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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Best Of Lavo


The Best of Lavo

New York-style Italian food

Story by Bob Gourley

Photography provided by Lavo Italian Restaurant


There are many layers to Lavo Italian Restaurant at the Palazzo Hotel and Casino. First there is a large, open dining room that sizzles with enthusiasm as you sit at your table. An inviting bar area is a place where visitors can comment on the news of the day and enjoy a signature cocktail. Upstairs, a private lounge can be rented for private parties. The patio area is a romantic and quiet spot where you can share an intimate moment as you view The Strip from a hard-to-beat second floor vantage point.

No matter where you choose to sit, you will enjoy your time here. The kitchen is guided by Executive Chef Marc Marrone, who has been employed by Lavo owners The Tao Group for the past eleven years. He worked in both Seattle and New York before coming to Las Vegas. Marrone says, “The real concept at Lavo is an Italian steakhouse focusing on New York-style Italian food.” An interesting note is that The Tao Group exported their menu to the New York Lavo location, which opened after the Vegas spot.

Affable and knowledgeable waiter Eric promptly greeted us as we arrived on the patio. The weather on an early November evening was surprisingly warm, and the view of the lights of The Strip as dazzling as ever.

The first piece of the dining experience was a basket of terrific garlic bread. Slightly crunchy on the outside and soft and warm inside, a delightful bite was enhanced with marinara sauce dip. Also delivered to the table was a trio of samplings including hummus, antipasti, and vegetables.

One of the most popular appetizers, “The Meatball,” features 16 ounces of Imperial Wagyu, homemade Italian sausage and veal that is hand-ground every day. Another favorite is the Charred Octopus that is first oven roasted in red wine vinegar, onion, and garlic and then grilled to order. You will be fine sharing the Roasted Beet Salad with three kinds of beets, goat cheese, onions, and toasted almonds.

Quality steak is available here, each piece of beef is Angus prime that is both antibiotic and hormone free and dry-aged for 28 days. There are so many good chicken Parmesan recipes around, but Lavo’s is at the top of my list. Marrone loves to say that great ingredients make great food and the “parm” certainly lives up to that adage. Breadcrumbs that are made in-house each day and then dried are served along with a large mound of cheese on top of hormone-free chicken breast. You won’t need a knife for this one.

Delicious creamed spinach is a memorable side, as it is made with fontina cheese and a cream base. Garlic mashed and roasted Rosemary potatoes are also available.

Pizzas are a family affair, as they are all prepared with dough imported from Italy plus a starter that keeps the crust consistent with each pie. Imported tomatoes and other imported ingredients finish out the recipe. 

Yes, you will want dessert. Maybe an order of Oreo Zeppole. They take a whole Oreo cookie, dip it in batter, deep-fry it and then serve it with a vanilla milk shake dip. The 20-Layer Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake is a mix of devil’s food cake and peanut butter mascarpone. Homemade gelatos are another alternative.

No matter where you sit, there is a cocktail that will fit your mood. The Pom Lemonada is a refreshing libation made with Absolut Elyx Vodka, pomegranate juice and fresh lemonade. New York State of Mind will take your thoughts to the east coast with Knob Creek Rye Whiskey, Apricot Liqueur, Oloroso Sherry, Lillet Rouge and fresh lemon juice. More and more sommeliers are recommending sparkling wines by the glass and Lavo has an Italian Prosecco from Zonin. A compelling white wine that goes with pasta is the Bollini Pinot Grigio from Italy. Pick a red blend Masi Campo Orin for beef entrees.

One of the stars of the Weekend Brunch is Avocado Toast, with toasted ciabatta topped with a poached cage-free egg, cipollino, and Callabrian Chili.

There were a lot of smiles on the faces of patrons who sampled the tastes provided by Lavo at the inaugural Audi Henderson Lake Las Vegas Classic in October. Chef Marrone sums up their success with a bit of tongue-in-cheek, “Just use quality ingredients and make sure you don’t mess it up.” Fat chance of that!


Lavo Italian Restaurant

Palazzo Hotel and Casino

3325 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas


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