By Michele Polci, CPCE, CMP & Lisa Lynn Backus CMP, CPCE
We could not wait to try Giada! Our busy schedules led us to lunch.
Giada has a real sense of arrival. As you transcend up the escalator to the second floor of the Cromwell, Giada’s staff greets you.
First captivated by the display cases that housed the elements of the antipasti, this area serves as a garde manger show kitchen. You will love looking at the ingredients and displays of Italian scrumptiousness. As we were escorted to our table we walked by the pizza ovens that were also used to bake off the bread that is presented at the table. We spotted fresh bread just taken out of the oven and skillfully basted with olive oil by a brush made of rosemary sprigs. Yes, we stopped to take notice and were greeted with a smile from the chef. Viewing the food was love at first sight and we hadn’t eaten a bite yet.
We sampled the best of the antipasto; a few of the highlights for us both were the 36-month aged Parmigiano-Reggiano served with wild-sage honey and the Pecorino Tartufo with apricot preserves. Caponata was touched lightly with Balsamic and toasted pinenuts, The Coppa was perfection and the housemade Fig Mostarda served as a great balance. For one of us the hidden gems were whole cherries that had been marinating in Rosso vinegar.
The salad selections at Giada are delightful. Both of us had our favorites! For one of us, the Waldorf Panzanella, with raisin walnut bread, spinach, basil, celery, red onion, blue cheese and roasted shallot vinaigrette hit the spot! For the other, the Chopped Tricolore with prosciutto San Danielle, Tuscan kale, endive, radicchio, dates, walnuts and Gorgonzola dolce did the trick. We tried to restrain ourselves from finishing them both off – they were that good! We did, however, have them wrapped up and ate them for dinner that night.
The pizza offerings are both traditional and innovative. Among the latter, the Carbonara had the perfect textures, with crispy pancetta, smoothly-melted fontina and gruyère, and the sunny-side-up egg resting atop it all was precision.
We shared a Venetian Panino and a Lobster Roll. The sandwiches were served alongside a Zucchini Scapecce, which was light and crunchy with just the right amount of salt and hint of lemon.
Of course we saved room for dessert. We had to. The lemon ricotta cookies were something we wanted a baker’s dozen of!
As we sat there, the same words come to mind about the restaurant and the food. Elegant, beautiful, refined, bright, sophisticated … you could not be mistaken that it was all Giada! The pop artwork of herself, her grandfather and nephew provided a feeling of family, as did the movie posters. We knew the restaurant was inspired by her home and that she has poured her heart and soul into every aspect, but it was the attention to detail down in branding that made the complete experience at Giada magnificent! This was presented in the cocoa powder “G” on our tiramisu, personalized napkins, plates and the chocolate sauce writing of “Giada” swirled across an oval plate of Zeppoles.
We would be remiss not to mention the floor-to-ceiling windows, as big as Giada’s smile, that overlook the Strip, Caesars Place and the Bellagio fountains. The interactive photo booth was a surprise happy ending and allowed us to enjoy our inner child.
The light fixtures that hang overhead in the dining room have a quote from Ms. De Laurentiis herself: “I eat a little of everything, but not a lot of anything.” Perhaps new words to live by, or at least that’s what she said!