Ah, Mario Batali, you know that I love you, right? But, I just don’t understand your “less expensive” Enoteca San Marco in the Venetian. If this was meant to whet my appetite for your fancier restaurant there, B&B, it sorely failed. As a matter of fact, I am no longer dreaming of going to Osterias Mozza or Pizza (though I still will, for research sake, of course).
I was very excited when I first saw the menu at San Marco - you can order many Italian small plates, choosing from fried items, meats, cheeses, and vegetables, as well as pastas, pizzas, salads, and entrees. I definitely wanted to go with a few small plates for lunch that day, and I just knew my husband and I would love this. At home, I often make a makeshift meal of salami, crackers, cheeses, apples, and olive tapenade, so I figured this would be pretty similar. We ordered three cheeses (I chose Burratta and two other cheeses labeled as mild), fried zucchini blossoms, salami, marinated olives, broccoli rabe, and brussel sprouts.
While I enjoyed the cheeses, especially the Burratta, which was amazing, I was disappointed in the overall meal. For one thing, and maybe this makes me a total novice, I was expecting crackers. Foodies, please enlighten me. Are crackers the anti-cheese or something? Am I supposed to enjoy the full flavor of the cheese sans crunch? Interestingly enough, though, the cheeses did come with condiments: three tangy cherries, a floral honey, and spicy, rehydrated dried apricots. While this may sound strange, I actually did really enjoy that. My particular favorite was matching the Burratta with the cherries. The husband, however, not so much. Even worse for him was that he likes mild cheeses, and while the cheeses I ordered were probably the mildest of the bunch, they were quite pungent for his taste. Other than the mozzarella, they were strong, substantial cheeses.
As far as the other items, the salami was good. I enjoyed it, and so did the husband. But, again, no crackers? Nothing to put it on? Again, I guess this makes me a novice.
Another item I liked and the husband hated was the fried zucchini blossoms stuffed with cheese. I had never had these before, and was ecstatic to try them. The husband said, “It tastes like flowers.” Oh, well.
And then there were the vegetables (including olives). For me, this was the biggest disappointment. When I ordered the broccoli rabe and the brussel sprouts, I was expecting them to be hot. But, they were actually chilled. The broccoli rabe was steamed first, and the brussel sprouts were barely cooked, then (perhaps?) pulsed multiple times in a food processor. The olives were good, but there were just so many of them in contrast to everything else. I just felt like, how many olives can two people eat? Especially considering our cheeses were in such small samples.
While I was able to eat this meal without misery (after all, it wasn’t terrible, just disappointing), my husband was literally horrified. I believe his exact words were, “are we eating olives for lunch?” To appease him, I forced him to order a pasta dish with pork. While I enjoyed the fresh pasta, the sauce was too salty from all of the salted pork. It was okay, but nothing I would ever want to eat again. The husband was happier with this, but not overjoyed.
So, all in all, I would not go back to Enoteca San Marco. I am sure I would have had better luck ordering a pizza, so I think that there is hope for this place. But the prices are crazy, and the food just wasn’t too great. I am interested to go to the Mozzas here in LA, just to compare. I don’t want to judge the man on just one meal at one restaurant. But Mario, it just wasn’t that good.
Enoteca San Marco is located in the Venetian Hotel and Casino at 3355 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, NV 89109 Phone: 702 677 3390