Category Archives: American

At last, the world famous JimmyEatsVegas restaurant reviews!  If you haven’t already, you should make sure to check out why I don’t write very many negative reviews.

I envision these reviews as a friend talking to another friend about restaurant recommendations.  If someone asks you where to go, you don’t lead off and talk about all the bad places.  You wanna talk about the best places!  So first and foremost, my job is to tell you about all the best places to eat in town and, from time to time, to tell you about why I think the places that everyone else love really aren’t that worthy of praise.

These are some of my favorite restaurants serving American food in Las Vegas.

GIORDANO’S: Tastes like home.

It’s not a casserole.

I can hear you snickering through the screen.  Chicago style pizza is NOT a casserole.  It’s not a lasagna, it’s not a joke.  IT’S OURS OKAY STOP MAKING FUN OF IT.  Jon Stewart famously said “it’s not only not better than New York Pizza… it’s not pizza.”

Listen, if I’m gonna grab a quick bite to eat and keep walking on the way to a hipster meetup, New York style pizza is great.  It’s thin, it’s tasty and easy to eat.  Chicago pizza is difficult.  It takes a while to cook, you kinda need a fork to eat it, it’s so filling that one of them can feed a whole family… but these are not necessarily bad things.  Chicago is a much more laid back city, one where sit down meals with your family are common and a 45 minute wait to get your food is a good time to talk and be with loved ones (as well as devour delicious sides).

You can rattle off 5 great pizza places in every city and all of them will be either authentic Italian or New York style pizza.  Very rarely will you find a real Chicago pizza outside of Illinois.  However, a new day has risen, my friends.  In the outdoor mall at Bally’s just off of Flamingo and Las Vegas BLVD, one of the mainstays of Chicago pizza has opened up a newcomer for the crown.

BEHOLD.

giordanos chicago pizza
Err, wait.

Let’s try again.

BEHOLD.

giordanos chicago pizza
Slightly better.

I won’t lie, I was underwhelmed at the outdoor seating offered here.  I was blown away that they’re open 7 days a week from the morning to 2 AM, mostly because I expected a place serving midwest style food to happily close at a reasonable 9-10 PM.  But the seating itself makes no sense in a volatile weather place such as Las Vegas.  The roof over the seating area isn’t solid, so when there’s wind or rain it blows right through.  There’s also dust everywhere, to the point I had to clean off my place when I sat down.  And on a cold night like the one I visited, the considerable 40 minute wait felt twice as long.  I remarked to our server what a bad decision they made to make the only seating outside and he told me everyone was saying the same thing. (MAKE NOTE OF THIS)

We quickly ordered a side of parmesan garlic fries and a small stuffed pizza with sausage and onions (sausage is a must with Chicago style pizza).  The fries were quick to come out, and we were happy to munch down on them to stay warm.

giordanos chicago pizza
The fanciest ranch dressing garnished dish ever.

Solid fries, though I’m sad they came with a side of ranch dressing.  The garlic was pretty well caramelized, to the point of getting stuck in your teeth when you tried to chew it.  If they fix the garlic, they’ll be pretty damn good fries.

After way too much talk about how cold it was and how we wish they had an indoor seating area, our pizza arrived.

BEHOLD AGAIN.

giordanos chicago pizza
CLICK FOR AMBIENT MUSIC

I don’t know how anyone can look at such an item and not be immediately filled with carnal thoughts.  It tasted as good as it looks, obviously.  There are places that sell Chicago style pizza frozen that can get most of it almost perfect, but the one thing that they can’t get right is the crust.  The crust in this pizza was fantastic; crumbly, tender but still tough and thick enough to hold together this huge slice of cheese, sauce and stuffed toppings.  Eaten with a knife and fork for true flair.  Two adult men were stuffed after 2 pieces each with 2 pieces left to take home afterwards.

giordanos chicago pizza
BUT HOW CAN YOU MAKE IT HOME?

The whole meal was less than $20 a person with tip, making it one of the best values on the strip.  With such prime real estate, you would expect this place to be significantly more expensive.  If only they had reasonable seating, I would come here a few times a month!  Alas, I left satisfied but ultimately sad that I would probably not come here too often to dine because of exposure to the elements.

