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September 1, 2014

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Opening-night fun at Giada: TV star chef’s first restaurant is a big winner at the Cromwell

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Steve Marcus

Celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis waves from the red carpet as she arrives during the VIP grand opening of Giada, the first Giada De Laurentiis restaurant, on Monday, June 2, 2014, in the Cromwell.

Giada VIP Grand Opening at Cromwell

Celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis waves from the red carpet as she arrives during the VIP grand opening of Giada, the first Giada De Laurentiis restaurant, on Monday, June 2, 2014, in the Cromwell. Launch slideshow »

Giada pre-opening party at Cromwell

The verdict is in on the Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis’ beautiful new restaurant Giada at the just-opened Cromwell boutique hotel at center Strip.

I was among the first diners Tuesday night, and I joined in the raves for the food, presentation, service and the venue’s charming ambiance. It’s a big winner in every sense of the word.

Here’s a video posted on YouTube from Monday night’s VIP pre-opening party thanks to Christopher Rauschnot @24kMedia on Twitter.

To ensure that her kitchen was running at top speed without hiccups, Giada herself was on the line cooking up a storm and even ran out to the dining room to deliver platters to surprised diners.

“We’re slammed. Can you imagine over 300 dinners on our first night?” she told me. “There’s no room for mistakes or for anything to go wrong on a first night.”

It’s a big menu with an amazing selection of her favorites and the dishes that have turned her into a top TV personality. She’s even marked her own classics and Dino and Raffy’s favorites, if you want to follow their choices.

First up is the selection of breads. I loved the focaccia that came baked in its own little pot, but my favorite was the flatbread, as light as a feather and made with lemon and thyme.

The burrata that followed was beyond awesome. I thought that I was back in Italy. I loved the stuffed peppers with gorgonzola, the figs wrapped inside bacon, the calamari, but best of all the crostini with 18-month aged prosciutto atop pea pesto.

The portions are perfect — not too big and not too small. Order using the interactive menu via iPad, and choose larger or smaller.

Giada’s pastas are perfect-o. I highly recommend the lobster ravioli and the tortellini with pea pesto garnished with mint. All are made fresh in front of your eyes at one of the three open kitchens at the front of the smart California-style restaurant as you arrive via escalator from the casino to the second floor.

The baby pizzas, pizzettas, are so cute and in keeping with the powerhouse pint-sized star chef. They are a do-not-miss from the menu.

I’m a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc fan but chose the Movia from Slovenia, which borders Italy near Venice. It was perfect for the chicken with hunter-style fricassee of summer vegetables paired with polenta.

The one thing Giada no longer has to worry about is ensuring that her vision for fabulous food is maintained. This is fine dining her own Italian style, and you’d never know you were in a hotel restaurant instead of her own California home.

Dessert truly was the icing on the cake with her signature lemon ricotta cookies and gelatos, plus an amazing trio of tiramisu delights.

Giada has created a knockout and exciting dining experience that’s just as stunning as the views from her banquettes over the crossroads of the Strip at Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Avenue.

Giada has hit the jackpot yet again.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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