LAVO Restaurant

Crispy Calamari

Kobe Stuffed Rice Balls

Lobster Scampi Style Brick Oven Pizza (Veal Milanese in the background)

Lobster and Asparagus Risotto

Restaurant: LAVO Restaurant
Cuisine: Italian/American
Last visited: August 25, 09
Area: Las Vegas
The Palazzo Hotel & Casino 3325 Las Vegas Blvd
Price Range: $30-501: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 2
Service: 1
Ambiance: 6
Overall: 3
Additional comments:

  • Fine dining
  • Chef Ludo Lefebvre and Chef Ralph Scamardella
  • Creators of TAO nightclub
  • LAVO nightclub upstairs
  • Beautiful set up/decor – food/service unfortunately did NOT match
  • Food is overrated – Mediocre to not good – very salty/poor execution
  • A bit dark – attracts ages 25-35
  • Famous for meatballs
  • Best thing was the complimentary garlic bread
  • Pay for the atmosphere and incredible decor
  • Dinner at 5pm / late night dinner
**Recommendation: If anything, the meatballs…and free garlic bread they serve you in the beginning is really goodI’m pretty disappointed by LAVO because of the poor service we received…and poor food. They claim to be “Italian” but it’s really American Italian. Everything was on the whole quite salty rather than flavourful. It was fresh, but just very poorly executed. It was Italian food done really poorly. The ambiance is fine dining, but the food, menu, and plating is not. How “high end” or “fine dining” can you be when you have 2 feet long pizzas on the menu? When we told our waitress twice that our food was too salty she didn’t even acknowledge it as a concern or do anything about it. Very disappointing. Her recommendations were also the most expensive things on the menu – which we ordered, and everything was still mediocre to not good. She was just really insincere about everything from the moment we sat down, to the moment we ordered and paid the bill. For the price we paid, we felt quite robbed…and some of us still hungry because we couldn’t eat the food.
On the table:
  • Crispy Fried Calamari 2/6
    • Nothing special here. Quite standard from any restaurant. I think the Calamari at Milestones is actually better to be honest. YES the calamari is better at Milestone’s! At least they put care into creating their dipping sauce. The calamari at LAVO wasn’t overcooked or anything, but they were just standard. It comes with this spicy marinara sauce that comes with EVERYTHING else on the menu too. The sauce wasn’t memorable either – quite runny. It tastes like it’s from a jar and to make it “homemade” they squeezed some lemon and mixed in some fresh garlic and parsley.
    • Overpriced at $16USD
  • Kobe Stuffed Rice Balls 4/6
    • This was actually not too bad, maybe the best thing we ordered. It was the size of an XXL grapefruit. It’s massive! I think worth it for $16USD and it’s definitely shareable. It was one of their famous Kobe beef meatballs stuffed with mozzarella cheese and green peas, insulated by a layer of rice and deep fried until golden brown. Then it’s served with I think a ricotta cheese sauce and a huge pool of marinara sauce.
    • It was pretty good, but at this point I was so tired with their marinara sauce they kept putting on everything…and it’s not like it was that good! It came with the garlic bread, the calamari, and now this. The meatball was tender though and the outside is crispy because of the rice, so it really is not bad. But they could have gone easier on the marinara sauce. My rice ball was just sitting in a pool of it and it mad the crisp part of the ball soggy. The plating isn’t very elegant either. It’s just a giant deep fried ball on a plate – they should have served it in 6 smaller meatballs with a side of marinara for dipping and it would have been much more enjoyable. It would have avoided all the problems I had with it.
  • Lobster Scampi Style Brick Oven Pizza 3/6
    • Roasted lobster, fingerling potatoes, garlic oil, and fresh herbs
    • The pizzas are shareable because they’re 2 feet long and served on a wooden plank.
    • The crust was actually done quite well and it was really enjoyable. As good as the crust is they should have took the toppings more to the edges though. We had like at least an inch of crust on each side…the width is about 6 inches.
    • When you’re using such gourmet ingredients you already expect the pizza to be pretty good though. The roasted lobster was quite nice and you can actually see the pieces which I appreciate. It’s cubes of lobster spread over the pizza. Not overcooked or tough either. It was a tad salty rather than flavourful though and they went too heavy on the fresh herbs. The herbs overpowered the other ingredients. They kind of had big leaves on top and they didn’t allow the herbs to wilt so I felt like I was eating raw herbs at times. I think they used basil and oregano, but they used to much.
    • It was what it was, and it was good, but it could have been excellent – should put more time into the recipe. It was one of the better things we ordered. I would only order this if I was to share it though – otherwise $32USD for this pizza is pretty unreasonable.
  • Lobster and AsparagusRisotto 1/6
    • This came with pine nuts and preserved lemons. It was also highly recommended by our server. I have had way better risotto. This was the most disappointing dish. This was risotto done extremely poorly, it wasn’t cooked right at well. The texture was not creamy and they definitely rushed it. It tasted like watery fried rice. I didn’t feel like I was eating risotto at all. It was gummy and mushy and watery all at the same time…how does that even happen?
    • The asparagus wasn’t even cut, they just had 2 inch pieces of asparagus on top…you really shouldn’t have asparagus whole in risotto. It didn’t even look good. It looked like a mess. The lobster wasn’t even good in it – much much better on the pizza, and if anything it should have been better in the risotto because you have more control of the cooking. I almost forgot to mention how salty it was too – we only finished half…for this type of restaurant the risotto was a major fail. Poor in presentation, flavour, texture – everything.
  • Spaghetti with Kobe Meatballs 2/6
    • The waitress highly recommended this dish and said it would be “the best spaghetti and meatballs we would ever have in our lives”…BOLD statement. AND she was WRONG.
    • I gave it a 2/6 and this is basically only for the meatballs. The meatballs are pretty decent there, but it wasn’t THE BEST EVER. They are tender and they’re pretty big as well. The spaghetti part was really mediocre though and again too salty. The spaghetti was lightly coated in the marinara sauce which is how its served in Italy…but the marinara sauce is just so blah. I feel like the restaurant thinks it;s really good too otherwise they wouldn’t pour it over everything. Just a heads up this is not your traditional spaghetti and meatballs, so don’t expect “grandma’s recipe” or anything…this is on the lighter side. The meatballs are the hearty part of it, but they are tasty.
  • Veal Milanese 2/6
    • This is a pretty big portion of veal. The veal itself isn’t too bad, the quality is there and it wasn’t gamey or anything. It’s pounded pretty thin (maybe even too thin) and coated with a fresh breadcrumb coating. The coating was thicker than the veal though, which isn’t good. They also deep fried it a bit too long – it was less golden brown and more just brown. It’s served with tomatoes and arugula salad – which was very standard.
    • For the price you pay, you can’t get away with serving subpar food. The veal wasn’t dry or anything, but it didn’t have a sauce either – so eating a lot of it can start to taste dry. It was cooked ok, but just not very flavourful or anything. They could have done more with the flavours because it felt like I was eating it at someone’s house who makes pretty good veal and not at a fine dining type of restaurant.
  • Grilled Tuna Roasted Artichokes 2/6
    • Seared Yellow Fin tuna, oven roasted tomatoes, lemon vinaigrette
    • This was alright. For me, it was a bit of a rip off. The plating was really weak too especially for an entree. It looked quite small. The lemon vinaigrette didn’t stand out to me and nothing about the dish is memorable…therefore it was only ok.
  • Trimmings – Grilled Asparagus 2/6
    • $10USD – and it was really small! This was the biggest rip off. It’s just roasted asparagus. Way overpriced and such a small portion.


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