Last year was a special dining occasion for me; 2016 marked a decade of writing about Las Vegas restaurants. After eating so much fantastic food in so many electric environments on and off the Strip, the years start to blur together, but the restaurants don’t. Certain dishes and flavors will forever stand out in my mind.
One of my most memorable meals of 2016 came in a return to Costa di Mare at Wynn Las Vegas—where I experienced the Giro d’Italia tasting menu from chef Mark LoRusso, voted Las Vegas’ best chef last year by the Southern Nevada Hotel Concierge Association. Each dish in the precise sequence seemed to up the ante of bold creativity, from tender cuttlefish over squid ink-splashed polenta to grilled octopus with a bright red pepper sauce. The menu takes a tour of Italy’s coastline, forcing Sardinia’s red mullet, bottarga and mussel-topped risotto to compete with Tuscany’s pappardelle with Chianti-braised shortrib ragu to become your favorite. I couldn’t choose.
After 10 years of eating everything Las Vegas has to offer, I’ve developed an undying appreciation for the talent and diligence required to create all these magnificent meals. While Wynn’s impeccable restaurants have consistently shined on my watch, Costa di Mare is a true rarity, a singular dining experience. Costa di Mare at Wynn, 702-770-3305; daily 5:30-10 p.m.