Nove Italiano could easily be missed. High atop the Palms Fantasy tower on the 51st floor, the only hint there's a restaurant in the vicinity is a small hostess stand off the casino floor.
Take the private elevator up to the restaurant. While on the way, a friendly elevator man will make sure to get you to your destination, chatting with you about his favorite Nove dishes.
When you step off the elevator, a small entryway leads you to a large restaurant. The view is spectacular -- floor-to-ceiling glass windows give guests a great view of the Las Vegas Strip and beyond. Though Nove is a large restaurant, it's separated into a few different sections. There is a main dining room and a garden room with a fire box element next to the window and large, 12-foot topiaries that are shaped like women. The bar area is a great place to have a drink and enjoy a few appetizers and the second floor is great for larger dining parties.
To add to your sensory experience, there is a fantastic use of color and texture throughout the restaurant. Look up and iridescent mosaic tiles line the inverted tray ceiling. In the middle of each dome is a contemporary chandelier. Shelves lined with pillar candles jet out from the crystal and tile-lined columns. Rococo gold picture frames, gilded furniture and crocodile upholstery all add to the restaurant's appeal.
Nove is an Italian restaurant. When Americans think Italian food, traditionally, they think pasta. The pasta here is excellent, far exceeding your average spaghetti and meatballs. Chef Geno Bernardo serves his pasta al dente (a characteristic worth mentioning) and makes his pasta in-house.
The raviolo is one big ravioli -- filled with egg yolk, ricotta, pecorino and truffle butter. It's a creamy, delicious way to enjoy a bite of pasta -- and though it's one piece, can be easily shared. The Nove spaghetti features an array of seafood including lobster, shrimp, crab, scallops, calamari and fresh basil. A tender, melt-in-your-mouth tortellini is served with prosciutto, black truffle, creamy sauce and wilted arugula.
One dish that stands out is the duck. A duck breast is served over roasted grapes and lentils. The grapes give the dish a hint of sweet and the lentils are nutritious and fortifying. The veal Nove is delicious-- thin scaloppine-style veal cutlets in a light, lemony sauce is topped with prosciutto and served with a side of arugula.
This is the part where I usually get a little disappointed. After a fantastic meal, sometimes desserts at restaurants can be an afterthought. But at Nove, I am happy to say the desserts are just as delicious and crave-worthy as any other portion of the meal.
If you want something lighter, go with the strawberry carpaccio. Thin slices of tender strawberries are laid on a plate, drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with toasted panko bread crumbs. The strawberries are topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This simple dessert is cool and refreshing.
If chocolate is your passion, congratulations, you've met your match! A silky, rich chocolate ganache is served with a drizzle of olive oil and grilled chocolate bread. Spread the velvety ganache on the bread for a mind-blowing chocolate experience (think Nutella, but house-made and on flavor-packed steroids.) A truly decadent treat, make sure to save room for this one at the end of your meal.
Because of all the elements, good food, great atmosphere and good view, Nove Italiano is a destination for a business dinner, a romantic date or a spot to start your night of partying.
-- Review by Nikki Neu