Counter Intelligence: New Carmine’s restaurant ready to open; Project Dinner Table helping others

Photos courtesy Nate Ludens

Dinner Table

The giant, 750-seat, 27,000 square foot Carmine's Italian restaurant, set to open in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace next month, promises its Southern Italian cuisine will be served in “wow-sized” portions. Enough for four to six people at a time!

It’s the famed New York restaurant’s sixth location and appropriately will have six private dining rooms. Michael Ingino has been appointed executive chef of the family-style eatery. He promises the eggplant Parmigiana will be nine inches high; Carmine's meatballs will include six oversized beef or veal meatballs placed on top of the diner’s choice of pasta.

The first Carmine's, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, opened more than 20 years ago and has venues in Times Square, Atlantic City, Washington D.C. and the Bahamas. The Alicart Restaurant Group, Carmine's owners, also operate Virgil’s Real Barbecue, prompting rumors they will bring that here if Carmine's proves the expected success. I know of one other major barbecue restaurant chef eyeing space on the Strip already!

DINNER ON THE GREENS: You’d normally never think of a golf course as the place for a 150-plus person dinner party. But Project Dinner Table set up one long table on the greens at TPC Summerlin for its latest charity fundraiser. Chefs Todd Harrington, Marc Marrone, Sean Kinoshita and Massimiliano Campanari from the Tao Restaurant Group served up the four-course meal with TPC Summerlin sous chef Paka Ferrer providing appetizers.

Money was raised for the First Tee Charity and Shriners Hospitals for Children. The next dinner will be Sept. 21 at Dream Racing at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway with Bellagio chefs Roy Ellamar and Edmund Wong. It will benefit the Ronald McDonald House and the Orion Foundation.

Red Square at Mandalay Bay has an excellent food and drink selection.

CAVIAR DREAMS: In these days and nights of blistering temperatures, the coolest place in town is the vodka vault at Red Square in Mandalay Bay, where the temperature is kept at about five degrees! In fact, the management provides fur coats, gloves and hats to stay warm! The restaurant has six different caviars available from sustainable fisheries. You can spring big bucks for the Connoisseur Trio of beluga, osetra and sevruga from the Caspian Sea, or the way less expensive Domestic Trio of sturgeon, paddlefish and golden white fish. The Red Square caviar treat is Light Group chef Brian Massie’s latest addition to his menu makeover.

QUICK BITES: Celebrity chef Michael Mina will be here Monday for the grand opening of his new Pub 1842 restaurant in MGM Grand – transformed from his former Seablue seafood restaurant. It's been just a 10-month makeover since August of last year. Celebrity chef Bradley Ogden and his son Bryan are winning raves for their new Hops & Harvest relaxed dining venue in Tivoli Village. There are 18 different beers on draft and another 11 by the bottle. All the delicious menu items are from farm to table and Bradley himself is shopping at local farms. The Red Rock Resort's Japanese restaurant Hachi has revamped its menu with seasonal dishes for the summer with colorful playful takes on its Asian signature dishes while retaining traditional favorite staples.


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