Atop the elegant Palms Hotel and Casino, whimsical elegant and seductively stylish NOVE Italiano delivers a sophisticated and hip dining experience. Radiating the bold swagger and modish attitude of a chic Vegas nightclub, the multi-level restaurant acts as a stunning backdrop for NOVE Italino’s sophisticated Italian cuisine. Blending comfort with refinement, a voguish sense of cool with classic traditions, NOVE Italiano is a unique culinary playground well-matched to the glamour and lively scene of its Sin City location.
NOVE Italiano offers a diverse array of dining settings to suit a variety of tastes and moods. Animal print chairs and deep ultramarine light fixtures lend an exotic feel to the main dining room and add cheeky contrast to the expansive cream-colored marble walls and flickering candlelight. Upstairs, a sleek bar offers voyeuristic views of the stylish crowd below and a backdrop of the equally stunning night sky out of the restaurant’s 51st floor-level windows. A semi-outdoor patio dining area blends tradition with trendiness in similar irreverence as the rest of the restaurant: voluptuous womanly-shaped topiaries and window-mounted fireplace features encourage the outdoor feel, while massive black snakeskin banquettes and screens displaying digital prints of artistic masterpieces lend additional opulence and a certain postmodern baroque playfulness to the space.
We begin our Nove feast with a flute of Arneis and the Braised Oysters. Balancing on a bed of pepper, the delicate shells cradle the tender oyster meat mixed with one of two different concoctions: a sweet, zesty tomato basil mixture and a spicy, salty pepperoncini and lemon sauce. Each mixture highlights the oceanic pungency of the oysters, while subtly accentuating different flavor profiles. It is a refreshing and potent start to our meal.
The Hamachi and Foie Gras with Caponata deftly balances richness and delicacy. Generous chunks of yellowtail are sprinkled with decadent tidbits of foie gras and placed meticulously next to vibrant streaks of caponata puree. The potent foie gras and the sweet caponata infuse the creamy fish with decadent depths of flavor. A hint of citrus tartness adds even more complexity to this unique dish.
The Crudo presents a delightfully nuanced twist on this traditional Italian dish. A variety of different raw fish are presented on the plate, their distinctive flavors juxtaposing simply against one another. On the left, a thick slice of tuna is treated to a topping of citrusy tapenade: the briny acidity activates the creamy, cool fish and deepens its flavors. Next, a hamachi slice is presented with a simple sprinkling of greens, allowing the meaty fish to stand out on its own. A white tuna is given a traditional crudo application of citrus and salt, which punctuates its mildness. The salmon, too, is treated similarly: its acidic tartness swirls around the fish's buttery creaminess and accentuates its richness. To conclude, our palate returns to the tuna, this time marinaded in a fennel vinaigrette, its crunchy anise notes tinged with a hint of spice that enlivens the fish and our taste buds in preparation for our next course.
The Scallops with Truffles exhibit an architectural minimalism that belies their hidden flavorful treasure troves. A fried quail egg rests on top of the plump scallop next to a vibrant smear of madeira reduction. The deconstruction of this edible tower reveals its subtle artistry: sandwiched between the delicate halves of the scallop is a bounty of fragrant truffle slices. It is a surprising and unexpectedly complementary pairing, with the scallop's light sweetness infused with the resonant earthiness of the truffles and enriched by the egg. The Hexemer 2006 Riesling’s honeysuckle and candy notes contribute a full-bodied sweetness that supports the heartier flavors of the dish without overpowering its lightness.
The Federal Hill Calamari is served next and brings with it a more casual, relaxed feel. Named for the iconic Italian neighborhood in Providence, Rhode Island, the calamari is infused with the potent flavors of this regional cuisine. Each delicate tendril is lightly fried and dusted with parmesan and pepperoncinis for a distinctive take on this familiar appetizer, blending a quintessential Italian flavor profile with a novel application. Crunchy and soft, buttery and spicy, it proves to be an irresistible snack.
The Burrata brings a welcome freshness to the table. The smoky sweetness of blistered tomatoes mingles with the creamy mozzarella for a new twist on the classic pairing, while a richly pungent pesto of garlic, parsley, basil, and olive oil infuses the mild flavors of the cheese with an herby robustness. A crisp, herbed cracker adds crunch and an unexpected spiciness for additional complexity.
Although the title of our next dish, the Bacon and Eggs, sounds both innocuous and out-of-place in our Italian feast, it confounds all expectations when it arrives to the table. A large raviolo is sprinkled with crisp pancetta nestles in the bottom of a deep bowl. When cut into, the golden yolk of an over-easy egg spills out, coating the raviolo pasta and submerging the pancetta bits in its sticky delectability. Inside, a cushion of ricotta soaks up the rest of the egg and enhances the richness of the dish. Creamy and cured, rich and light, this dish is a revelation, a unanimous favorite, and reason alone for returning to Nove.
Typical of NOVE Italiano’s style, the Veal Nove takes a traditional dish and alters it subtly with novel flavors. A traditional scallopini is presented on the plate: pounded thin, the golden breaded veal cutlet sends up a citrus and herbed aroma into the air. The “Nove” touch to this familiar dish can be seen in the use of prosciutto and arugula that accompanies the veal and deepens the flavors and enhances its meatiness with cured and slightly bitter accents.
Nove’s signature Death by Potatoes is brought as a tasty accessory to the dish: mashed with olive oil, sprinkled with pancetta, baked, and then topped with mascarpone sour cream, these potatoes are certainly not your typical side dish. Impossibly decadent, with a complex layering of flavors and textures, they elevate this simple comfort food to new heights of culinary refinement.
For our sweet finale to our meal, we are served yet another uniquely Nove twist on a traditional Italian dish. The Strawberry Carpaccio transforms the typical savory carpaccio with the introduction of the strawberries’ sweetness and the creamy crème fraiche gelato, while the drizzling of balsamic vinegar over the thin berry slices and a generous dusting of panko breadcrumbs contribute a savory component to the dish and transform all confectionary expectations. The truly inspired addition to this dessert, however, is its expert pairing with its accompanied Vin Santo, a traditional Italian dessert wine, which is produced from the liquid of dried and fermented grapes for a uniquely balanced and full-bodied sweetness. Each sip of the Vin Santo intensifies the flavors of the carpaccio, echoing the berries’ tartness in the back of the palate with exceptional clarity.
As we leave our feast behind and head toward the exit, we are invited to enjoy Moon, the Palm’s chic nightclub that is openly accessible to all Nove diners as part of their dining experience. Unfortunately, too weighed down by our culinary overindulgence, we have to graciously decline and save this added adventure for next time. From beginning to end, a visit to NOVE Italiano is a treat for the senses, and one that reminds diners that dinner should be more than just a means of satisfying basic hunger. Through its impressive cuisine, luscious décor, and full complement of perks and services, dinner at NOVE Italiano above all shows diners just how dinner should be: a divine experience to be savored, enjoyed, and lingered over.