Sirio Ristorante at the Aria Hotel. Seriously.

We went to the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas as a last stop on our tour to visit the restaurants working with my friend Vittorio’s winery, Ca’ del Bosco. I will admit, we were not adequately prepared for the mind-blowing culinary experience that came next.  Chef Vincenzo Scarmiglia, you are a genius.  I am already anticipating my next visit to Sirio.  If you click through to the rest of this post, you’ll see why.

*Be prepared.  This is some seriously gratuitous food porn. (No, grandpa, that’s not what it sounds like).

This was the first dish to arrive, one of three perfect appetizers.  These Kushi Oysters were perfect and plump, topped with a little caviar and a delicate prosecco gelee.  The genius was in the salt-bed presentation.  At first I wondered if I should sprinkle some salt on the oyster, but then when I picked up the first shell I understood.  The salt naturally clings to the bottom of the damp outer shell.  When you put the oyster in your mouth a few pieces of the salt are transported onto your tongue, along with the oyster.  Genius.  Function and Form.

This gorgeous slice of foie gras was served with a beautiful reduction, and a bit of sweet, crumbling, crunch.  The mouth-feel was brilliant- just enough textural contrast to highlight the creamy Foie and an underlying sweetness that just sang with the rich, savory sear on the outside of the meat.

Then this little gem arrived- a perfectly executed Risotto loaded with truffles.  Just look at the photo- I can’t really adequately describe this dish.  Extraordinary.  The tubers simply melted into the hot rice, became coated in the savory rositto.  This is umami.

That’s right.  house-made pork sausage.  House-made tagliatelle.  Porcini mushrooms.  Creamy mascarpone.  Chef, this was just over the top.  I mean, come on!  Buon-i-ss-i-mo.  By the way, also my favorite pairing of the night with Ca’ del Bosco’s Cuvee Prestige.  The crisp bubbles and cool acidity of the wine cut right through all this lovely animal fat.  Did I mention the texture of the pasta.  Da morire.  To die for!

This is the point where I truly lament my lack of photographic skills.  A perfect seared Muscovy duck breast, accompanied by the most delicate piece of John Dory I have ever tasted.  This fish was magical: encased in  crispy pastry threads it was flufffy and pure white, savory and seasoned simply, but perfectly.  The chestnuts and Brussels Sprouts were dreamy as well- a celebration of the autumn season.

Do you see the dazed and happy look on their faces?  

Even in Las Vegas, a veritable culinary mecca, this was truly one of my overall top food experiences.  Sirio is comfortable and charming- it’s also an unsuspecting powerhouse of an Italian restaurant.  The service was delightful and the food was just out of this world.  I love the fact that the owner Mario Maccioni (and Sirio’s son) was on site, personally seeing to his guests and staff.  This kind of pride of ownership really shows in the quality of the experience they’re delivering.

Chef Scarmiglia, you are a true talent.  Grazie.

Chef Vincenzo Scarmiglia has been a Las Vegas fixture for many years, working previously with the Maccioni family at Circo, and at Bartolotta as well.   It’s clear his vision is respected at Sirio, exalted even, and his food is consequently some of the best in the city.    I am excited to see his talents at the center of Sirio’s focus.

After all, it’s all about the food.