Golden Nugget proves to have great authentic Italian food


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Golden Nugget Grotto serves authentic italian food.

The Golden Nugget, located in Atlantic City, has an open layout which provides for an open atmosphere. From the table view, one can see the flashing lights of people betting away their money and playing on slot machines. One can even hear the occasional cheers from those who are winning. The view wouldn’t make you think you are getting the authentic Italian cuisine meal that you are.

To start out the night, head Chef Carmine Favuzzi brought out an antipasti platter and bruschetta. The antipasti platter had a wonderful variety of cheeses, and meats such as prosciutto and sopressata. The platter also contained olives and artichokes which were all imported from Italy. Born in Molfetta, Italy, Chef Carmine loves to import things from his home country. Overall, the platter was delicious; the olives were meaty, the artichokes were savory and the meats and cheeses went along great on the scrumptious bread which was crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. In addition, the bruschetta complimented the antipasti. The fresh tomatoes went great with the salt of the meats and olives.

A delicious antipasti platter made with a variety of cheeses and meats.
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A delicious antipasti platter made with a variety of cheeses and meats.

Next, Chef Carmine brought out the Caprese salad. The Caprese salad had fresh beefsteak tomatoes which were both red and yellow, fresh mozzarella, basil, extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar. It wasn’t your usual grocery store balsamic vinegar though, it was imported from Italy and tasted thick and flavorful. Although it was delicious and the ingredients went together in harmony, during the summer, fresh Jersey tomatoes would bring this platter to an even higher level. Chef Carmine said he also loves the local produce that is available to him and tries to incorporate Jersey tomatoes into his menu.

After the Caprese salad, I enjoyed Arancini di Siciliani. I have had a lot of arancini balls in my life but I have never had any that were stuffed with prosciutto and fontina, along with the perfectly cooked risotto. Often times, restaurants overcook their arancini, leaving you with a perfectly cooked outside but a dry inside. These arancini, however, had a crispy outside and a moist inside. The arancini were paired perfectly with a Rosa sauce that brought tanginess to the dish.

A Arancini di Siciliani filled with prosciutto and fontina.

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After the great assortment of appetizers, I was privileged enough to taste two delicious pasta dishes. The first, which was one of my two favorite dishes all night, was the Borsa Quattro Formaggi. These are four cheese beggar’s purses which are little pockets filled with different cheeses. They were cooked in veal stock, which brought a great savory flavor to the pasta. In addition, the pasta had a port wine demi-glace, sage cream and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. It was then topped with crispy pancetta, which brought the whole dish together. The other pasta dishes, Cavatelli con Salsiccia, had crumbled Italian sausage and spicy garlic which gave it a kick, but the pine nuts mellowed it out. The bitterness of the Swiss chard really kept the spice from overpowering the dish and allowed you to enjoy the white wine sauce.

For the main entrees, I had Chicken Scapariello and Pesce da Calabrese. The chicken breast still had its skin on and it was topped with Italian sausage, cherry peppers, onions, pepperoncini and fingerling potatoes. It then had a vinegar reduction, which was very acidic, but the butter sauce and potatoes balanced out the acid.

The Pece da Calabrese was my other favorite dish. The grouper was fresh, pan seared and topped with Calabrese sausage, white wine-garlic sauce and artichokes. The grouper was coated in panko bread crumbs, which gave a perfect crunch to the grouper, and really added some great texture. It was all then served over a perfectly cooked parmesan risotto.

For dessert, I had a tiramisu. I found that the tiramisu had too much chocolate and lacked a taste of coffee. But, the lady fingers were delicious; they were soaked in Tia Maria, and had rich layers of mascarpone zabaglione, cocoa powder and powdered sugar. The dessert was rich, creamy and smooth; a perfect end to a fantastic meal.

In Chef Carmine’s meals, he is committed to simple techniques, fresh ingredients and food coming from the heart. He wants to give his customers “the ultimate dining experience,” with food that is “home style and the way [he] learned.”

When he makes a new recipe, he always looks for quality ingredients first. He often imports from Italy but he also enjoys fish and produce from the local market. He loves to be creative and always gets excited when he comes across a new ingredient. Grotto always has a daily special. For Chef Carmine, “cooking is amazing” and he describes it as a “universe you can never see the end [too].”

With Chef Carmine’s talent, passion for cooking, and traditional Italian cooking, I am sure there will never be an end to the great food coming from Golden Nugget’s Grotto.

Disclosure Statement: Although I did not pay for the meal, all opinions are my own.