Carmine’s is known for its comically large portions of Italian food favorites, and while those Brobdingnagian plates might be enticing for some, I just don’t understand the fascination with overwhelming amounts of food. Still, I recommend a visit, for an unlikely reason: some of the Valley’s most stellar chicken wings.
The spicy scarpariello wings are a labor of love for chef Michael Ingino. The multistep prep process begins with marinating for at least a day—although he tries to get closer to 36 hours—in an eclectic marinade that includes lemon zest, garlic, rosemary, oregano and olive oil. After frying the wings to order for 15 minutes(!), they’re finished in a sauce similar to the marinade with added white wine, sage, Tabasco flakes and a heart attack-inducing amount of butter. As Ingino puts it, “Butter is love.”
Two-dozen wings per order ($32) are delivered alongside a house-made blue cheese dip combining Danish blue cheese, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce and garlic, served with fennel sticks instead of celery. The thick sauce coating the wings is rich and citrusy, while the creamy sharpness of the dip provides a foil to the heat. You’ll want to sop up every last bit.
Carmine's Forum Shops at Caesars, 702-472-9700. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m.-midnight.