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Zeffirino

By R. H. Duke

Savor fine authentic Italian cuisine at Zeffirino overlooking the Grand Canal at The Venetian Hotel, a branch of the original Zeffirino in Genoa, Italy by world acclaimed Chef Gian Paolo Belloni. Celebrities who have dined at the original Zeffirino include opera singer Luciano Pavarotti, boxer Muhammad Ali, entertainer Liza Minelli, actors Sophia Loren, Roger Moore, Vitorio Gassman, Charles Aznavour, the late Frank Sinatra, and countless others. And all guest are treated as celebrities.

Chef Belloni’s most gratifying moment was cooking for Pope John Paul II. Undoubtedly without precedence, the Supreme Pontiff cancelled his itinerary, and audience, to enjoy his meal and talk with the chef, who created a Ravioli dish - Raviolini del Papa - in honor of Pope John Paul II.

Executive Chef Francesco Schintu, a native of Sardinia and graduate of the renowned Culinary Academy of “Santa Maria”, worked at the renowned Villa Manuelina of Recco Genova where he met Chef Belloni. He was impressed with Schintu’s abilities, earning him the distinction of being Belloni’s “right hand man”.

Rino Cola, the restaurant’s affable public relations director studied cooking in Switzerland where he began his lifelong romance with cuisines of the world. His passion led him to a culinary career in Italy and the famous Villa D’Este restaurant. Cola smiles warmly with pride and passion in saying Zeffirino’ is his “latest culinary affair” and describes the restaurant as an “ Italian Villa”.

The Renaissance Italian décor is reminiscent of a Venetian Villa in every respect, creating warm and elegant ambience simulating a European dining experience. Giuliano Berto, Co-owner/Operational Officer, adds, “ When you come to Zeffirino, you feel relaxed, at ease, untroubled…aficionados of fine dining know quality and sophistication...we are here to do something special for our patrons”.

Co-owner/General Manager Jerry Mannino, of a prominent New York restaurant family, has the equivalence of decades of experience as a restaurateur, despite his young age. Mannino, who believes in operating restaurants like a family says, “it is like dining in your own home. Our guests have memorable experiences...and will come back”.

The service is “a la Italiana” at it’s best, as most of the wait staff is from Italy, bringing the charm, warmth, and caring service associated with European dining. This experience is enhanced with the romantic music of strolling musician Sasha Semenoff, who has become well known to many Las Vegans and visitors over the years.

Enjoy Las Vegas’ only unique Italian style brunch served every Sunday featuring a wide variety of culinary specialties prepared from authentic imported ingredients. Choose from all you can drink Bloody Mary, Mimosa, Bellini, or the finest Italian sparkling  “Champanoise Methode” - Ca De Santi Brut - the choice at Warner Brothers Studios’ gala party filming of the Titanic, both in Italy and the U.S.; Ricca Donna Presidents Brut is also served.

The brunch can best be described as “tante belle cose” …many beautiful things. You will enjoy fresh steamed lobster, shrimp and clams. Appetizers that tantalize the palate include Mozzarella Caprese, Proscuitto and Melon, Grilled Vegtables, Involtini di Proscuitto (stuffed proscuitto rolls), Vitello Tonnato (veal in tuna mayonnaise sauce), Salmone Al Forno (baked salmon). Entrees that follow include Ravioli in pink sauce, Vitello e Funghi (veal and mushrooms), Pesce Del Giorno (fresh fish catch of the day), Filetto de Manzo (Roasted Filet), and Aragosta (1/2 fresh lobster). An array of international imported cheeses are the best available. Experience the pastries, all made on premises, and there is something for everyone. Freshly made breads include a wonderful ciabatta, and the best schiacciata (thin wafer) I have tasted.

The brunch is great for group functions, especially wedding parties…where everyone can enjoy fine cuisine and Italian sparkling “Champanoise Methode”, romantic ambiance, and European style service…all for only $45.00 per person plus tax and gratuity. For assistance in planning your group event, and special seating overlooking the Grand Canal, phone Rino Cola, or Cecelia Liotine, at (702) 414-1065.

Nightly dinner favorites include appetizers such as Carpaccio di Manzo Alla Moda (sliced raw beef with arugula, parmesean cheese, and mushroms drizzled with truffle oil) and Zuppetta Del Doge Di Venezia (pan seared sea scallops with asparagus, king crab and lobster in tomato broth). An outstanding pasta dish includes Paffutelli Zefferino (delicious homemade pasta filled with veal and parmesean cheese in pesto cream sauce). Seafood aficionados will delight over the Filetto di Branzino alla Catalana (pan seared Chilean Sea Bass, white wine, lobster meat, fresh tomato, basil and touch of cream). And for a delectable dessert, it’s the Sfogliata Zeffirino (thin waffles on light vanilla/orange custard).

To compliment your dinner, select from an outstanding imported wine list.  The Italian passion for wine can be summarized as, “Un Pranzo Senza Vino, e’ Come un cuore Senza Amore” - A meal without wine is like a heart without love.

“Le nostre porte sono sempre aperte” (Our door is always open). “Salute and Buon Appetito. Zeffirino is located at The Venetian. Sunday brunch served 10:00 AM - 2:30 PM; Lunch daily 11:30 AM-4:00 PM; Dinner nightly 4:00 P.M.-Midnight. For reservations Phone (702) 414-3500.

R.H. Duke is a former restaurateur and a Las Vegas restaurant critic who says “Fine Dining is one of Life’s Greatest Pleasures!”
 


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