EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants – 40. B&B RISTORANTE


Mario Batali simplified Babbo’s menu when he and partner Joe Bastianich brought B&B to the Venetian six years ago. They slightly modified the format to best comport with the middlebrow tastes of the average Vegas conventioneer, rather than challenge the pasta hounds as they do every night  their flagship in Greenwich Village. The good news is the bold flavors that put that flagship on the map made it out here without losing much in the process, and this kitchen still manages to crank out Vegas’s most interesting pastas half a decade later.

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EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants – 28. BOUCHON


We have run hot and cold about Bouchon over the years. We’ve had stupendous meals here; we’ve had pedestrian ones. Service has been terrific on occasion, sloppy and slow on others. We wanted to kiss all the cooks after one brunch…and felt like strangling them at another — when scrambling eggs seemed to challenge their skill set. A certain “critic” in town (who knows as much about French food as he does about ELV’s bunghole), once complained of being served a cold breakfast of (supposed to be) hot food and, for once, we had to agree with him.

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OTTO Unfortunately Underperforms

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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.

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