Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Pellegrino and Straci Familes provide a Master Series Dinner at RAOs for Vegas UNCORK'D that was impressive

The fourth Vegas UNCORK'D continued with its tradition of unmatched events over four days of " Foodie" heaven in Las Vegas .

The Master Series dinners held all over the famed Las Vegas strip provided guests with some real "Star " quality.With a choice of Masters Series Dinners at Restaurant Guy Savoy , Bradley Ogden , Bobby Flay and RAOs there was no way anyone could go wrong.

With all of those choices we stopped in at RAOs in Caesars Palace and enjoyed a multi-course dinner featuring Chef Carla and her Southern Neapolitan dishes served family style. Bon Appetit Restaurant Editor Andrew Knowlton hosted this wonderful evening with two legendary families

The Pellegrino and Straci families need no introduction. Ron Straci, co-owner of Rao’s, remembers serving as an informal waiter in 1947 at the age of twelve during the Feast Of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. During the feast, Rao’s closed its kitchen so as not to compete with the sidewalk stands set up during the holiday.
“I was allowed to don the famous white apron the uncles wore and help serve our customers.”

"Having spent every Sunday dinner I could remember with “Mama Jake,” as my grandmother Francesca was called by her children and grandchildren, Rao’s Bar and Grill, next door to my grandmother’s, seemed like such a wonderful haven of good friends, fast smiles, and wonderful smells. I can still remember the smell and taste of the sauce and meatballs that Mama Jake would make for our family. She would make enough to feed the family and the customers at the restaurant Uncle Lou reminded me of Clifton Webb; Uncle Vincent was casual, but polished. I remember the cars, usually convertibles and mostly black Cadillacs. I remember the dogs, usually large and black, always secondhand. Strays found a home at Rao’s, always wondering in and out of the restaurant. Only the passage of time has made me an owner, but the fond memories of family, food and friends live through our line of food products.”

When the family decided to expand the Rao’s concept to Caesars Palace Las Vegas in 2006, Carla Pellegrino was the natural choice to head up the kitchen. With Frank Jr. managing the front of the house, Carla has created inimitable classic Rao’s dishes, and some new favorites, as well.

Carla has made many guest appearances, including cooking on the “Today” show (NBC), the Food Network, and has been a favorite at the acclaimed DeGustibus Cooking School in New York City and various Williams-Sonoma stores. She is an author as well having contributed to six cookbooks, including Meat and Potatoes, The New York Restaurant Cookbook: Recipes from the Dining Capital of the World, and Rao’s Recipes from the Neighborhood.

Arriving at RAOs we were greeted by non-other than Frank Sr himself and were escorted to the RAOs patio over looking Caesars "Garden of the Gods " pool for some pre dinner cocktails. Shorty after our cocktails were winding down we joined the other guests in the main dining room and waited with great anticipation of what Chef Carla and her staff would come up with. Having eaten at RAOs many times in the past we knew were in for an incredible culinary journey though southern Italy.

RAOs Vegas UNCORK'D Master Series Dinner Menu


Calamari alla Sarda
Fresh Calamari stewed with Gaeta Olives, Fresh Tomatoes , Capers and White Wine

2008 Venica Sauvignon Blanc " Ronco Del Cero "

Insalata Capricciosa
Frisee Lettuce , Red Endive , Juliene Carrots , Tear Drop Tomatoes , Fennel and Shaved Parmesan Cheese with Dijon Mustard.

2008 Venica Sauvignon Blanc " Ronco Del Cero "


Risotto agli Scampi

Langoustine Risotto

Cappelletti con Prosciutto e Radicchio

Mini Raviolis made with Rabiolla
Riocotta and Parmesan Cheeses,
Parma Prosciutto , Radicchio Cream

Rao's Meatballs
Traditional Veal , Beef and Pork Meatballs

2007 Raimondi Valopolicella Classico " Santa Lena "


Dentice alla Livornese

Pan Seared Red Snapper over Sauteed Spinach ,
Topped with
a Tomato , Caper Berry and Gaeta Olive Sauce

Arrosto di Vitello Tartufato

Roasted Veal Stuffed with Pancetta and Burgundy Truffles

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes , Sauteed Fava Beans

2007 Campo Al Mare Vermentino

2006 Malvira Langhe Nebbiolo


Panna Cotta con Salsa alla Nociola
Baked Cream with Hazelnut Salsa
Macedonia di Frutta Con Gelato
Italian Style Pinot Grigio Marinated Fruit Salad ,
Vanilla Gelato

2009 La Spinetta Moscato d' Asti " Biancospino "

The Masters Series Dinners at the Vegas UNCORK'D venues provide guests the rare opportunity to enjoy signature dishes and interact with renowned Chefs. This is just one of the aspects that Bon Appetit brings to "the table " with its Vegas UNCORK'D events. No matter which dinner , luncheon or other event the guest may choose to attend. You can be assured it will be world class. We know our dinner at RAOs was just that.

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