Dining Under the Radar in Vegas
It's no secret that Las Vegas is home to some of the world's best dining venues with several Michelin award-winning restaurants on the Strip. In addition to those high profile, renowned dining palaces, Las Vegas is also home to some lovely restaurants that fly under the radar, and provide mouthwatering delicious cuisine. One of these nice finds is D.Vino Italian Food and Wine located in the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino.
Walking into D.Vino, you are first struck by a Vespa and Enomatic machines that start you on the right foot. The bar is casual and bright giving the feel of an Italian diner with the Enomtica offering a touch of sophistication. A quick look at the menu showed a nice selection of meat, fish, vegetables, pasta, and breads. There is even an authentic formaggio and salami bar, and a wood-fired pizza oven where you can enjoy custom pizzas.
Executive chef Jose Navarro turns seasonal and classic Italian dishes into palate-pleasing delights. Chef Navarro wants guests to be involved in the creation of the meal if they want to be, or they can just sit back and let his attentive staff take care of the details. That is exactly what we did as we headed to the fine dining area in the quite rear of the restaurant.
After being greeted by Chef Navarro, we were introduced to General Manager Iginio Pignatelli. Iginio is a true Italian, and his knowledge of the country and its rich culinary background would bring us many insights for the evening. Sipping on a nice Prosecco, Chef Navarro and Iginio explained the composition of each course.
The golden and chioggia beet salad with frisée, candied pecans, and Gorgonzola was served with a tangy sherry vinaigrette. This salad was sweet and savory with assertive gorgonzola mixed with crunchy bites of beets, and candied pecans, all nicely topped with delicately-dressed frisée.
The roasted diver scallops with soft polenta, and braised mushrooms was perfectly cooked — they melted in our mouths, combining with lovely, earthy flavors of the braised mushrooms. This dish was paired with De Forville Chardonnay Piemonte that was well balanced and brought out the layers of salads flavor components.
The pasta trio tasting was an excellent way to sample D.Vino's signature pastas without indulging in big bowls of pasta. The gnocchi pomodori was baked with a ratio of 50% pasta to potato filling. They were plump, and soft and yet they had a semi-firm texture layered with tomato sauce. The ravioli were our favorites — filled with mushrooms and topped with a lovely Bolognese. The rigatoni with sausage was also tasty, with roasted green pepper to enhance the flavor
Branzino with grilled lemon on a bed of sautéed spinach was our favorite dish. This was a work of art with layers of contrasting flavors. Sautéed spinach brought heartiness to the delicate fish that helped this dish stand up to the bold flavors of the Parcell 41 Merlot Napa Valley, 2007. This was the best wine pairing of the night and it left us impressed and yearning for more.
The lemon polenta cake is a rustic lemony corn cake. This was a nice, simple, and satisfying way to end dinner. This cake was rich, but not overly sweet after such a wonderful meal. But Iginio was not yet finished with his wine pairing. He brought a luscious Ben Rye Passito di Pantelleria Donna Fugata 2007 for the grand finish of this very nicely paired dining experience.
Dining at D.Vino was much more than we expected and we were pleasantly surprised with all aspects of the restaurant from the time we entered until we departed hours later very satisfied. We will be back to D.Vino to experience more of what this very special venue has to offer and know we will not be disappointed.