Vegas Values: This flame isn’t fading

FiAMMA Trattoria was brought to the Studio Walk at MGM Grand after much success at the original location in New York. The “SoHo” location closed early this year when it fell victim the economic slowdown. Fortunately, the rustic Italian flavors and approachable dishes can still be sampled here in Las Vegas. Fiamma is Italian for flame, I’m happy to report that our FiAMMA is still going strong.

We first tried FiAMMA last winter, and in the past year it has become one of our favorite Italian restaurants. Its delicious seasonal tasting menus and specials for local residents have won us over. Not to mention the beautiful sleek dining room. Its rich woods, dark leathers and warm accents set the mood for relaxed indulgence.

Massive prawns
Massive Prawns
Photo by Kellee Kunovic

We’ve ate our way through much of the menu and Chef Buscaglia’s fondness for fresh ingredients are evident in every dish. We recently treated my mom and brother-in-law to a fine meal and this experience was just as scrumptious as each time before.

Each season, a handful of MGM Grand’s restaurants feature seasonal tasting menus. FiAMMA’s three-course winter tasting menu is $45 per person, it is currently being offered until February 29, 2010. The current selections include your choice of potato soup or calamari, osso bucco, fusilli, or gamberoni, and panna cotta or cioccolato. There is also an optional wine pairing available for $25 per person. We’ve done this and sampled wines such as Chardonnay, Chalone Estate, Monterey, 2006; Pinot Noir, Acacia, Carneros, 2007; and Moscato D’Asti, Saraco, Piedmont, 2009.

FiAMMA also has an ongoing promotion buy one entrée get the second free for Nevada residents. The only stipulations are as follows: second entrée must be of equal or lesser value. Limit one offer per person. Must mention “Locals Offer” and present valid Nevada ID to redeem.

We took advantage of both of these offers on our recent visit. Combined we sampled the potato soup, calamari, fusilli, gamberoni, panna cotta, cioccolato and we also ordered tagliata and brasato from the menu.

The potato soup was velvety and flavored with shrimp, bacon and leeks. We’ve had the calamari a number of times before and it never disappoints. It is always crisp and tender and mildly spicy from the pepperoncinis.

Hearty brasato
Hearty Brasato
Photo by Kellee Kunovic

Pastas are house made; I’ve sampled several all have been wonderfully prepared and coated with rich hearty sauces, the fusilli was no different. The pasta was bathed in creamy, truffle sauce and tossed with peas and prosciutto.

The gamberoni or prawns were two of the largest I’ve ever seen. They were delicate and sweet perched on a bed of kale and parsnip puree. The presentation and taste were equally stunning.

If turf is your preference over surf, tagliata delivers prime cuts of grilled N.Y. steak with silky pureed potatoes and grilled asparagus. Meat and potatoes have never tasted so good. The brasato is a flintstone-like short rib braised in Sangiovese, a red Italian wine. The slow roasting provides “fall of the bone” tenderness and an extreme rich-meaty flavor. Beneath the rib you’ll find a delicious blend of root vegetables. It’s the ultimate cozy dish.

Luscious panna cotta
Luscious Panna Cotta
Photo by Kellee Kunovic

We concluded the meal with delicately sweet panna cotta and decadent Valrhona chocolate fudge cake and pomegranate sorbet. The panna cotta is one of my beloved desserts, I find the light flavors of honey and figs refreshing and the crushed Marcona almonds add great texture. It’s the perfect end to a comforting meal.

FiAMMA has provided us with fantastic meals time and time again. It’s a great choice for fine night out, whether it’s with family, friends or someone special.

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