If there’s one thing I love more than a great meal at a steakhouse, it’s a great meal at a steakhouse with amazing service. Carnevino had just that.
Our spontaneous girl’s trip to Vegas was interrupted by six guy friends. Seeing as how they were all fighter pilots in the U.S. Navy – ‘Murica – we thought the best way to start out the night was with a little bit of steak. Well actually, a lot a bit of steak.
We made reservations for Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s restaurant, Carnevino. I’m always cautious of these casino restaurants because the ambiance is a toss up. Michael Mina’s Stripsteak is delicious, but the restaurant is wide open to the casino. Nothing disrupts your palate like a 40-something stumbling around the casino in an Affliction shirt as he gambles away his life’s savings.
Carnevino does have a view of the casino but it’s not as distracting as other places. The décor is masculine with dark browns throughout and is dimly lit.
Aside from the insanely delicious cuts – more on that later – the one factor that made our experience perfection was our waiter, Shepherd. He was there when we needed him, hiding when we didn’t, recommended all the right things and had that perfect dry sense of humor you need when dining with a large group.
The wine list is expansive – the menu size itself is literally the size of a carryon bag. You’ll have to trust the waiters on recommendations, unless you’re a sommelier. If you are, Tweet, email and call me. At once.
The portions are small but Shepherd warned us in advance. We ordered eight or so of them and shared them family style. I absolutely loved it because pasta is so filling, but with the small plates I was able to try different dishes without filling up. The lobster ravioli had a tarragon sauce that wasn’t overly rich and the black fettuccini was to die for.
I am usually a fillet type when I eat at steakhouses. But thankfully Shepherd told us it would be criminal if we ordered the fillet over the rib eye. With skepticism I went with his suggestion and my taste buds have been thanking him since. The rib eye is bone-in, dry-aged, typically 90 to 120 days. They bring the steak to you and cut it off the bone tableside. I ordered it medium rare, and it came out on the rarer side. It suited the rib eye well and had a buttery texture.
The best part about the rib eye was it was sliced then sprinkled with coarse bits of sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil. They also keep the bone at the table and encouraged us to enjoy the remaining pieces of steak directly off the bone. I passed, but it was awfully tempting.
By the end of the meal, my belly was full – a horrific feeling when wearing a skintight leather dress in Las Vegas. But I will take a belly full of Carnevino’s rib eye over looking good in a dress any day.