANTE

For those of you who don’t get up with the pigs and chickens, but who require your Friday dose of The Food Man, here is our Restaurant of the Week segment on the Channel 8 Morning News with Denise Valdez and Dave McCann, featuring DAL TORO RISTORANTE in the Palazzo.

Please ignore my verbal gaffe at calling Mitsuo Endo a Chinese chef on last week’s ROTW segment! Quelle horreur! I hereby publicly beg his forgiveness and promise to commit seppuku if I ever do it again.

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John at Work Restaurant reviews, quips, picks and pans-with some seriously salivating history-from the man who eats his way through Sin City every day.
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