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Back with a vengeance: Carla Pellegrino returns to Vegas from Miami with new tricks

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Chef Carla Pellegrino at Bratalian.
Photo: Mikayla Whitmore

When Carla Pellegrino left Las Vegas in 2013 to open Miami’s Touché Rooftop Lounge and Restaurant, she dove in headfirst. Through tireless effort and a consistent vision, the Italian eatery atop E11EVEN Nightclub—which also featured sushi and tapas—raked in rave reviews. Like her Henderson restaurant Bratalian, it showed that whatever the Brazilian-born chef wants, she works for, then achieves.

After two years at Touché, the Top Chef Season 10 competitor has returned to Las Vegas with a fresh perspective. “I think Florida is such a beautiful place, but it’s a beautiful place for tourists,” Pellegrino says. “There’s no urgency. I think if you live there for a long time, it’s hard … I like Vegas. I have my house, I have Bratalian, I have my family.”

Some of Miami’s exciting, eclectic flavors found their way back to Bratalian with Pellegrino. Having just launched the local trattoria’s debut breakfast menu, she hopes her Latin-inspired comforts like huevos rancheros catch on. “I never saw a breakfast in Miami without that,” she says.

For Restaurant Week, Pellegrino’s proud to be serving not one but two special three-course menus. For breakfast ($20), she wants diners to see how she enjoys her morning meal: “When I go to breakfast, I eat everything.” From brioche French toast with citrus-vanilla custard and strawberries to chicken breast cordon bleu—breaded and stuffed with Swiss cheese and ham, then fried and served over fresh buttermilk and cream waffles—the menu makes good on her promise.

She pulls out all the stops at dinner, too ($40), with her polpette tradizionale, a 6-ounce beef, veal and pork meatball served in tomato-basil sauce, or the cotoletta di maiale in agrodolce, a 14-ounce pan-seared pork chop with sweet and hot cherry peppers.

And Pellegrino has plenty more tricks up her sleeve. “I want to do something modern,” she says, teasing a possible new venture that sounds similar to Touché.

Tags: Dining, Featured
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Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars ...

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