For years, I've always felt that -- among the casinos -- the MGM Grand has the best restaurants. This may be changing, and Scarpetta is *certainly* one of the biggest reasons why.
Lynn and I followed up our "good" dinner Wednesday night at Comme Ça (also Yelped) with dinner at Scarpetta the next night (followed Friday night by LoS, but that's been written up way to many times).
Being a Celebrity Chef is a double-edged sword . . . it certainly gets your name out there, but then you (typically) aren't there to defend it -- someone ELSE is in the kitchen is, but if it sucks, you get the blame. A potentially dicey proposition at best.
Scott Conant need not worry; his Vegas outpost is in excellent hands.
The six of us began with a bottle of n.v. Champagne from Chartogne-Taillet (Cuvée Ste.-Anne), and ordered a round of appetizers "for the table." (The table, too, apparently was hungry -- not just the six of us!)
Finishing the Champagne just as the appetizers arrived, we moved into a 2008 Bruno Giacosa Arneis. We enjoyed the yellowtail crudo, the creamy polenta with a fricassee of truffled mushrooms (the winner of this round, IMHO), and the roasted sea scallops with porcini and sunchokes . . . all were delightful!
VEGETARIAN ALERT: this place is *very* cool, and vegetarian-friendly. They have a totally separate vegetarian and vegan menu available for the asking (as one in our party did).
Moving into the pasta course, we had the spaghetti with tomato and basil (so simple to say, so profound to eat -- nothing can describe the layers of flavor that you get here; magnificent!), the duck & foie gras ravioli with marsala reduction (OK, this is to die for!), and the short rib agnolotti with with brown butter horseradish. Of course, we also moved into a stunning Piedmontese red, the 1999 Barbaesco Riserva Vigneti in Ovello from the Produttori del Barbaresco. Just gorgeous!
Our entrées included black cod with caramelized fennel & concentrated tomato, sirloin with potato gnocchi, wild mushrooms, parmigiano & barolo ragu, a veal chop the size of Baltimore (and much more tasty), and the aforementioned spaghetti with tomato and basil (as an entrée portion).
A little dessert, a little Porto and coffee, and the world is a perfect place!
P.S. In case you haven't figured it out yet, their wine list is not only incredible, but there are some true gems on this list that remain real bargains (if you know how/where to look).