In sports, your favorite athlete is likely to change teams at some point during his career, leaving you with the dilemma of whether to stay true to your team or your favorite player? This quandary presented itself to me when Chef Vincenzo Scarmiglia left Sirio at ARIA for FiAMMA Trattoria & Bar at MGM Grand. One bite into Chef Vincenzo’s risotto and I realized that I will always follow my favorite chef and thus, FiAMMA is my new favorite restaurant.
Chef Vincenzo will endear himself to any Italian food aficionado, not only with his pasta that he makes fresh and prepares flawlessly, but also for his love of truffles. If you have never had the chance to visit Italy, you can imagine that the pasta that Chef Vincenzo serves would be similarly prepared with the love and care that he used when he began in Tuscany. The taglatatoni fettuccini with black truffle is the classic pasta that encompasses what you should expect at an Italian restaurant. You not only get a powerful creamy sauce, but the dish itself seemed to be made for the powerful flavor of the shaved black truffles and the pasta itself is thick and robust and lets you know you are eating a handmade pasta.
Your best option at FiAMMA is to have everyone at your table order a pasta dish and share a little of each plate. The short rib that accompanies risotto and is used in ravioli is so soft and tender it nearly melts in your mouth like hot butter, and then it is just loaded with flavor from its long and slow cooking process, making it the perfect focal point of both dishes. As difficult as it is to find a well-prepared risotto, Chef Vincenzo gets it right every time and the ravioli, while spectacular, almost has the show stolen by stunningly tasty black truffle crema and red wine reduction, a rich and powerful combination of flavors. Finally, to make your pasta world complete, you can try the gnocchi. Again, this is another one that too many restaurants get wrong and make people fearful of ordering it. This is not the case at FiAMMA, as the gnocchi is light and fluffy and a joy to eat and allows you to really take in the entire flavor of the Maine lobster, cremini mushroom, leeks and black truffle crema that compose this dish.
FiAMMA has a very well rounded menu and Chef Vincenzo takes pride in the fact that his kitchen is able to produce such high quality sashimi, as evidenced with his salmon sashimi. The salmon is house cured, then cut to a delicate perfection and prepared with lemon olive oil and served with black truffles. The freshness of the salmon is prominent in this dish, but I loved that the salmon itself was not the overpowering flavor as the citrus and olive oil managed to cut the strong salmon taste, It was then complimented nicely with just small shavings of black truffle that gave it a hint of that amazing flavor without overwhelming the salmon itself.
While pasta is the calling card of FiAMMA, don’t miss out on the quality fish such as branzino and pan seared red snapper, or the fabulous pecorino and thyme crusted lamb chop. While that menu is enticing, the future bodes well for FiAMMA as now that Chef Vincenzo has gotten his feet wet, he is preparing to put his own signature on the FiAMMA menu–and you can expect to see veal become more prominent. Chef Vincenzo would like to bring veal back to the Italian dining experience as it is often neglected in American Italian restaurants.
FiAMMA is a stunning restaurant with a brilliant earthiness that offers you different settings depending on what you want your experience to be. You can find great tables perfect for a group of friends, you can sit near the openness of the casino and enjoy the atmosphere, or you can go a little further in the back and have a romantic meal. Whatever your occasion, you can’t help but be impressed by the service that is not only flawless, but comes with an astute knowledge of the menu. At FiAMMA a glass or bottle of wine is almost a must, and Sommelier Caleb Anderson not only is going to recommend a fabulous selection to go with your dinner, but has an innate knowledge of every winery.
You might not know Chef Vincenzo by name because he spends far too much time in his kitchen creating the perfect pasta and exploring new ways to enhance the menu at FiAMMA. But trust me when I say that, after tasting his pasta, will you not only remember him, you will be comparing every other pasta dish the rest of your life to what you had at FiAMMA.
For more information visit FiAMMA