We have been fortunate to have experienced Chef
Carla Pellegrino’s culinary artistry for many years and were very excited to
visit her new venue Bratalian Neapolitan Cantina by Carla Pellegrino in
Henderson just outside of Las Vegas . Carla began cooking at the age of 10 and
never looked back. She attended the French Culinary Institute and graduated in
the top of her class and her star began to rise. Her dream became a reality when
Carla led the culinary team as the executive chef to open Rao’s Las Vegas.
She took ten of the original recipes from the legendary East Harlem’s
Italian restaurant, added her own traditional North Italian cuisine and built a
high volume menu concept keeping in mind quality of ingredients and consistency
and at the same time translating the family style operated by Rao’s family at
its ten table restaurant since 1886. She finally brings all of her experience in
and out of the kitchen to her own restaurant and we could not wait to see what
she had in store for us.
Arriving at Bratalian we
walked into her quaint cantina complete with “laundry” hanging from the ceiling
and aromas of the Italian countryside. GM Walter Cantina greeted us along with
Carla and we headed off for a tour of her kitchen. Hard at work was Carla’s
Sister Chef Alessandra Maderia.
She has quite a culinary
background herself! Starting as Garde Manager at Baldoria restaurant, owned by
the same family that owns the legendary Rao’s restaurant she worked her way up
to executive chef. She was always working side by side with her sister Carla at
culinary events and cooking shows such as the Today show and as Sous chef
working with Carla for the Rao’s restaurant group at culinary events such as The
James Beard House in 2007, 2008 and March 21st 2009; and others like Degustibus
at Macy’s and cooking demos at William & Sonoma at Columbus Circle, NYC.
Alessandra as been by Carla’s side for years and now she is once again teamed up
with her sister at Bratalian.
Carla seated us and we got our palates ready to see what Chef Carla and her sister have created.
|ZUPPA DI COZZE|
ZUPPA DI COZZE
& VONGOLE :
P.E.I clams in white wine and garlic
When this dish came to our table, aromas of creamy garlic
jumped out at us. The Clams were cooked to perfection with every Clam opening to
revel a juicy mouth-watering treat. Sitting in Carla’s white wine and garlic
broth is probably the best we have had
Traditional Beef, Veal and pork
meatballs served in Fresh Tomatoes & Basil
This dish caught our eye right way. Meatballs , yes Meatballs ! We have had Carla’s Meatballs in the past and knew, with her previous experience at RAOs they would be fabulous and they were. Beef , Veal and Pork combined to make meatballs that are so large they could be a meal by themselves. This dish alone is worth coming back for .
|SPAGHETTI AL’AGLIO, OLIO &|
OLIO & PEPPEROCINO –
Spaghetti noodles in Olive Oil,
Thinly Sliced Garlic and Crushed Red Pepper sauce
A classic dish with flavours of EVOO , Garlic and crushed red peppers that show off
layers of light flavours that we used as a lead in to our larger dishes that
were on the way.
LASAGNA DELLA NONNA
Classic Italian Lasagna, oven cooked layered Fresh pasta
sheets, Parmesan cheese, Bolognese and Béchamel
With Chef Carla tableside with this dish we got quite an education on classic Italian Cuisine. With aromas of nutmeg in the sauce. Chef explained that this is traditional Lasagna with no meat fillings. Layers of pasta sheets with Parmesan cheese , Bolognese and the Bechamel sauce make this a very light dish that most Americans may have never experienced. The nutmeg is a classic Chef Carla touch to the Bechamel sauce that combine with the Lasagna that we will remember for quite a long time.
Thinly pounded veal, sage and
Parma prosciutto topped with melted mozzarella cheese, served with mashed
When we visit any Italian Restaurant for the first time we usually order a veal dish. In our opinion veal is not that easy to prepare properly. The veal in this dish was perfectly pounded into thin pieces and seasoned nicely with sage , prosciutto and creamy mozzarella . The plated dish with the mashed potatoes was rustic and earthy, just like we would expect from a cantina in the country,
TORTA DI MELE
Classic Fresh Apples pie, served with Caramel
What a better way to finish a delicious experience with a great Chef than dessert. This Torta Di Mele was a work of art on the plate and even better with a cappuccino to put an end to 3 ½ hours of some of the best simple , classic , Italian fare we have
The dishes we enjoyed show
why Chef Carla Pellegrino has the stellar reputation she has in and out of the
kitchen. Her passion and dedication can be seen and felt throughout her new
venue of Bratalian and judging from the SRO crowd to dine, she has yet another
restaurant that will garner a great reputation and why not ? Her name is on this