Courtesy Venetian Resort and Casino
Keeping up her track record of heading out of town for three-star reviews, S. Irene Virbila goes to Vegas, baby. Even less shocking, she doles high marks for B&B Ristorante at the Venetian, the newish venture from Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich. We went early on and it's a gem: Even though hidden near the Blue Man Theater, it's a safe haven from the masses, and the food stands out and up to all the other celeb-chef restos in town. It's as anti-gondola, anti-glitz as a Venetian restaurant can get:
All around us, people are swirling wine glasses and spaghetti, talking, laughing, deep into the moment. Is this Italy? Is it Vegas? Hard to tell from the scene. A first guess would not be Vegas though. The casino and the Blue Man Theater next door are a mere memory. If you step upstairs to the partners' wine bar, Enoteca San Marco, it's blazing (faux) daylight at 11 p.m., and the carnival atmosphere spells Vegas in big letters. Small wonder the enoteca on this cheesy fake piazza doesn't have Mario's name emblazoned over the front. Meanwhile, at B&B, he's managed to create a serious restaurant that's also fun.Perhaps Miss Irene needed to prep her palate for Osteria, which we're sure will have a Critic's Notebook any day now. There's little doubt where the next three-star review will go in LA. Today the "S." stands for "shoo-in." [LAT]
ELSEWHERE: Newbie MetroMix checks out Tracht's; LA.com finds their way to 750ml; Potatomato discovers Fritto Misto and dives into dim sum at The Elite; no matter what, Blue Velvet still feels like a hotel bar.