Mario Rules LV
First of all I want to thank all of you for all the info I got from this board in my preparation for 3 nights if Vegas, it was very helpful. It was interesting to see all of the different opinions of B & B, but with that menu I had to try it. We ate at B & B, CarneVino, and Enoteca San Marco, and also Fiamma in the MGM Grand. The food at B & B and CarneVino was fantastic, but different from what I read here, the service was great. Especially our lunch at CarneVino, the Sommeiier was so nice that she comped us a wonderful 1999 VIn Santo to go with our biscotti. The servers at both restaurants were very professional, knowledgeable, and friendly. The food at Enoteca San Marco was a notch below the other two and I wasn't too impressed with the pizza, but it was ok. At B & B we had teh tripe, lambs tongue salad, lamb's brain francobaldi, mint love letters, and the sweetbreads. Now my wife is a sweetbread lover. I already converted her to tripe.
Lunch at Carnevino included a salumi platter, great fried calamari and a wonderful salad with a creamy garlic dressing.
The only dissapointment was Fiamma. We had the winter tasting menu, the kobe beef risotto cakes, carpaccio, and beef cheeks raviolini. You couldn't tell if it was kobe beef or Cosco beef in the risotto balls, and the beef cheek ravioli was not too good. This restaurant was a couple of steps below Mario's places, both in food and service.
My wife and I live in San Francisco and enjoy good food, and Mario's places came through.
Getting good service on your trip to the Batali properties, particularly from the sommelier at CarneVino is a sign of the progress that they are making. We had our own bad experiences at B&B in the first few months they were open, which were written on this board, and it was not unlike what other top restaurants had to go through here at the time - there was an amazing array of restaurants opening in a short period, and Las Vegas did not have the inventory of experienced personnel that a New York, Chicago or San Francisco could supply to staff them. Compounding matters is that some of the workers sent from the parent locations resented being here, and that seemed to be a particular problem at B&B in the first year.
Things are changing now, and your experiences are a good example - the sommelier from CarneVino is married to a sommelier at B&B (a nice human interest story; they are both from New York, but had not met each other until they began working here), and we can see a "local" pride that is starting to develop. That is what is so often missing in Las Vegas, where even at high-end dining establishments a lot of the servers are "just passing through", and do not bring a strong loyalty to either their employer or the city.