I’ve got one word for you. Mandilli. OK, full name – Mandilli di Seta. It means silk handkerchiefs (in the Ligurian dialect) and you know how they feel – soft, silky, supple, luxurious. Now imagine folds of pasta with the very same textures that is then generously loved with the most refined basil pesto you’ve ever had. The flavors of aromatic basil and almond gently pull through your spools of tastebuds like luscious, velvety ribbon, all to be enjoyed at The Factory Kitchen inside The Venetian in Las Vegas. While watching Chef Angelo Auriana artfully master the paper thin pasta at his demonstration area, he spoke of the Ligurian pesto and the significance of pine nuts. But he employs almonds in his pesto because he says almonds taste better than the pine nuts that grow here in the U.S. Fair enough, and it reflects his commitment to using fresh, seasonal, and locally sourced ingredients.
While at The Factory Kitchen another must-have is the Focaccia di Recco. Listed as tradiozionale on the menu, it’s a focaccia “envelope” of melty Crescenza cheese. The dough is ever-so thin and slightly crisp but there is a delightful stretch to it, which makes the entire experience an irresistibly tender and sensual taste of harmony.
The protein of the night was porchetta – slow-roasted pork belly, sautéed onions, celery, carrots, fennel, and aromatic herbs. Quite honestly, it’s one of the most delicious I’ve had. Soft and tender, moist and flavorful through and through, but it’s the slight crunchy, savory, salty, fattiness that remind you that this pig was made with love.
Finally, enjoy the cannoli, made from housemade shells filled with a creamy ricotta filling. Choose from orange marmalade or pistachio, but get both. Also ask for a dessert wine for these sweet finishers. The S. Niccolo Vin Santo del Chianti Classico was harmonious, filing the experience with textural and flavorful depth. Seductive, layers of dried apricots, toffee, and caramel (like the wax paper-wrapped ones from See’s Candies), and finally at the very end when things just couldn’t get any better …. lingering flavors of dates and honey! What? Incredible!
The Factory Kitchen is approachable in price for the Las Vegas strip. It highlights the simplicity of traditional Italian recipes with a focus on Northern Italy. And in case you’re wondering about the name The Factory Kitchen, it comes from the street name where the Los Angeles location resides, but the restaurant is pure Italian goodness.