Along the shopping promenade within the Las Vegas Wynn Casino is where you'll find Paul Bartolotta's namesake restaurant, Bartolotta Ristorante Di Mare. A seafood mecca in the middle of the desert, this modern multilevel restaurant lives up to its hype.
Dinner at Bartolotta is an exceptional experience from start to finish. The Italian-inspired menu is set up in courses, allowing guests to get a taste of several appropriately portioned items in one meal, with the grand finale being the chosen fish. Varietals with exotic names like orata, scorfano, and gallinella are flown in regularly and presented to diners in large rolling carts, and the servers go to great lengths to point out each fish and describe its preparation. With this in mind, my husband and I decided to share the octopus salad, the linguini and clams, and a salt-encrusted branzino.
I've had octopus salad in the past, but have never tasted one quite this good. Lightly dressed in olive oil and lemon juice, the Ligurian octopus was so tender it melted in my mouth. Served with two small potatoes and some arugula, it was the perfect introduction to what was yet to come. The following pasta course was linguini with clams, which was also delicious, with the pasta cooked to a perfect al dente consistency and sauced just right for my taste.
The main course, branzino, was encased in two pounds of salt, and seasoned with fennel and citrus. Our server expertly removed the crust and filleted the fish tableside as he described the low and slow cooking method that was used. Plated with some new potatoes and sautéed zucchini, it was the perfect portion for two. Common in Sicily, this cooking method produces a moist, almost creamy fish with just a hint of salt. It's a remarkably simple, fool-proof way to cook delicious fish.
The dessert menu included a few Italian standards: semifreddo, Ligurian lemon cake, gelato, and a chocolate almond cake. We shared the chocolate almond cake and couldn't have been happier. Topped with homemade vanilla bean gelato, it was a great way to end the meal.
The quality and preparation of the food and the knowledge and service provided by the staff at Bartolotta is exceptional. If you’re in Vegas, love seafood, and have a few extra dollars to spend, I highly recommend a dinner at Bartolotta.