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STRIPLVDINING - FERRARO'S - by Vegas Food Nerd

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Locals and tourists alike have been visiting and devouring the tasty offerings of the Vegas Italian restaurant mainstay, Ferraro’s, for close to 20 years now.  And after finally getting to visit this longtime beloved establishment, I truly understand their staying power.   

Originally located in an off-strip location on Flamingo, Gino, Mimo, and Rosalba Ferraro have crafted “the” place to go for authentic Italian cuisine with a sophisticated flair.  The new location on Paradise across from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is opening up their clientele from loyal locals, to tourists and late-night dining for industry workers.  The menu is largely the same as at the previous location, with a few tweaks here and there, but the big addition is their 36-foot long wine cellar, which features approximately 10,000 bottles of wine.  The interior is warm and inviting, and the bar and patio make a great stop for a quiet drink away from the casino uproar.

We dined there on a busy Friday night, starting with a few martinis at the bar.   The bartender was very funny and made some mean martinis.  (It was a bit sad to leave her when our table was ready), though our waiter was just as much fun, and we settled in to deciding what we’d be ordering.  I’m a sucker for antipasto, so we started with that.  This “daily selection of meats and cheeses” was a perfect combination.  I was particularly fond of the hunk of creamy Gorgonzola, of which I ate more than my fair share.  Next we chose (not surprisingly), Ferraro’s Italian take on the classic wedge salad.  Their Cappuccina con Gorgonzola was incredible:  a wedge of butter lettuce topped with sliced toasted almonds, crumbled Gorgonzola, and drizzled with a ranch-balsamic dressing.  Next up was the Bucatini Carbonara e Tartufio Nero – a house-made bucatini pasta, with egg, pancetta, speck shallots, parmigiano reggiano, and seasonal black truffles.  The sauce was creamy and rich with amazing flavor.  The only part of the dish that was slightly amiss for us was the shape of the pasta in combination with the sauce.  While tender and delicious, its tubular shape didn’t seem to fit a Carbonara.  Next up, we couldn’t leave without trying their famous Osso Buco.  This tender “fall-off-the-bone” veal shank was just that.  The meat is literally falling off the bone when it is served to you, bathed in a red wine reduction sauce and served with faro.  I liked the faro side as a replacement for the standard pasta side – its nuttiness was a nice complement to the veal.  An added bonus is the meaty delight of marrow in the bone to slather on your bread.  These guys have been serving this stuff way before the trendy guys started hopping on the marrow wagon.  If you are a meat lover and you haven’t tried it, now is the time.  The only real disappointment of the night was the fact that we ate so much that we left little room for dessert, which is somewhat of a comfort, because it gives me an excuse to go back.

Although the food and service were excellent, there is another aspect to Ferraro’s that makes going there a treasure.  You feel as though you truly become a part of the Ferraro’s family, with Gino greeting you and welcoming you right from the beginning.  Then Mimo walks out from the kitchen to visit with customers and check on their food.  The best part for us:  on the way out, after Mimo’s son offered up a high-five, and my friend thanked Mimo and told him about his opinion of the pasta shape, to which Mimo replied:  “I know, I know, but my dad won’t change his mind.”  I love this place.  I’m a believer, Gino.   

Ferraro’s 4480 Paradise Rd.  Las Vegas  702-364-5300

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