As with other Mario Batali restaurants in Las Vegas no expense was spared to make B&B look like an elegant fine dining establishment. There is plenty of dark wood, dim lighting, and wine racks full of some of the finest wine on the strip. Unfortunately, being located in a high-traffic area of the Venetian, near the connector to the Palazzo, means they get a lot of walk-ins. Those walk-ins usually mean drunk, yard-glass consuming tourists in shorts and t-shirts, not the typical clientele of fine-dining restaurants seen in other cities.

During my visit to B&B I got to experience first-hand some of the random drunks that stumble into this restaurant. Two guys were seated next to us who were slurring in broken English, but were able to articulate the occasional “Fuck you, you son of a bitch!” into their conversation. These fine gents sent back a bottle of wine for no reason, complained about everything from the second they sat down, and when they wanted to ask their server something one of the guys got up and chased him down from across the room while shouting, “Excuse me, waiter!” repeatedly at the top of his lungs. Half way through our meal we had to ask to be seated elsewhere because their antics turned from slightly amusing to obnoxious.

Luckily, the food at B&B made up for the ambiance, or lack thereof. Both pasta dishes we ordered were excellent. The beef cheek ravioli was pure buttery, savory, saltiness goodness. The tagliatelle with charred sweet corn and truffles was some of the finest hand-made pasta we’ve had in town.

For entrees, we ordered the duck and brasato al barolo. The duck is prepared two ways and served with cherry agrodolce and bitter greens. Both preparations of the duck were excellent, especially the duck confit which was so rich and tender. The brasato al barolo is a beef short rib that was fork-tender and very flavorful.

For dessert we got the dark chocolate torta — a delicious bitter/sweet offering served with mixed berries. We also tried the house-made mint chocolate chip gelato — smooth, rich and creamy and a perfect way to end the meal. The manager brought over two glasses of a dessert wine that they said would pair perfectly with the dark chocolate torta. They did not disappoint.

Their beer list is limited, but the Sella del Diavolo brown ale that I tried was excellent. Their wines by the glass are reasonably priced, for Vegas standards, and the one red we tried (Maculan) was very good. A single glass of wine is a generous pour, served in a decanter then poured in a glass.

Prices are fairly steep but they do offer locals 20% off. Portions aren’t large, but that’s mainly because your supposed to order 3-4 courses as your dinner. The pace is slow, but our waiter was kind enough to let us know right after being seated and asked us if we had any time constraints. The service was good but not as finely-tuned as other “fancy” restaurants. Although our server seemed to have a lot of tables which would explain why he didn’t stop by too frequently.

So, despite the obnoxious drunks (who happened to walk out without paying half way through their meal) it was a very good experience. Their menus are large and I’d love to go back to try several other dishes.

5 Stars

— Updated below: 1/8/12 —

Stopped by for another meal. This time there were no obnoxious drunks, just more delicious pasta. The Crispy Pork Trotter ($18) with Sorrel Salad and Herb Vinaigrette was like a crab cake made of pork. It had a gamey taste to it. Can’t say it was my favorite dish there. On the other hand, the Capellacci di Zucca ($28) with Almonds and Sage was so amazingly simple and somewhat sweet and nutty. Loved it! The Homemade Orecchiette ($26) with Spicy Lamb Sausage and Rapini was also a hit with it’s rich and savory flavors that had a noticeable, but not overwhelming, bit of heat to it.

For dessert, we started with three cheeses. I don’t even remember what we had. They were forgettable, as was the presentation and lack of accompaniments. The Flourless Chocolate Budino ($14) with Peanut Butter Gelato followed. Another slight disappointment… I was expecting a pudding but got a cake. The flavor was good, as was the gelato, but it wasn’t anything special.

I still love this place, but think Scarpetta might be slightly better.

4.5 Stars

3355 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 266-9977

B & B Ristorante (Venetian) on Urbanspoon