Imagine my surprise a few days later when picking up a few carry out pizzas for a get together.

giordanos chicago pizza
WHAT
giordanos chicago pizza
THE FUCK

There’s an upstairs!  I’m a fucking moron!  There’s a huge bar and an absolutely beautiful interior!  The servers let me go on and on about what a terrible decision not having an indoors was!  It took me about 10 minutes for me to be able to get my foot out of my mouth when I realized this.

After this discovery, I see no reason not to rate this one of the absolute best restaurants for the money on the strip.  Open until 2 AM, I think this is a must visit for anyone who likes Chicago pizza and a good spot for simply anyone who likes food.  I’ll be back a lot.

Giordano’s

Inside Bally’s outdoor mall area.

11AM – 2AM daily

Carryout available.

DU-PAR’S: Where everyone eats like they’re drunk.

Vegas is a pretty new city, even by American standards.  People have ideas of Vegas being like it was in the 1960s, but that’s basically as far back as its history goes.  It was a super tiny town until halfway through the 20th century, and Fremont street was where a lot of the early buildings were built.

Golden Gate Casino is as old as they come.  The address of the place is 1 Fremont Street and their phone number when they opened up was literally “1” (I am deadly serious).  A big part of this tiny building is the diner Du-Par’s, world famous for its shrimp cocktail.

du-par's
Get off my lawn.

There’s definitely a reason that these things have survived the rest of time.  Even after going through 4 price increases in the last few decades, these things are $4 for a huge glass full of shrimp.  The cocktail sauce is a standard cocktail sauce, but something about this just feels right.  It might have to do with the hokey decor of the place, which just reminds you of how many tens of thousands of people have sat in this room and eaten this exact dish which has mostly stayed unchanged for the past 50 years.

Most of the food at Du-Par’s is standard, overpriced diner food.  There are a few deals if you’re really hungry, but there are 3 items on the menu that are absolutely worth checking out if you want to come to Fremont and hang out for a bit and see a bit of Vegas history.  Shrimp cocktail is one of them.  The pancakes are another.

du-par's
More like “I’m a fan-cakes.”

I can’t say much about pancakes other than these are very well done ones.  Fluffy, buttery, and unbelievably filling, it is basically impossible to finish an order of them.

Last, but possibly the best, Du-Par’s is one of the best places in the valley if you want a slice of pie.  They have a person on hire to come in every day and make dozens of pies fresh, with rotating seasonal varieties.  Luckily, the coconut cream pie is a staple and my god is it satisfying.

du-par's
EXCEPT WHEN THEY CUT IT WRONG AND THE CRUST ISN’T HERE THIS IS BULLSHIT

(When I remarked that half the crust was missing, they apologized and brought out another slice. They’re good people at Du-Par’s.)

You’re not going to tell stories of this place when you get back home, but if you’re looking for a dessert and some Vegas history, there is basically nowhere better to visit.

Du-Par’s (at the Golden Gate)

1 Fremont Street

Open 24/7

SPORTING LIFE BAR: A step above.

A friend of mine told me about this gaming bar that had a late night happy hour food special: $5 skirt steaks.  I was skeptical because gaming bars usually have fine but usually overpriced food, but that seemed like a great deal, and 3 years later I’m still eating at Sporting Life once a week.

sporting
For all your sportsing needs.

The menu here was designed by a former chef of Bouchon Bistro at the Venetian, a Thomas Keller restaurant.  He left a year or two ago to work elsewhere but his menu lingers and it’s extremely well rounded and satisfying.  There are not many entrees that disappoint.

Everyone has one of those foods that other people aren’t that into for whatever reason, but dollar for dollar the steak sandwich at Sporting Life is my favorite sandwich of all time.  It’s the ultimate comfort food for me.  They even started carrying sweet potato fries at my request, and the two go together so well it’s crazy.  When it’s cold outside and I’m not feeling especially social, being able to sit down and enjoy this absolutely delicious plate of food is so bizarre when compared to the normal depressing experience at most gaming bars.

sporting
I took two bites due to muscle memory before I realized I had to take a picture.

This isn’t a place that’s going to win any awards, but PSYCH, OH YES IT IS.  It actually won Best New Restaurant AND Best Bar Food by the LV Weekly the year it opened.  If you’re looking for classic American comfort food done well and for a good price, you’re home.

(PS, if you tell them Jimmy sent you, they’ll let you order some of my sweet potato fries.  And tell Neal hi for me.)

Address: 7770 S Jones Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89139
Phone: (702) 331-4647
Open 24/7

BRAND STEAKHOUSE: Sounds like a placeholder.

