Michael James reviews NOVE Italiano at the Palms.
Because of our evening plans, our dinner reservations were at 5:00 PM, which explains the seemingly empty restaurant. Rest assured that it did fill up by the time we left. Then again, there was a reason we were there so long (which we’ll get into). There was one minor problem, though; I forgot to photograph the menu. As I type this, the prices on the website are the same as what we paid, but I’ve got a photo of the receipt (below) for reference.
To drink, I had a lovely Widmer Hefeweizen while my wife had a Sangria Rosso.
Vacation notwithstanding, with still trying not to fall into old eating habits, we skipped the appetizer but enjoyed the bread.
Without an appetizer, there was a bit of a wait for the entrees, so we enjoyed the view from NOVE Italiano, located on the 51st floor of the Palms.
The menu was a bit vague about what sides and garnishes accompanied the dishes, so we ordered Death By Potatoes “At Your Own Risk” ($12) as a side.
My wife ordered the Pomegranate Chicken Bake.
Melissa wasn’t particularly impressed with the dish. “It was very pretty,” she said, “but I was expecting some chicken under all of that stuff.”
I went All-Vegas and ordered the Surf and Turf.
I first scooped up some of the potatoes, then started cutting into the lobster. I rolled my eyes in delight as our waiter asked how everything was. My wife demurred, and I stated that it was great. The waiter was still in earshot, however, when I cut into my medium rare steak and found it gray throughout. The entire staff tripped over themselves to attend to the problem. The waiter apologized profusely and took my plate away (I had planned on eating the lobster while they remade my steak). Other staff took my napkin and place settings and replaced with fresh.
A short time later, a different waiter brought out a peace offering, an appetizer portion of the Walnut Tomato Pesto Ravioli.
Upon completion of the ravioli, I mentioned to my wife that I was getting full, as I had eaten some bread, Death By Potatoes “At Your Own Risk,” potatoes from my entree, half a lobster tail and now a portion of ravioli. However, before long, they brought out my replacement entree.
The waiter asked that I cut into the steak, to assure that it was cooked to the proper temperature. When I drew back the knife for the first cut, I thought I heard a moo. No matter, I continued to cut into the meat, and I didn’t have to say a word. The abject horror on the face of the waiter at the sight of my blue steak was enough.
Again, the entree, napkin, and silverware were removed from my table as if to erase a mistake. By this point, my wife was done with her dinner as the restaurant manager came out to apologize and explain that this is not indicative of his restaurant and that he’d like to make it up to us. He offered dessert, but I wasn’t even sure I was hungry enough for my dinner, so I counter-offered with a request that he take off the cost of the potatoes. He even went so far as to also offer a second round of drinks on him. I was very impressed with how they handled the mistake, although to echo a point that he offered to me, an establishment of that repute should never have one meal returned to the kitchen, much less two meals for the same customer.
The third meal came out from the kitchen, and oh, how I wished I had taken a photo. Whoever plated this entree crossed the broccolini over the potatoes, and the presentation looked suspiciously like a skull and crossbones. When my steak did arrive, I again cut into it, but I was pretty sure that I was keeping it whether it was still raw or if they had served me a hockey puck. The truth is that it was closer to medium than medium rare, but it tasted great, and their fawning over me helped keep me in good spirits on Date Night.
True to the manager’s word, he took off the cost of the potatoes as well as the second round of drinks. I want to make clear that the service was absolutely impeccable; if I needed to be in a situation where there were all sorts of problems, I’d want the NOVE Italiano staff to handle it.
The bottom line, though (all groveling by the restaurant staff aside) don’t charge $65 for a lobster and filet of you can’t make a steak properly.
[Photos – Melissa James, Michael James]