Leaving Las Vegas with a Luxury Italian Brunch

I am always ecstatic to share space on my food & wine blog with unique food & wine writers.  A prime example is my guest writer today, Andrew Harris.  Andrew is a fellow International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association  member who really knows his LA and Las Vegas food scene.  I wish I could “host” him every day, but alas, it’s just the occassional article I receive.  Like a wonderful “special of the day” at an extraordinary eatery…enjoy him while we have him….

Leaving Las Vegas with a Luxury Italian Brunch
By Guest Foodie & Las Vegas Insider , Andrew Harris

Chef Pellegrini

The ideal finale to a weekend of pure indulgence in Las Vegas is a leisurely Sunday brunch prepared by an inspired chef who puts the same energy into his brunch creations that goes into designing his winning dinner menu.

Since January such a properly decadent brunch experience is newly available at restaurateur and consummate host Piero Selvaggio’s Valentino Las Vegas at The Venetian Hotel from 10:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. (Valentino Las Vegas is the sister restaurant of the original, trendsetting  Valentino in Santa Monica, CA now celebrating its 40th Anniversary.) Guests have a choice of either an a la carte menu or a prix fixe option with a choice of an ample appetizer, a generously portioned main course, and two properly sinful desserts.

Since Valentino Las Vegas debuted with opening of The Venetian Hotel in 1999 executive chef and partner Luciano Pellegrini has been at the culinary helm and his commanding presence is felt. Chef Luciano, Piero Selvaggio, and the professional staff in both the kitchen and front-of-the house have judiciously maintained a standard of excellence and consistency matched by few restaurants at this level in Las Vegas.

Co-owner Piero Selvaggio

The food and beverage executives at The Venetian and The Palazzo are justifiably proud of the number of James Beard Award-winning chefs with restaurants at the property. What’s truly exceptional about Chef Pellegrini is that he is the only James Beard Award-winning chef who is actually cooking in his restaurant on a full-time basis. That impresses…

My preference is to enjoy the prix fixe option for the brunch ($39) with the Bottomless Bubbles (a respectable Canella Prosecco from Veneto) for a $15 supplement. (Unlimited Bloody Mary’s are also an option with a $25 supplement.)

Standout starters are the crab and potato pancakes with a roasted garlic sauce and a duo of house-made duck prosciutto (one cured and the other smoked) served with micro greens and a cherry Balsamic dressing. For the entrees I’ve been delighted with the sautéed veal scaloppine served with a bottarga Chardonnay sauce and garlic crouton, and the pistachio crusted lamb chops presented on a wilted mix of Escarole, Radicchio, Romaine, Endive and Arugula.

To conclude the Valentino Sunday brunch experience each guest has the choice of an abundant selection of any two enticing mini desserts. One of the secrets to Valentino’s success is executive pastry chef Alessandro Stoppa who trained in the kitchens of the revered Hotel Cipriani in Venice. His creations are as tasty as their distinctive eye appeal.

Whatever your choice don’t miss a scoop of the house-made gelato as one of the two dessert options. Stoppa’s gelato has such renown in the area foodie community that it is also served (a rotating selection of 54 exquisite flavors) at the always-crowded Espressamente illy coffee café on the casino level of The Palazzo Hotel near The Blue Man Theatre.

Valentino Las Vegas is located on The Venetian side of Restaurant Row (across from the Casino Cage) at The Venetian. (702) 414-3000.