Fun fact: the very first Las Vegas casino I ever stepped foot in was the Monte Carlo.  It seemed like a fairly boring, middle of the road spot back then and that’s how it remains to me today.  The fire that wiped out the top few floors was probably the most amount of publicity it has ever received.  Which is why there is no surprise that its steakhouse fails to distinguish itself as a top choice.

It even overlooks the pit, so we can gamble vicariously throughout the meal.

Brand is a terrible name (seriously, sounds like the Bluth family’s fundraiser to fight TBA). Though the food is perfectly reasonable, I think the price is close enough to being at the Cut or Carnevino level that you should pay the difference for the upgrade.

Full disclosure: We had a comp for this dinner that we obtained through some advantage play.  This allowed us to go fairly nuts and order lots of things. It didn’t affect this review in any way, however.

Our waiter for this evening was Brian.  One of the most jovial, pleasantly attentive waiters I’ve had anywhere.  There are only a few career waiters I’ve had in the years I’ve been eating at nice places and Brian is definitely one of them.  Dude makes hospitality look super easy and I was very happy to see him again.  Definitely advise asking for him if you ever visit.

Every dish you can order at Brand is classic American steakhouse fare, so I will not be explaining to you what a caesar salad and its ilk taste like.  You will have to trust me on quality.

We ended up getting an absurd amount of food, and since the restaurant was fairly empty it did not take long to come out.

steakhouse
Our multidimensional caesar salad.

Some places do way too much to a caesar salad, others barely do anything.  Brand likes to straddle the middle and leave the lettuce untouched other than to toss it with an average caesar dressing and then they go to the trouble to make a parmesan crisp crouton laid on top.  I would prefer cut romaine and normal croutons, but I can’t say it wasn’t good anyway.  For $14, though, it’s definitely not a bargain.

steakhouse

The shrimp cocktail was another more expensive appetizer; 4 fairly large shrimp for $18 is not cheap, though the two sauces (a normal cocktail sauce and a remoulade) were definitely better than average and it was tasty enough.

steakhouse
Whoever invented beef tartare must have been on serious drugs.

The Kobe beef tartare (another side note, anything labeled kobe beef is going to be overpriced) was another $20 appetizer that tasted great but the bar is set so high by the price that it’s hard to meet it.

This is also a big pet peeve of mine, but Kobe beef is known for its insane fat marbling.  Tartare shouldn’t be overwhelmingly full of fat because it’s served raw, and raw fat is grainy and completely gums up the texture.  And high marbling of the meat is completely pointless if you cut up the meat so much that everything gets mixed together anyway.  This was definitely an above average tartare as well, but there’s no reason for the gimmicky labeling of Kobe.  My only complaint was the tiny crouton really doesn’t serve very well as the crusty toasted bread usually accompanying tartare.

steakhouse
HASSAAAAAN CHOP
steakhouse
A very phallic looking porterhouse and lobster.

The steaks were definitely the highlight of the meal.  The tomahawk chop is another fairly common gimmick in steakhouses, where it’s a basic bone-in ribeye with an elongated bone left on the steak.  The steak itself was perfectly fine, but fairly small for the fairly large price they charge.  That plate was $70! The porterhouse is a much more reasonable plate, 20oz of (slightly overcooked) steak with a lobster tail and claws served with a corn risotto cake, which is a thing apparently.  I have no real problem with any of these things, honestly.  It was well seasoned with a decent sear.  My steak standards are fairly high, as a lot of you probably know.  Aside from a large gray band, I was perfectly happy with the steak served to us.  The lobster was even better, actual seasoned lobster meat instead of just dunking it in clarified butter and calling it a day.  The risotto cake was even better, and I think putting it as its own dish would be a smart idea.  But when you think that all of the above food cost nearly $200, I’m just not convinced it couldn’t be better spent in this town.

steakhouse
Forgettable creamed spinach.

‘Nuff said.

steakhouse
Overly salted ‘spurgus.

I’m generally a big fan of well charred asparagus, but the tips of these were so overly salted that it completely turned me off to them.  A shame.

At last we arrived to dessert.  We were pretty stuffed at this point but had just enough left on our comp that we ordered a small trio of desserts.

steakhouse
Chocolate cake as dense I am.

