Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare shamelessly imitated in New York

I heart New York. I really do. I travel there at least twice a year and used to live within an hour of Restaurant Row (just off of Times Square) on West 46th Street.

And nobody, outside of a native, loves New York restaurants more than I do. I can wax poetic about Big Apple eateries from Gray’s Papaya to Patsy’s Pizzeria; wd-50 to Le Bernadin; BLT Fish to Bar Boulud. But it’s become increasingly evident that the New York food scene, cutting edge though it may be, is also capable of shamelessly imitating what’s already happened in Vegas, and claiming it as its own.

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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

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, sourĀ 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.

LOTUS OF SIAM

953 East Sahara Ave.

Las Vegas, NV 89104

702.735.3033