Celebrity Chef Takedown – OTTO ENOTECA

ELV note: We’ve been consistently disappointed by Mario Batali’s more affordable offering at the Venetian ever since it opened. (A lunch there a little over a year ago had us longing for the enforced mediocrity of Canaletto — literally a stone’s throw away in the same shopping mall.) After a succession of paltry and pathetic pasta performances, we had a face to face with Molto Mario and his partner Joe Bastianich last fall and gave them details. In return, they made all the right noises and assured us that things would change. By the looks of things, they haven’t. Below, uber-foodie and Official Friend of Eating Las Vegas David Ross explains (in a tone more reasonable and less hyperbolic/venomous than you are probably used to at this web address) why this is just another celebrity chef money machine — to be avoided by anyone with anything but a company credit card and low expectations. (ELV wonders if, with their busy schedules, Mario and Joe ever actually taste their restaurant’s food)


A partnership between Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, (you know his Mother, Lydia, she cooks Italian on PBS), Otto Enoteca should be a soft introduction to guests of the marriage between Italian wine and quality ingredients crafted into familiar, yet authentic dishes. That’s one of the better aspects of what this restaurant should be. Yet the expectations of dining in the restaurant of a former “Iron Chef” is quickly tempered by reality. Otto Enoteca is both the best and worst of the Celebrity Chef culture in Las Vegas.

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Breaking: Palazzo Planning Palate-Pleasing Panoply


ELV has it on good authority (and by “good authority” he means the principals involved), that the Palazzo is about to up its restaurant ante with a cadre of new concepts helmed by some of the biggest names in the business.

Some deals are set and some are in the final stages of negotiation but coming soon you can expect:

– At least 2 new concepts from the Batali/Bastianich group — one involving an Arthur Ave.-like ode to American-Italian food; the other a gastropub that probably will not have an Italian theme (whew!).

– A top-shelf sushi bar from “one of the world’s greatest sushi chefs.” (Jiro? Morimoto? The mind reels.)

– A very, very French bistro/charcuterie/brasserie concept from a very, very famous French chef who may or may not be someone we are sworn not to divulge, but whose initials just might be Daniel Boulud.

Each of these concepts will be taking over existing empty restaurants in the Palazzo and each promises to inject some much-needed life (and some imagination?) into our moribund Strip dining scene. (Sorry Caesars, but trying to revive Nobu’s fading brand doesn’t count.)

Yours truly spoke with Bastianich last night, and he said a lot of smart restaurant people are guessing that Vegas is on the verge of another boom. (And on this point, he would be right.)

Getting Daniel back would be a shot in the arm for our humble burg, and fingers are crossed that he can bring one of his wildly successful New York concepts (Bar Boulud, Boulud Sud…) to one of our top shelf hotels without all of the interference (and dumbing down) that drove him from the Wynn.

As for the sushi idea, it couldn’t happen a moment too soon and is sorely needed to round out Venetian/Palazzo’s restaurant collective.

Don’t be surprised if some of these joints open before summer.

We at ELV are already smacking our lips in anticipation.