Desserts were a definite highlight of the meal.  Whoever is working as their pastry chef definitely knows their business.  The chocolate cake is pretty much chocolate on chocolate on chocolate, which is great (if you love chocolate).  Served alongside cappuccino mousse, I’m usually not a big fan of something so cocoa-fied but it surpassed my expectations and was not nearly as heavy as I felt it would be.

steakhouse
You’re trying too hard.

As subtle and good the chocolate cake was, the “classic” cheesecake was definitely a flower child growing up.  It was a very average cheesecake and they garnished the plate with a strange waxy pressed blueberry roll and some inedible flowers, which is a huge pet peeve of mine.  If I’m going to hurt myself trying to eat something on the plate, it probably doesn’t belong there.  Taste and texture were great though, and I have no real complaints about the actual execution here.

steakhouse
Surprisingly delicious.

They also had a selection of ice creams and we opted for caramel.  I will say, I have a weakness for a well made ice cream and this was no slouch.  The depth of flavor in this caramel was pretty startling and it was clear they made it a very deep caramel.  Eating this with the chocolate cake was a pretty excellent few bites of food.

Overall, I have no serious issues with Brand but it just goes to show how many great options there are in town.  There are cheaper options that are about the same quality and there are more expensive options that have significantly higher quality.  If you’re looking for a reasonably priced strip steakhouse, Brand is a decent place to check out but it’s better if someone else is paying for it.

Brian’s great though.

3770 Las Vegas BLVD. South, Las Vegas NV 89109

(702) 730-6700

Open daily 5 PM – 10 PM

OYSTER BAR (AT PALACE STATION): No one comes here, it’s too crowded.

“Oh hey Jimmy I love oysters.”

SHUT UP, THIS ISN’T FOR YOU.

Yes, they serve oysters at the Oyster Bar at Palace Station.  They’re fine.  They’re somewhat expensive so if you’re into spending money to gamble on your well being (you’re in a Vegas casino so who isn’t AMIRITE) then you’ve come to the right place.

HOWEVER.

This place makes a bomb-ass pan roast.  What is a pan roast you might ask?

THIS GODDAMMIT

A big bowl of spicy seafood, tomato, and cream stew with a big scoop of rice on top.  It’s really hard to describe how satisfying and comforting a bowl of this can be without having experienced it.  I don’t know why this place makes such a good dish but it does and I’m not going to question their methods.

But I digress.

“Uh, table for two?” “LOL”

This is the Oyster Bar, right next to a couple banks of slot machines.  There are less than 20 seats at the bar and it takes approximately an hour or longer to order, get your food, eat, pay and leave so you can end up waiting quite a long time.  I’ve seen a 30 person line before which took around 2-3 hours to get seated from the very back.  This place is CRAZY popular on the weekends around 1-2 AM.  If you want to experience it, best choose when you’ve been out all night around 8 AM or go for lunch because this shit is seriously crazy.  So crazy, in fact, they actually disconnected their phone because they got tired of answering how long the wait is.

Though the options look numerous, the best stuff is simple and straightforward.  We got a pan roast (also try the gumbo.  VERY good gumbo), white chowder, and my incorrigible colleague got a dozen oysters.  They can make the pan roast or gumbo as spicy as you like and the spice adds a LOT of flavor so feel free to order an 8 or a 9 if you’re feeling brave.  Fair warning, the chefs have different spice levels so some of them have a 6 that’s pretty mild and some have a 4 that can make your lips tingle.

I wanted to say the world’s first steampunk restaurant but I know that isn’t true.

One of the reasons this place takes so long is the way they make the food.  They have 6 steel pots that are heated by super high pressure steam systems.  They only have enough power to heat 3 of them and it takes a bit to clean them, so they can usually only make 3 pan roasts at a time. But damned if it ain’t worth it.  Trust me though, once you’re sitting and waiting on your food, it can feel like an eternity.

I suppose I should say something about the oysters.

They only taste about 60% as good as they look.

*sigh*

They’re fine.  They’re nothing to write home about.  Oysters that are too big get tough and have a really weird texture with the abductor muscle that isn’t readily apparent with smaller ones.  These were pretty big and kind of tough so I can’t really recommend spending $20 on a dozen of them.  But if you love oysters then splitting a dozen with friends before you get some pan roasts isn’t too bad an idea.

However, the chowder…

IT’S CHOWDAH.

