B&B vs Enoteca vs not while in Vegas - can you weigh in?
I've read many posts and threads on the hound regarding Batali's ventures in Vegas. I'm a die hard long standing fan of Babbo in NYC - I've never had a bad meal (or even a mediocre one) there.
Now we're headed to Vegas this weekend for a few days and have tentative reservations at B&B and Enoteca San Marco for dinner next Monday.
I'm quite torn - the reviews have been SO mixed on this site, varying from downright awful to high praise. Are either of these restaurants worth a visit for one of our few dinners while we're on the strip? We're at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon to try the tasting menu on Saturday night, are journeying to Bouchon (I can't WAIT!) for brunch/lunch on Sunday and I was hoping to round it out with either B&B or Enoteca on Monday but now I'm not sure.
Suggestions? Clarification? Has anyone eaten at either very recently with good things to say?
I've had a few meals at both B&B and Enoteca and have decided not to return. The meals are not the problem ("liked" B&B, "loved" Enoteca); it is the dining room itself.
These are just not comfortable restaurants. They are cramped and loud; B&B is too dark, Enoteca glaringly bright; the chairs are hard and small. Although I've always enjoyed the food at these restaurants, I've never felt relaxed or at ease at the end of a meal there.
There are so many places on the strip in all price ranges that get the ambience right.
IMHO Enoteca is definitely worth a trip for lunch. The food is simpler than B&B but well-executed and a good sampling of Batali's abilities (if that's important to you). It's not a quiet and comfy place like I would choose for a dinner though. I do think that the open, bright, sometimes loud and bustling nature if Enoteca really adds to the experience.
We just ate at Enoteca yesterday afternoon and were SO disappointed: dried-out salumi ($36 for about 3 or 4 ounces total) and burnt bread. The pasta and pizza were so salty we could barely eat them, and the pizza crust was hard and tasteless. Mario is my favorite chef, and I wanted to like his resto so much, but nothing was good - even the pork shoulder was burnt and dry. (No Chowhound warned me that it was served with a SWEET sauce! I thought I'd stumbled into a Chinese resto, for pete's sake.)
Had breakfast at Bouchon this morning and was not disappointed: nothing was overcooked nor oversalted, and the croissant shattered at first bite - divine! It was better than any breakfast I'd had in Paris.
We were also at Enoteca earlier this week. The burnt bread was sort of remarkable - what, is crappy dry bread fashionable in part of the world if it's wrapped? We actually sort of laughed that we'd be served such a thing.
The pork shoulder definitely had a sweet fish sauce taste going on - it felt Vietnamese to us until we got thinking about ancient Rome (garum/liquamen) realized that the chile peppers in the dish were the only part of it that might not have been served there. The pork that we had was very fatty but cooked well - it was too fatty for my wife to eat, but I was able to enjoy it. Crisp on the outside, buttery on the inside. If you don't care for fatty meat, avoid this one.
The bucatini amatriciana was profoundly salty (the guanciale used has got some major salt-cure going on), but our excellent server warned us about this. The arancine were okay, but not outstanding. Service was just great.
The wines that we tried were okay on the lower end of the spectrum, but the barolo I had just didn't seem worth the cost. Frankly, the least impressive barolo I've ever had.
Enoteca's location is pretty darn annoying, too - a faux "patio" on the "Piazza San Marco" in the Venetian Grand Canal Shoppes. The singers in the plaza really detracted from the meal - all of Enoteca's staff made it clear that they were about to go crazy from the singing.
My wife and I tried to have a nice little late lunch at Enoteca San Marco on Sunday and dropped a bit of change doing it. We enjoyed our time together, but I doubt we'll be back.