FiAMMA Trattoria and Bar blends the contemporary chic of its New York origin with the elegant simplicity of Chef Carlos Buscaglia’s Italian menu to create an experience that is both sophisticated and approachable. The restaurant’s sleek décor and rustic Italian cuisine work together to impart the warmth and comfort of its fiery namesake. Diners are encouraged to settle in to this contemporary Italian trattoria, one that promises to spark the imagination as well as the appetite.
Acclaimed restaurateur Stephen Hanson enlisted noted architect, Yabu Pushelberg, to translate the New York flavor of the original FiAMMA to its Las Vegas locale within the MGM Grand. The result is a setting as appealing to the eye as Executive Chef Buscaglia’s dishes are to the taste buds. Rich woods and brushed leathers in deep coppers and chocolate browns suggest the smoldering glow of the restaurant’s inspiration. The illuminated granite table tops, deep chairs, and flickering fireplace in the distinctive bar and lounge create an ambience of luxury for sampling from the Wine Spectator award-winning collection. The fiery theme continues in FiAMMA's split-level dining room, where amber lighting, sumptuous leather banquettes, and wood accents convey an atmosphere ripe for lingering.
Upon seating, we are treated to a flute of Prosecco, its crisp, dry fizz preparing our palates with a delightful sense of celebration. The arrival of the Arancine creates a similar stir. Four golden risotto balls line up in single file along the dish, resting in a bright red pomodoro sauce. Biting into the crunchy, fluffy cake reveals a hidden surprise: a Kobe beef stuffing that elevates this rustic Italian staple to sophisticated heights. Made from braised San Marzano tomatoes imported from Italy, the fruity pomodoro sauce adds freshness to the Arancine. Splashes of parmesan crema offer delicious dipping.
The Raviolini appear soon after: plump, flavorful nuggets of pasta and short rib stuffing bathed in a creamy, truffle-flecked sauce, zigzagged by a Barbera wine reduction. The short rib’s meatiness, the subtle sweetness of the red wine, the salty sharpness of the Pecorino cheese, and the truffle’s pungency build on one another to create a bold and pleasing dish. It is rich, hearty, and impossible to resist.
The Branzino departs from the heavier Raviolini with light, bright flavors. Grilled Mediterranean sea bass rests on a colorful panzanella, a traditional Italian bread salad, given a seasonal twist with the introduction of blood orange segments. Crunchy, herb bread croutons accentuate the crispness of the fish skin and contrast well with the buttery texture of the fillet. Although more subdued in richness than the Raviolini, the flavors of the Branzino are no less powerful. A traditional Salmoriglio sauce of garlic, lemon, and olive oil works with the tartness of the blood oranges for a zesty punch.
The Brasato returns the feast to the wintry coziness of the Raviolini, presenting a massive beef short rib braised in Sangiovese, according to Piemontese tradition. The meat is as tender as butter, flaking away to reveal a succulent pinkish center. A pool of creamy potato puree soaks up the short rib juices, while the accompanying roasted root vegetables add sweetness to deepen the flavors. The Brasato showcases Chef Buscaglia’s skill in introducing less familiar Italian culinary traditions with a unique flair that is simple, unpretentious, and deeply enjoyable.
For a sweet conclusion, we are treated to a selection from the dessert menu: the Espresso Chip Gelato and the valrhona chocolate mousse with amarena cherry reduction from the Duo platter. The molded, trapezoidal mousse is accompanied by a generous scoop of chocolate chip-flecked ice cream, enticing us to further indulgence. The deep decadence of the mousse is given a surprising twist by the tartness of the cherry reduction, while the gelato contributes a pleasant coffee-like bitterness for balance.
Whether relaxing fireside with a cocktail in the lounge, feasting with friends at casual round tables, or snuggling up with a loved one and dessert in an intimate booth, diners will have their hearts warmed and their appetites fueled by the memorable FiAMMA Trattoria and Bar.