Salute Trattoria Italiana – First Look

Happily I was invited to the grand Opening event for Salute. Driving to Red Rock Casino, I told friend Lynn that I really didn’t want to go because I was in the mood for Chinese, not Italian. Then I admitted because I wasn’t in the mood, my thoughts on the food would probably be more accurate.

First off, the room is spacious and welcoming with unique light fixtures and gorgeous tile visible in the open kitchen. We were led past the dessert and garde manger station where chefs were at work creating antipasti, cakes, and salads. All were gorgeous to look at, and they will be sampled on my next visit as they weren’t part of our menu that evening. Upon arriving at the communal table I noticed there were no purse hooks under the table. That’s a “bar fail” in my book. Mentioning this to the PR rep there, she jumped all over the suggestion, so I will seek them out the next time I am in. A bigger aggravation for me were the TVs in the bar area. Look, if you want to be a sports bar, be a sports bar. Don’t put TVs in clear view of a dining room that is aiming to be a more “high end” concept. If you absolutely MUST have TVs put them on the outdoor patio. This restaurant is in a casino so guests can go to the sports book and watch the game there if they are that concerned.

Chef Luciano Sautto
Chef Luciano Sautto – note the gorgeous tile behind him. To the left with the small tiles is the pizza oven.

Chef Luciano Sautto helms the kitchen and his brother Enrico is the Maitre D’. Both gents are charming and the food we were treated to was excellent with only small missteps. I loved the nontraditional arancini filled with gooey cheese. Pastas were perfectly cooked and sauces clung to them beautifully. The Bolognese was wonderful and for a change you could actually taste the wine that was in it. Garnishes were both lovely and tasty. Fried basil, fried sage, edible flowers and large shavings of parmigiana all worked together to finish dishes beautifully. My two favorite dishes were the Veal Saltimbocca and the Fettuccini a la Vodka both in preparations I have never had before.

Ricotta stuffed squash blossoms
Ricotta stuffed squash blossoms
While traditional arancini has a small bit of meat in the center, these were loaded with gooey cheese!
While traditional arancini has a small bit of meat in the center, these were loaded with gooey cheese!
Pappardelle with Bolognese
Pappardelle with Bolognese
Lovely garnishes made this a stunner to look at!
Lovely garnishes made this a stunner to look at!

The fettuccini was absolutely perfect!  The dish is finished tableside in a hollowed Parmigiano Reggiano wheel. It was dinner and show, expertly performed and delivered by Enrico.

Enrico prepares the fettuccini in the hollowed out Parmigiano Reggiano wheel.
Enrico prepares the fettuccini in the hollowed out Parmigiano Reggiano wheel.

The veal is a marvel! Take the “ribeye” of the veal and make a tomahawk steak with it. Then pound it thin into a plate sized cutlet. Do the same with another boneless “ribeye”. Weld them together with fontina and prosciutto and then bread and pan fry. It was so good that I asked them to wrap the leftovers to bring home to Hubby John. This dish is plenty for 2 people to share as an entrée with a pasta dish and a side.

My fave dish of the night - Veal Saltimbocca
My fave dish of the night – Veal Saltimbocca

The few missteps were not significant and two COULD be attributed to the dishes being held for service. The Albacore Crudo was a bit acidic for me. There was so much bite that I couldn’t really taste the fish. Lynn disagreed with me. The Gnocchi were the biggest disappointment of the evening. They were gummy, sticky and a bit chewy. Not the light, fluffy pasta pillows they should have been. I can attribute this to overworking the dough, or being cooked and held for service. Whatever the reason, Lynn’s first comment was “LeAnne, yours are better.” The sauce however, was spot on with just enough sweetness to acid ratio. The final misstep was the Grilled Snapper. The piece we had was overcooked and a little dry, but again, this could be a service issue and may be worth another go.

I preferred this fish dish to the crudo. Much more balanced with Asian pears and pignoli nuts for crunch
Hamachi Tartare – I preferred this fish dish to the crudo. Much more balanced with Asian pears and pignoli nuts for crunch.
Gnocchi Sorrentino
Gnocchi Sorrentino
Gorgeous in presentation, but slightly overcooked, the flavors were good enough to give it a second try.
Gorgeous in presentation, but slightly overcooked, the flavors were good enough to give it a second try.

Overall I was thoroughly pleased with my experience there and I look forward to going back. Rest assured, being off the Strip, the prices are more reasonable for some top quality food. There was a lot on the menu that intrigued me, like the whole salt roasted Branzino and some of the salads. I must return. That is all.

 

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