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DINING COSMO STYLE: Delicious an understatement

March 20, 2012 3:08 AM by Eileen Di Rocco

A friend came into town recently and prodded us to travel to the Strip for dinner at the Cosmopolitan. Being a local (more likely it has to do with our age, but that is not up for discussion), it is not a place we usually want to be on a Saturday night. But, we did want to see our friend and we also enjoy good food, so we overcame our aversion to heavy traffic and headed to the bright lights.

We dined at D.O.C.G., a wine bar named after a category of Italian wine called Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita or the highest level of Italian wine origin. The restaurant offers a casual Italian atmosphere and features pizza, pasta, steaks and chops, in addition to a large selection of Italian wines. While the design is modern, exposed brick and reclaimed wood give it a rustic touch.

We chose the White Bean Soup with escarole and Parmigiano for our appetizer and our entrée was the Branzino (a European fish very similar to seabass) with orange braised fennel, mint and chili (think chopped tomatoes). We shared a side of Rapini with garlic. For dessert (we couldn’t resist) we had tiramisu.

To say it was delicious is an understatement. Everything was cooked to perfection and we savored each bite. The portions were not oversized as is so common in restaurants today, but were quite adequate. However, our friend’s pasta serving seemed a bit skimpy so we shared some of our fish and no one left hungry.

CENT’ANNI! Piero Brogila, Las Vegas’ original celebrity chef, recently celebrated a milestone birthday with his life partner, Peggy Broglia, and friends at Estiatorio Milos at the Cosmopolitan, which is, as far as we know, the only Greek restaurant on the Strip.

The legendary Piero remains a Las Vegas institution with more than a quarter of a century serving some of the best Italian cuisine in town. Piero and Peggy now hold forth at Café Chloe at Buffalo and Flamingo. The simple and elegant eatery is named after their granddaughter.

FORE! We don’t often write about the local golf scene, but the Jack Nicklaus-designed course at Coyote Springs comes highly recommended by friends, despite the long drive – almost an hour – to get there. The area is extremely desolate and may be the most out-of-the-way course in the nation. Developers had hoped to have a mini-city in place around the course sometime this decade, but the housing crash dashed those plans. The course remains a neat getaway spot. Our advice is to check it out. It’s not too pricey for locals, so don’t use that excuse!

THE MADNESS: Statewide our race and sports books did land-office business over the first March Madness four-day weekend. Handle figures are not in, but we are told the number of tickets written was way up, and estimates say wagers may total as much as $100 million. We stopped at a few locals spots during the tournament and it was wall-to-wall people everywhere we went.

Reports are a number of bookmakers resorted to nail biting during the close finish Sunday in the Saint Louis vs. Michigan State contest. Saint Louis lost 65-61 but covered. The books escaped while the players took it on the chin.

Some of the bettors had a lot going for them. We saw a fellow in from Louisville at the South Point who, in addition to all his handicapping tools spread out in front of him, had a series of drawings from his young daughter. The words and pictures wished Daddy good luck and reminded him that if he made a nice score, darling daughter could use an allowance boost. Now that’s a smart girl!

A BRONX TALE, Chazz Palminteri’s one-man-show at the Mirage, finishes up its all too short run this week. Palminteri is brilliant. If you missed it you missed a great show. But, you can still see this fine actor in action if you rent some of his movies. (He’s done 40-plus.) One we especially liked is "Yonkers Joe." It’s a quintessential Vegas flick starring Palminteri and Christine Lahti. We loved it.

See you around town.

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