The Return of Carla Pellegrino and BRATALIAN

Carla Pellegrino is a force of nature.  She is half Brazilian, half Italian and all about food as a metaphor for love. Anyone who’s ever spent even five minutes with her knows that she wears her heart on her sleeve, and that her heart is also in the kitchen. These days, after a two year absence to Miami, both her sleeves and her soul are cooking up a storm at Bratalian – a Neapolitan gem of a restaurant that has returned from the brink and, once again, gives everyone in the neighborhood a reason to go out to eat.

Within weeks of coming back to town last summer, after her south Florida sojourn, Carla learned that her restaurant had been wrecked by a truck driving through its front window. (Luckily, it was closed at the time.) What she hoped would be a few weeks of repairs turned into two and half months, and it wasn’t until late October that Henderson could once again taste the best Italian food ever to grace its borders.

Since coming to Las Vegas in 2009 (to open Rao’s in Caesars Palace with her then-husband Frank Pellegrino) Carla has enriched our culinary scene, and swum against the tide of boring, corporate restaurants  that line Eastern Boulevard – places serving  food that tastes like it was cooked up by a bunch of accountants.  She is a hands-on, classically trained chef whose stunning good looks belie a passion for food and a finely-tuned palate.  From your first bites – be they of a textbook-perfect Caprese salad or gorgeous tortellini en brodo – you will know that you are no longer in franchise-land.  Her spaghetti al’aglio, olio & peperocino (with garlic, peppers and oil) is a study in the art of pasta minimalism, and just one of many that will have you dropping your fork in appreciation.

Protein lovers will have no complaints either, as the hot and sweet sausages and veal scallopini alla saltimbocca take a back seat to no one’s. Saltimbocca means “jump in the mouth” and that’s exactly what this thinly pounded veal chop does, dripping as it is with sage, prosciutto and melted mozzarella. When it’s on the menu, don’t miss the baked lobster “oreganata” – a split beauty of a crustacean beast, packed with oregano-scented stuffing. Look around the quaint space and you can almost imagine that you’re dining in a tucked-away trattoria in Naples (replete with laundry hanging from the ceiling). Close your eyes and you’ll taste Italian food the way it’s supposed to be: made with love, respect, and good groceries.

Welcome back, Carla!


10740 South Eastern Ave. #155

Henderson, NV 89052



A Tale of Two Italians

It was the best of times (because Italian food has had a twenty year Renaissance), it was the worst of times (because it’s now ubiquitous), it was the age of wisdom (Mario Batali), it was the age of foolishness (Macaroni Grill’s authenticity), it was the epoch of belief (Patron Saint Piero Selvaggio), it was the epoch of incredulity (how does Carraba’s stay in business?), it was the season of Light  (luscious Lambruscos), it was the season of Darkness (Nora’s in bankruptcy), it was the spring of hope (Due Forni/D.O.C.G.), it was the winter of despair (red sauce everywhere), we had everything before us (Italian restaurants everywhere!), we had nothing before us (Italian restaurants everywhere), we were all going direct to (hog) heaven, we were all going direct the other way (Olive Garden hell) – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities (ELV) insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. – Charles Dickens, A Tale Of Two Cities, English novelist (1812-1870)

ELV thinks that about sums it up. He would love to write that he just can’t get enough of the type of Italian food like they serve at the Pasta Shop and Bacio, but truth be told, even though he takes the good with the bad (the yin and yang of Italian eats) as the way things must be, the cuisine’s resurgence over the past twenty years has just about worn him out — even when it’s perfectly serviceable.

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