And had some amazing meals. The best of the bunch, and probably my best meal of 2012 so far, was at B&B. We had the Emilia-Romana tasting menu and there was not a false note from beginning to end. The courses (as copied from the B&B web site) were:
Mortadella “Spuma” with Piadina and Pistachio
Strichetti with Spring Vegetables and Stracchino
Stinging Nettle Garganelli with Ragu Bolognese
Bollito Misto with Salsa Verde
Cravera Parmigiano-Reggiano “24 Mesi” with Aceto Tradizionale
Gelatina di Lambrusco
Warm Local Apricots with Vanilla Semifreddo
The highlight of the meal was the Bolito Misto. From the moment the maitre d' opened the tureen and the smell came wafting over to the table, I knew it was going to be amazing. The aroma brought me right back to Bologna; it was that authentic. The tableside service was not only a nice touch, but authentic as well. The meats were out of this word: cotechino, calf's tongue and a turkey "zampone;" a riff on the traditional zampone (stuffed pig's trotter) this was a turkey breast stuffed with ground pork, pork rinds, and spices. Simply amazing. The bolito was served with a traditional salsa verde. The only criticism I can make is that I wish they had also served a mostarda di cremona with the bolito as well.
A real surprise was a new addition to the Palazzo (where we stayed) called the Public House. Owned by a restaurant group, this is an American take on a gastropub. We were floored by how good the food was. The most outstanding thing we had was a selection of charcuterie. We chose the duck rillettes, country pate and a porchetta stuffed with rabbit loin. As a bonus, the chef sent out a "foie gras parfait." This was a crock foie gras with a layer of rhubarb gelatin on top. When mixed together and spread on toasted bread, the taste was sublime. I literally could not stop eating it. The other three charcuterie items were just as good. Charcuterie is fast becoming my favorite category of food these days.
Another stand out was China Poblano. We were torn between this restaurant and Jaleo for lunch one day. I really had my heart set on CP for weeks but my partner liked the menu at Jaleo better. Since I had wanted to go to CP for some time, I won out. And we were both very glad I did. We sat at the counter where they make the Mexican food and ordered a few items from both sides of the menu. We started with the sui mai sampler. There were 8 in all with 2 of each flavor: traditional; scallop; beef; and chicken. They were all terrific. We then had three tacos: lobster, ducks tongue and cochinita. Again, all were very good with the standout being the lobster. Finally, we had the Golden Pigs. This was the standout of the meal. 4 lightly fried steamed BBQ pork buns served with a condensed milk dipping sauce. Outrageuously delicious!
Our last night we ate at Prime at the Bellagio. We had originally had a reservation at Craftseak but got to talking with a sommelier who used to work at Prime and suggested we would enjoy Prime much more than Crafteak. Plus, he texted ahead for us and secured a reservation at a table with a view of the water show. How could we pass that up? I won't go into detail about the meal at Prime because it was a typical steakhouse meal. We enjoyed it very much, but I guess it wasn't as special as the other meals I have detailed. There were two standouts though: the side of gratin Dauphinois (the original scalloped potato dish) and the coconut souffle for dessert.
All in all, we had a wonderful time in Vegas (as we always do) and can't wait to go back again soon.