Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare

“I’ve never had a restaurant where I’ve had to do so little cooking,” uber-chef Paul Bartolotta told us recently. “Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare is all about sourcing ingredients.” And that’s why the Milwaukee-born chef, who is fluent in his ancestral Italian, travels to Italy several times a year: to maintain relationships with the fishermen who supply his restaurant with a veritable ark of fresh fish, most of which he refers to by their Italian names. There’s scorfano, triglie bianche and even baleni, the goose barnacles that are so hard to come by in Europe that Bartolotta regularly flies into Las Vegas. Cooking can soar here, but it is best when simple, such as a fritto misto with seven types of fish, those goose barnacles (which you break open and suck) or flavorful homemade spaghetti with bottarga di muggine (the caviar-like roe of the Sardinian gray mullet). It’s safe to say that there’s no other restaurant like this one in the country. Perhaps not in Italy, either.

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