This bowl was deceptively big, by the way.  A big bowl of delicious clam chowder full of seafood and made of what I think is probably the best broth I’ve had in a white chowder.  A lot of chowders skimp on the clams and go heavy on potatoes but this place has the ratio pretty perfect.  Great for someone who isn’t too hungry for a pan roast but wants something hot and delicious.  Or you can just get a cup of the chowder anyway.

UN-DIGRESS.

I’M BACK BITCHES

Combo Pan Roast.  Shrimp, Crab and Lobster. $24, but to most humans it’s enough to bring some home with you.  And may I just say that this might be the most reheatable dish I’ve ever had.  Even if you just have a microwave, this tastes just as good if not better the day after you get it here.  Soup is a wonderful thing.

$70 for two people at 4 AM on some random weekday.  Not the cheapest option available, but probably one of the best and you leave stuffed.  I’d say it’s close to a must try.  You get your money’s worth.

Address: Palace Station, 2411 W Sahara Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89102

Hours: 24/7

POP’S CHEESESTEAKS: Hop on Pop.

It’s a little disappointing that there aren’t more local places in town dedicated to good, regional American fare.  There are a lot of great ethnic restaurants in town but any places dabbling in American classics are generally in casinos and charge an arm and a leg.  One favorite, however, has a nice mainstay that very few seem to be aware of and it’s a place that knows its exact clientele: Pop’s Cheesesteaks.

What they lack in walls they make up for in anachronistic murals.

Pop’s is a place open 24/7 that serves cheesesteaks and fried things.  This is a good thing.  You can’t have a place like this that’s only open till 10 PM in a town where most nights out end when the sun is coming up.  In winter.  This place will never earn a Michelin star but for the price you get something freshly made right in front of you with classic ingredients made with love (and grunts) from the men working the grill.  This is a favorite hangout by the media team (SUP BJ) who work at the World Series of Poker and for good reason.  Good food doesn’t mean fine dining or ethnic or whatever.  Good food means it satisfies you and has you excited to come back.  I can’t speak to how this fares against the real Philly steak places but if you want something greasy and delicious at 3 AM, there aren’t many better places.

The only problem with this picture is the handwritten menu looks dangerously close to Comic Sans.

Specifically, I went for the cheesesteak with Whiz, peppers and onions and my compatriot opted for a chicken cheesesteak and some Whiz fries.  The fries are a little thick and nothing crazy but there’s something satisfying and nostalgic about gooey Cheese Whiz.  The chicken is more than just a health nut’s option, it’s actually just as good as the beef and probably a little lighter.

Two 3AM gutbombs coming right up.

All told, this isn’t a place to write home about. However, if you have a car and are coming from a night of partying, staying outside in the brisk desert air and eating some quality cheesesteaks is a good experience and a good one to cap off a night in Vegas.  All the above food and a few drinks were enjoyed for $25.

Address: 501 S Decatur Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89107

Phone: (702) 878-6444

Hours: 24/7

BACHI BURGER: “Aurora Borealis!?”

Up to this point, I’ve received more requests for the best burger in town more than anything else.  With good reason!  Burgers have huge variance and a ton of different things to do.  But when I am thinking about a good burger, I don’t think about toppings.  Having tasty toppings isn’t showing off how technically good your burger making skill is.  When I go to a new burger place, I try to get the most boring burger they offer because a boring burger is going to show off the meat quality, how well the bun is structured and the quality of the basic toppings.  That said, Bachi Burger blows most places out of the water just on these three factors.

(An E.E. Cummings restaurant)

Another point in their favor:  A concise menu.  A construct-your-own burger option, a bunch of Asian inspired burgers borrowed heavily from Japanese and Korean culture, and one or two that will please a more picky American carnivore.  They also have some great appetizers and sides that are great twists on American staples.  Including some Korean chili buffalo wings and truffle parmesan fries.

No words necessary.

If I’m being honest, the chicken is fine but nothing crazy.  This is probably the most boring of the appetizers they have but the quality is certainly fine.  They’re nice and crispy, moist with a really tasty dipping sauce.  The pickles are more interesting and something you can’t get at a lot of burger places.

DANGER, SAUCE OVERLOAD.

The truffle fries, however, are something I can’t imagine not ordering every time I show up here.  It is true that white truffle oil in general is complete BS but they use real mushrooms and sundried tomatoes to create the two sauces that turn these fries into something absolutely delicious.  Sundried tomatoes are the best kind of tomato, truly.

