Veteran Las Vegas restaurateur Gino Ferraro has learned a thing or two during the past 25 years about what makes a restaurant a success.
Attention to detail. Excellent food and service. Great ambience. And, most of all, never taking lightly the bond that forms between a restaurateur and his guests.
"People, over the years, have learned to trust us," explains Ferraro, whose latest creation, Ferraro's Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar, opened in December at 4480 Paradise Road.
Ferraro describes his latest endeavor as "more upscale, more upbeat" than the "old Vegas"-style vibe some might recall from his family's previous restaurants.
"We get people from all ages here," Ferraro says, who dine in an atmosphere he describes as sort of sophisticated Tuscan.
Ferraro's seats about 280 indoors and another 80 on the patio. A bar and lounge area features TVs that, Ferraro says, soon will play classic Italian movies -- think Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni -- each evening, making for a comfortable, but fun, ambience.
Longtime Ferraro's customers will recognize many menu items, including the signature osso buco ($39) that, Ferraro says, has been offered in his family's restaurants "for 20-some years."
Also offered are a selection of made-daily pastas, veal and lamb chops, pizzette (small pizzas), panini, a roster of classic fish and fowl entrees and selections from an extensive wine cellar.
For those seeking a lighter repast, Ferraro's offers a selection of antipastini -- think, Ferraro says, of Italian tapas -- priced mostly at $6 to $12 and including trippa satriano, or tripe in spicy tomato sauce ($10).
Ferraro's offers a luncheon menu (served Mondays through Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.), a dinner menu (served daily from 5 to 11 p.m.) and a late-night menu (served daily from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.), as well as a daily happy hour. The restaurant opens Mondays through Fridays at 11:30 a.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 4 p.m. Reservations are recommended.
Antipastini: Polpette del Nonno (homemade meatballs), $6; arancini al tartufo (fried rice balls with essence of truffles), $8; burrata al tartufo (fresh mozzarella with summer truffles and grilled crostini), $11
Salads: Cappuccina con Gorgonzola, $10; Insalata Mimmo (heirloom tomatoes, avocado, red onion, mozzarella with balsamic vinaigrette), $10
Entrees: Costolette d'Agnello (Colorado lamb chops), $39; coniglio brasato (braised rabbit with polenta and oven-roasted mushrooms), $26
Pizzette and pasta: Salsiccia (mozzarella, house-made sausage, fennel and pine nuts), $13; bucatini amatriciana (pasta with guanciale, onion, red wine vinegar, parmigiano reggiano and red pepper flakes), $19; gnocchi Gorgonzola and rucola, $19
Desserts: Chocolate crepes with mascarpone filling, cannoli, tiramisu ($7.50 each)
-- JOHN PRZYBYS