Santa Fe Station book looking good, Ferraro's a winner

Mar 2, 2010 5:00 PM

Around Town by Eileen Di Rocco |

After dropping Petunia (our 4-year-old terrier mix) off at her agility class (a great way to burn off some of her excess energy) we found ourselves in the neighborhood of Santa Fe Station. Naturally, we pointed the car in that direction.

We found a convenient parking spot near the Race and Sports Book entrance (not many casinos make it this easy to find the book) and headed in to take a look around.

The first thing we noticed was the plush new upgrades that have taken place. There are more places to sit, including a very nice VIP section, more betting stations and lots of huge plasma televisions. The giant ones can be configured in a number of ways and look like they could show anywhere from one to 12 feeds.

We sat down in one of the comfy looking leather lounge chairs and immediately relaxed. It was definitely one of the more comfortable seats we’ve found in a race and sports book. Leaning back, we scanned the various betting options and decided to make a small wager on the Villanova-Syracuse matchup so we’d have a rooting interest when we watched the game later on. (Sadly, we took the Wildcats +5.)

We noticed a sign promoting Sports Connection, Station’s phone betting program. After opening an account and putting money on deposit, it allows you to make bets over the phone or with your computer. The computer uses a closed-loop Internet connection provided via the local cable company, which assures bets only come from within the Las Vegas area. As far as we know, Station is the only casino group with this type of Internet wagering available.

After leaving the book we checked out the bowling center and found it was apparently birthday party day. There were eight or 10 children’s parties going on; each one with its own dedicated lanes. Everyone looked like they were having a great time and we noticed the lanes have bumper guards that pop up for the little ones so they can’t roll a gutter ball. (Wonder if they allow adults to use those?)

By now we had worked up an appetite. SF’s food court offers a lot of options, including Fatburger, Quizno’s Subs and Panda Express. There is also Coco’s restaurant and the Cabo Mexican eatery. But we were having a difficult time making up our mind so we opted for the Feast buffet where we could sample barbeque, Asian, American, Tex-Mex and Italian foods plus enjoy a large salad bar and dessert section. The food was all fresh with the hot items hot and cold items cold (very important at a buffet). We had no trouble finding delicious items to satisfy our hunger.

CONGRATULATIONS to Gino Ferraro and his family on the opening of Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant Wine Bar on Paradise Road near the Hard Rock casino. If you’re looking for fine Italian cuisine, this is the place.

Gino and his son, Mimo, offer Italian basics such as fettuccine pomodoro (cooked to a perfect al dente), lasagna and gnocchi along with panini and pizzette. But if you want something a bit more exotic you could try the pappardelle in a wild boar meat sauce, braised farm raised rabbit with polenta and oven roasted mushrooms, or an appetizer of baby grilled octopus.

The wine list is extensive and includes some exquisite rare vintages you can sip by the ounce.

Of course, you’ll want to save room for dessert. The tiramisu is delicious and the cannoli (our favorite) is to die for.

Buon appetito!

See you around town.

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Eileen Di Rocco