For our burger selection, we ordered a “Black and Green” which is more traditional American style served with blue cheese and garlic and “Kiki’s Burger” which has a bunch of Asian mushrooms and a chili mayo.  The spice level isn’t something that ruins the enjoyment of the burger for anyone who’s wondering, and going simple is absolutely not a problem because WOW the burgers are made so fundamentally sound.  The patty is the perfect size, not too thick or thin.  A nice char and well seasoned.  I’ve never had anyone complain about how their burger is cooked (a decent boast considering they’ll cook it anywhere from rare to well done at your request) and to top it off, the bun is probably the best bun I’ve had in a burger restaurant.  A really soft and buttery brioche, and somehow it prevents the absolute worst thing about big gourmet burgers: All the toppings falling out the back when you take a bite.  I’ve never had this happen at any Bachi location and that’s quite the feat considering how negatively it impacts your enjoyment of the burger.  Indeed, all the toppings stay where they are while you’re eating.  This must be Japanese sorcery.

QUICK I PUNCHED OUT SOME LADY NAMED KIKI AND TOOK HER BURGER
They must have an antigravity machine hidden under the table.

Generally places like these have a few throwaway desserts but I actually saw they had a cheap option for Portuguese donuts that looked too good to pass up.  And I’m glad we sprung for them!  At $5, this is definitely one of the best desserts I could possibly expect.  3 huge donuts and a nice scoop of homemade ice cream with a raspberry sauce.  It was a very nice looking plate and honestly one I wouldn’t expect to find at a burger place.

It looks like the bucket and the ice cream are having a staredown.

Overall, 3 people shared an app, a side and a dessert and each got a burger and a drink for only $80.  Certainly not a place that will break the bank and you can easily get out of here for under $25 with tip if you just come for lunch.  There may be some people who prefer a strip burger better but all told I think you could match Bachi up against any of them and be very satisfied.  And with a location now in all 3 major residential areas in town, it’s easier than ever to get your fix.

Various locations.  Check them out at http://bachiburger.com/

ROLLIN’ SMOKE BBQ: Rollin’ me out of the door.

Once upon a time about three years ago, there was basically not a single good BBQ restaurant in town.  People from the south would constantly come visit and want to get some ribs or some good brisket and be greeted with oven cooked ribs and dry, overcooked beef.  Enter two brothers from Arkansas who saw there was a huge vacuum for BBQ and they found a small shack on strip club row to make their fortune.

And we all benefit as a result!  Welcome to Rollin Smoke, the best place for BBQ in town.

Pronounced “Burbkuh”

When you walk in, the first thing you see is an entire wall painted with their menu.  They have quite the selection but most of their menu is a bunch of combinations you can pick that bring the price down slightly.  I wish they would just have a list of meat and a list of sides and let you pick what you want, but whatever.  I’ve had most of the standard BBQ meats they have for sale so I opted for the special pulled pork sandwich.  In my humble opinion, the fried onion strings they have are the best side in the house and go extremely well with the soft moist meat.  I really enjoyed the sandwich, since instead of just being pulled pork on a bun it actually came with toppings like a really zesty coleslaw and their excellent housemade vinegar based sauce.  Just a personal preference but I don’t understand why people like rich sweet sauces on BBQ when the meat already is very heavy.  I like light vinegar based sauces to help cut through some of that richness.

I have no words.

I was here for our biweekly food meetup and most other people opted for either the 2 or 3 meat platter where you get to pick from a variety of different choices.  Ribs, pulled pork and brisket are usually the most popular choices but their hot links are also really delicious.

Three times the meat, three times the happy.

This is a simple restaurant so there isn’t a whole lot of menu advice I can give you.  If you like BBQ, you’ll like this place.  3 meat choices, a side and a drink will run you less than $20 with all said and done.  Not a bad budget spot for lunch or dinner.

(psst: For BBQ aficionados, make sure you ask em for burnt ends.  They’ll gladly make your meat choices extra awesome if they still have them available)

(double psst: if you don’t know what burnt ends are, google it)

Address: 3185 S Highland Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Phone: (702) 836-3621

Hours: Open Monday – Saturday to 8pm and later on weekends.

TABLE 10: Table harder.

Busting out of poker tournaments sucks.  Tasting menus make things suck less.  So after I lost some money I decided to go with a friend to dinner at Emeril’s more traditional restaurant Table 10.  The Emeril in front of this one looks fresh out of his hit 90’s tv show instead of the one being threatened beside Delmonico.

