By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published May 05, 2009 at 6:06 PM

In certain circles, chefs are revered like actors, pop stars and pro athletes.

Paul Bartolotta just picked up another Oscar, Grammy and MVP trophy.

The Milwaukee native, who heads the Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare at the Wynn Las Vegas, won the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award for best chef in the Southwest.

Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, which received a 2006 James Beard nomination for Best New Restaurant, offers a simple, yet refined Italian menu that redefines traditional American notions of Italian dining. The restaurant provides exquisitely prepared regional specialties emphasizing the freshest seafood and homemade pastas in a bright and vibrant setting that evokes life by the sea.

Each week, the restaurant imports 1.5 tons of seafood from cities that lie along the Mediterranean coast. In 2007 and 2008, Ristorante di Mare received the AAA Four Diamond Award. The restaurant was also named one of the Best New Restaurants in America by Esquire magazine in 2005, and received Restaurant and Institutions' Ivy Award in 2008, which was Chef Bartolotta's second Ivy Award.

Bartolotta won the award Monday night at Lincoln Center in New York, adding a companion to the Midwest honor he won in 1994 while working at Spiaggia in Chicago.

Bartolotta is part owner of the Bartolotta restaurant group in Milwaukee, which includes Bacchus, Lake Park Bistro, Mr. B's in Brookfield and Ristorante Bartolotta and Pizzeria Piccola in Wauwatosa.