Photo credit: Blake Myers

The yearning for a better life has attracted tens of millions of immigrants to our shores from all over the world. And so, in 1966, that dream resulted in the arrival from Calabria, Italy of twelve-year-old Gino Ferraro, his six siblings and their parents at New York City’s Ellis Island Immigration Inspection Station, and then on to their ultimate destination of Syracuse, New York. His grandmother and aunt had come to Syracuse in the early 1950s, and they and his mother brought with them their “old-world” recipes and cooking skills.

After moving to Las Vegas in 1976, Gino operated several businesses, including a wholesale company and Caffe Ferraro, which was housed in the Aladdin Hotel’s Desert Passage Shops (now Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile Shops).

But his greatest hospitality ambitions centered around his namesake Ferraro’s Restaurant, which he and his wife opened on West Sahara Ave. in 1985, and then relocated to West Flamingo Rd. in 1992. When the recession hit Las Vegas in 2007, many locals dramatically cut back on their restaurant dining, and Gino wisely decided that he could attract much greater volume by moving closer to our large concentration of tourists. 

So in December, 2009 he opened the restaurant’s present location at the corner of Paradise Rd. and Harmon Ave., just minutes from the Strip, and business has been flourishing ever since. The restaurant’s stylish interior attracts an eclectic mix of diners, from casually dressed tourists and locals to dressier clientele sporting the latest designer fashions.

As you’re being shown to your table, you’ll notice that many patrons are enjoying wine with their meals, and there’s a definite reason. The restaurant’s cellar contains some 23,000 bottles and 1900 different labels—a truly staggering total. Sommelier Paolo Uccelliatori is extremely personable, and after ten years of experience at Ferraro’s, his detailed knowledge of their selections is truly encyclopedic.

The immense wine list begins with Discontinued Vintages, Wines by the Glass and Sparkling. There are sections covering U.S. Whites (including Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc), German Whites, French Reds and U.S. Reds (including California Blends, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Petite Verdot and Mourvedre, Pinot Noir and Syrah and Zinfandel.)

The voluminous Italian offerings cover all the country’s wine-growing regions and almost seem to include virtually each and every individual vineyard. Some of the outstanding whites represented are Brachetto, Carricante, Chardonnay, Cortese, Gewurtzraminer, Pecorino, Pino Grigio, Ribolla, Sauvignon Blanc, Trebbiano and Verdicchio.

Just a few of the absolutely huge selection of reds include Barbera, Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo, Barola, Barbaresco, Brunello, Chianti, Montepulciano, Valpolicella, Supertuscans, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Sagrantino and Rare and Unique Varietals. The corkage fee is $50 on all 750 ml bottles.

If you prefer to include food with your wine, the menu is filled with all sorts of delicious choices under the direction of Executive Chef Francesco DiCaudo, who came to Ferraro’s five years ago from the Catania, Sicily area. 

He has prepared both an extensive regular menu and a separate “Specials” menu (much of which actually changes daily, though it also contains a number of frequently-requested customer favorites). 

On the night of our visit, mouth-watering appetizers included Vitella Tonnato—slowly roasted veal with a light tuna, olive oil and capers mousse, peppery croutons and micro lettuce salad; Mozzarella in Carrozza—a Neopolitan fried Bufala Mozzarella sandwich with tomato marmalade and anchovy dressing; and Risotto Aragosta with lobster, seasonal black truffle and mascarpone cheese. And for salad lovers, Ferraro’s version of a Caesar is a unique and delicious presentation.

If you crave meat for your entrée, prime steaks include a 36-ounce Tomahawk; 20-ounce Ribeye; 14-ounce Veal Chop; and one of the house specialties, Osso Buco, a veal shank braised in red wine reduction served with farro. Among the many delicious pasta dishes is Pappardelle Mimmo, long wide pasta with scallops, lobster, asparagus, butter, sage and truffle.

And fish and fowl lovers won’t be disappointed with Grilled Branzino (Mediterranean Seabass); Oven Roasted Mediterranean Dover Sole; or Petto Di Pollo, a seared all-natural chicken breast with dandelion, butternut squash and nduja sauce.

To bring your meal to a sweet close, Ferraro’s offers an extensive dessert selection ranging from the classic Tiramisu to Crepes, Panna Cotta, Cheesecake, Gelato or Sorbet, Italian Cookies and many other delectable choices.

You don’t have to speak Italian to love the delicious blend of “old country” and modern cuisine that Ferraro’s offers. Mangia!