Diner's Notebook

Uncork’d Pops its Top, Boulud Greets the VIPs and Ferraro’s at Night

This year’s Vegas Uncork’d culinary weekend was the best to date. I ate a sensational lunch at Border Grill, highlighted by a terrific lobster and crab salad on a fat, griddled corn cake; a world-class dinner at Joël Robuchon at the Mansion, ministered to by the “Chef of the Century” himself; and a perfect bone-in New York Strip at Old Homestead in Caesars Palace.

But the granddaddy event of his weekend is the Grand Tasting, annually held poolside at Caesars Palace. The media darling of darlings seemed to be Gordon Ramsay, who was constantly posing for pictures. But I always head directly to Guy Savoy for a cup of his artichoke soup. This year’s superstar dish was an entire spit-roasted baby lamb prepared by the chefs from Estiatorio Milos, ironic, since the Cosmopolitan did not formally participate this year.

Interestingly, at the Border Grill lunch, Food Network cofounder Robin Leach called out Bon Appétit’s Andrew Knowlton, telling him that outside of Uncork’d, the magazine gives Las Vegas short shrift. Knowlton’s response: “Most of the chefs don’t live here during the year.” In spite of all that, this remains the premier food weekend of the year in Sin City.

Hot on the heels of Vegas Uncork’d, the Palazzo will be this year’s host for the Las Vegas Epicurean Affair, sponsored by the Nevada Restaurant Association, held 7-10 p.m. May 23 at Azure pool. Daniel Boulud will be the evening’s host, and participating restaurants include Tao, Table 10, Delmonico Steakhouse and Morels. General admission is $105. But early-admission tickets ($155) let you get first crack at those tasty bites at 6 p.m. And VIP tickets ($190) include entrance at 6 p.m., a meet and greet with Boulud, access to an exclusive VIP pool and a special gift bag for the first 250 ticket-buyers.

Meanwhile, over at Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar (4480 Paradise Rd., 364-5300), Mezzanotte (Italian for “midnight”) will feature an authentic Italian fine-dining experience every evening from 11 p.m.-2 a.m. Chef Mimmo Ferraro is offering the entire dinner menu at 50 percent off and drinks at 25 percent off. If you’ve never eaten Mimmo’s pasta e fagioli, veal dishes or pappardelle, there’s never been a better time.

Finally, Pizza Lounge at Tivoli Village (410 S. Rampart Blvd.) does pizzas and salads that have made the restaurant popular in Southern California locales such as Laguna Beach. The 1,900-square-foot restaurant has 20 wines by the glass, a dozen craft beers in bottles and 13 more on tap.

Specialty pizzas range from chipotle shrimp with spinach, cranberry, goat cheese and mozzarella to homemade meatball, topped with house-made meatballs, mushrooms, Roma tomatoes, red onion and fresh mozzarella. “Our Famous Pear and Gorgonzola Salad” is crispy mixed greens, gorgonzola cheese, shaved pears and candied walnuts with balsamic dressing, while the grilled chicken, aioli and brie sandwich is a grilled chicken breast with melted brie, lettuce and tomato with an herb aioli.

Hungry, yet?

Follow Max Jacobson’s latest epicurean observations, reviews and tips at VegasSeven.com/Blogs.

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