Monday, February 22, 2016

Lunchtime at Giada in The Cromwell Las Vegas

Giada at The Cromwell Las Vegas

Right in the heart of the Las Vegas strip lies newly remodeled and renamed, The Cromwell Hotel and Casino.  Beautiful and contemporary, this boutique hotel and casino is a classy step above its more garish neighbors.  The Cromwell also plays host to Giada De Laurentiis’ first sin city restaurant simply titled, Giada.

Giada takes up most of the street side second floor with enormous open air windows with views to the busy street life below.  The dining room is light and airy, decorated in creams and whites with pops of red and orange.  In the bar, the television is set to classic films produced by none other than Giada’s father.  Classic, "King Kong" was running during our visit.

Also in the bar, a bartender by the name Gio who made my husband and I the most amazing drinks!  We originally ordered Bloody Marys, but they were out of mix, so we asked him to surprise us. Not only did the drinks taste amazing, but they looked beautiful too.  Mine was frothy and slightly sweet, garnished with a twisted lemon peel, the other was cool and clear topped with a perfect basil leaf.

While at the bar awaiting our table, we noticed quite a few orders of the Sweet Baby Peppers go out.  They smelled amazing, so when we got our table, we wasted no time in ordering ourselves a plate.  Our only mistake was only ordering one.  These sweet mini bell peppers were stuffed with creamy goat cheese, roasted to slightly charred and topped with micro greens and an olive tapenade.  We followed our peppers with a cheese course of rich, decadent mozzarella balls drizzled with a citrus chile pesto.  The sweet and spicy pesto added an explosion of flavor to the cool, mellow cheese.

For the main course, I ordered the Sardinian Gnocchi al Pomodoro; my husband ordered the Lemon Pesto Grilled Cheese with heirloom tomatoes, which came with an arugula salad.  Unfortunately, our main course meals were rather disappointing.  The grilled cheese was a huge greasy mound of floppy bread. He took one bite and said it tasted about as good as it looked.  The arugula salad was just straight arugula and dressing, so it was a bit boring.

I was very disheartened by my gnocchi, as it was not real gnocchi.  Gnocchi is a potato or ricotta and semolina dough pillow when done right.  These were not gnocchi.  These were gnocchi shaped noodles.  I mean, they were pasta rolled like shell pasta.  It did taste good, but because it was not what I wanted or expected, I was still dissatisfied with my lunch.

There were several other tapas style plates I would love to try at Giada.  Next time I go for lunch, I may just order a few of those or a flatbread from the wood fired pizza oven and forgo the traditional meal portions.  I am still interested in catching a dinner there.  The weekend we went was a holiday, so reservations were nonexistent for the last minute diner.  I imagine with some forethought and an off-season visit, dinner tables are easier to come by.