Siena Italian Restaurant Holiday Menu Launches!
Siena Italian Launches Holiday Menu and Mark LoRusso clearly remembers celebrating the Feast of the Seven Fishes when he was young.
“For people who grew up back East, in Italian-American families, Christmas Eve was always like no meat, lots of fish and pastas,” said LoRusso, executive chef of Costa di Mare at Wynn Las Vegas.
LoRusso’s is one of a number of Las Vegas restaurants, large and small, on and off the Strip, that are celebrating the tradition this year — some with prix-fixe menus, some a la carte, on only one night or for an extended period.
The Feast of the Seven Fishes is an Italian-American tradition, but Giancarlo Bomparola, Milan-raised executive chef and managing partner of Siena Italian Deli & Authentic Trattoria at 9500 W. Sahara Ave., remembers a slimmer version of it from his childhood in Italy. He was born in Calabria, which has a rich seafood tradition and where the observance, called The Vigil, is common. It all stems from the Catholic practice of not consuming meat on days before feast days such as Christmas.
“In the first (wave of) immigration, around 1900, they preserved it and enlarged it,” Bomparola said of Italian immigrants to America. And while it’s called feast, it precedes the real feast.
“The feast was supposed to take over when Jesus was born,” Bomparola said. “It’s supposed to be a little bit later, like midnight. They used to stay up until 4 or 5 in the morning.”
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