By Patty Anis
Growing up in New York, with one of my parents having Sicilian roots, it was predictable that our family would appreciate good Italian food, and often. Although my mother was of Irish decent, she quickly learned the art of Italian cooking from my maternal grandmother, who had recently migrated to the U.S. from Sicily. Nonny’s cooking expertise was a strong influence on our family, especially the eating part.
Having said that, my skills at Italian cooking are pretty much limited to general dishes such as spaghetti and meatballs, and meatballs and spaghetti (in that order). But my taste for delicious Italian food is a bit more extensive.
During the recent IFWTWA 2012 Conference in Las Vegas, my fellow writers and I visited LAVO – Italian Restaurant and Nightclub, one of the newest, and exceptional, additions to The Palazzo. LAVO is the latest hot spot from the creators of TAO Asian Bistro, TAO Nightclub & TAO Beach, and located right on the Las Vegas Strip.
Our group was escorted to a private dining room for our pre-arranged demo with Chef Max. As we entered the dining room, we passed a massive oven and food demonstration table which featured ingredients for the treat that Chef Max would introduce to us.
What immediately caught my eye, aside from the various plates of fresh ingredients, was a huge plate with four of the biggest meatballs I’d ever seen. Each meatball weighs in at one pound. This was our demo for the afternoon.
Chef Max introduced us to LAVO’s signature item, the KOBE Meatball with Fresh Whipped Ricotta. Its ingredients consisted of beef, veal and pork, fresh parmesan and Romano cheeses, fresh seasonings and spices. Each meatball is made fresh, mixed, and formed by hand every day. They are then oven roasted and, after cooking them evenly to perfection with delicious flavorful juices preserved, they are then covered with homemade, freshly seasoned and cooked to perfection, Italian tomato sauce and melted ricotta cheese.
Our eyes were wide with admiration as meatballs were placed on the table. There were about 16 of us in attendance, and we each cut portions off the meatballs to savor as, of course, no one would eat a whole pound, at least not in mixed company. I must confess that I joked to myself, “Let’s see if it’s as good as mine.” Of course, I knew the outcome since my reasonably tasting meatballs are from a 1970s Betty Crocker cookbook. This Kobe meatball was the most delicious I’d ever tasted with flavors of the three meat ingredients mixed perfectly with cheeses and paired with a glass of Meroni wine. (I’m sorry, but I was so focused on that delicious giant meatball that I didn’t catch the vintage of the wine.)
Cheers to Chef Max and his staff at LAVO. This is one restaurant I would definitely travel back to Las Vegas to visit with my family, if only to savor that giant meatball again. Anyway, I would need someone to share it with to keep my weight within a normal range.
There’s so much more to LAVO Restaurant and Night Club, located in the 5-star Palazzo/Venetian Hotel complex, so visit their website at http://www.lavolv.com/.
LAVO Italian Restaurant and Nightclub
3325 Las Vegas Blvd S # 1760, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Hours of Operation:
Sunday – Thursday: 5pm – 12am, Friday: 5pm – 1am, Saturday: 6:30pm – 1am
Hours of Operation:
Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 11pm – 4am, Friday – Saturday: 10:30pm – 4am
Hours of Operation:
Sunday – Friday: 5pm – 4am, Saturday: 6pm – 4am
Patty Anis is the Executive Director of the International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association as well as a freelance travel writer/photographer who has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and Europe. Currently, she is Executive Director of the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association. Previously, Patty worked in the field of editorial, editing, and graphics design for 14 years and for a Southern California multi-city newspaper and public relations firm for seven years. Patty enjoys the opportunity to discover new destinations and cultures, both domestic and international, and shares these experiences through her articles.x