on April 14, 2008
I had always wanted to try a Wolfgang Puck Restaurant; so while in Vegas we booked a reservation at the Trattoria del Lupo. This is one of Wolfgang’s many outposts in Las Vegas; the most famous of which is Spago at Caesar’s. The Trattoria del Lupo is located at Mandalay Bay so was most convenient for us since we were staying at that hotel.Having watched way too many episodes of “Cooking with Wolfgang” on the Food Network, I had come to expect his food to possess a certain California or Fusion style. However, the Trattoria del Lupo is strictly Italian even though it carries Wolfgang’s name over the restaurant sign. I found this to be slightly disappointing since I thought I would be in for something unexpected. The menu is filled with traditional fare that you would expect to see in any upscale Italian restaurant; including Pizza Margherita, Ravioli, and Papparadelle pasta with meat sauce. There was one unusual dish which included a pork chop and pork belly combination glazed with apples. However, most of the menu was unadventurous.Getting past the contents of the menu the actual food that my fiancé and I ordered was pretty good, but slightly overpriced. I had the Capellini “Al Pomodoro Fresco” which arrived with a ton of fresh basil and gorgeous diced tomatoes, but was probably not worth the $20 price tag for pasta and vegetables. My fiancé had the aforementioned pork chop and apple glaze combination which rang in around $40. He said his dinner was excellent making that dish almost worth the extra dollars.We made our reservation for Trattoria del Lupo at opentable.com a few hours before we got hungry for dinner. We had no problem booking this slightly last minute reservation and when we arrived at the restaurant we were surprised to find it mostly empty. There was one other large party there and several people in the bar, but this restaurant wasn’t nearly as busy as the other popular celebrity chef restaurants on the Vegas strip. Perhaps the emptiness reflects my “over-priced” sentiments, but then again it could have just been an off-night.Upon arrival, the host allowed us to pick the type of table we would sit at; either inside the restaurant or outside on the indoor patio. The inside of the restaurant is separated from the outside by large glass doors, so there really isn’t a difference in ambiance since it is all so open. We chose to sit out on the patio and people-watch during our dinner since this restaurant is located on a busy concourse at the Mandalay Bay. White table cloths, formal service, and upscale appetizers and bread courses completed the elegant scene.I would say overall that I enjoyed my dinner at the Trattoria del Lupo though I was disappointed with the prices and lack of creativity in the Wolfgang Puck menu. On our next trip to Vegas, I will probably try Spago instead of coming back to this restaurant as I have a feeling it is more in line with my expectations. However the Trattoria del Lupo is not bad for a quiet dinner at the Mandalay Bay.
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