Look at that smug immortal bastard.
Look at that smug immortal bastard.

The ambiance of the restaurant is very relaxed, almost like a country club.  It’s a place you could have a business dinner or a place to go after a show.  It’s also a place they might be hiding Emeril’s fountain of youth because you DAMN WELL KNOW HE DOESN’T LOOK THAT GOOD NOW.

This was a true tasting menu where you get a few limited choices on what to order and they bring you small enough portions that you don’t overload by the time the meal is done.  Between the two of us, my friend and I ordered completely different items and shared because if you’re going to taste a menu, taste the whole menu.

First course, I ordered a Caesar and he ordered the Gumbo.  The Caesar was a weird mix between being nontraditional and traditional and I didn’t enjoy how it was mostly just one big piece of lettuce.  A butter knife doesn’t cut this leaf particularly well and the dressing wasn’t well incorporated.  I liked the crouton with the anchovy but probably would’ve preferred it if it were actually incorporated together the way a real Caesar is.

You don’t win friends with salad.
You don’t win friends with salad.

The Gumbo was Emeril’s classic that we had at Delmonico.  It’s very good, probably less chunky than I would like with no real big pieces of meat to speak of.  But the broth is extremely tasty and no complaints on flavor of the roux.

Gumbo is everyone’s friend.
Gumbo is everyone’s friend.

For the second course, I was very excited to order what they call the Mushroom “Vol au Vent” which is generally a pastry stuffed with meat.  The mushroom was very hearty and I didn’t really miss the meat at all (“LIAR!”).  The pastry was seriously unimpressive though and tasted like it had been sitting out for a long time, as if they made them all ahead of time and it had started to grow stale.  Instead of collapsing and being warm in the middle, they were a bit chewy and not in the good way.  Also, if you’re going to put microgreens on something, please actually put it on the food instead of leaving us to guess if we are supposed to eat it or not.

Hahaha no but seriously why aren’t these better.
Hahaha no but seriously why aren’t these better.

My friend Kevin spotted the candied bacon extremely fast and I was excited to see what they did with it.  I’m happy to report they actually just used some extremely high quality ingredients and let it shine.  We got 3 huge pieces of bacon steak, essentially, served with a very high quality maple syrup that makes me wish even more that I was born Canadian.  Definitely one of the best things we tried and I would gladly come back just for this.  Actually, for the price you can order it off the regular menu this might be a new thing for me.

[BACON JOKE #4752] [/BACON JOKE]
[BACON JOKE #4752] [/BACON JOKE]
For the mains, I decided to order the chicken with gnocchi and gravy and Kevin went for the arctic char with polenta.

It might have been the best chicken dish I have ever had in a restaurant.  Most places put 0 effort into their chicken because they know only super boring people order it, but they certainly poured their heart out onto this plate.  The gnocchi were perfectly made (though I am surprised to see it in such a restaurant because I don’t think they’re particularly Cajun) and the gravy was luscious.  The chicken had a super thick piece of crispy skin on top and the meat was surprisingly not overcooked.  I stay away from poultry for the most part because most places overcook it just to be on the safe side but this chicken was very moist and they avoided turning it into that chalky texture you get at grandma’s house during Thanksgiving.  A clear star.

This dish is the comic relief in a buddy cop movie.
This dish is the comic relief in a buddy cop movie.

Arctic char is a cool fish and very similar to salmon.  It’s sustainable which is pretty awesome and something I can give them extra points for, but this is one of the most bizarre dishes I’ve had in recent history.  A tiny piece of fish sitting in a very rich polenta surrounded by olives.  The olive aroma was in pretty much everything which for this particular dish was a complete turnoff.  Granted, I’m not a fan of just popping olives like candy anyway but I don’t see what they were going for here exactly.  The fish was well cooked and had crispy skin and the polenta was rich and tasty but I couldn’t take a single bite without tasting olive.  Also, that fish portion is seriously small.  It was probably 1/6 the amount of meat if not less than the chicken on the other plate and is significantly less satisfying.

They call it sustainable but this is ridiculous.
They call it sustainable but this is ridiculous.

Kevin ordered green beans.  Here’s a picture.

MORE LIKE HAS-BEENS HAHAHA I'LL SHOW MYSELF OUT
MORE LIKE HAS-BEENS HAHAHA I’LL SHOW MYSELF OUT

Emeril is apparently quite known for his Banana Creme Pie and I am a fan of pretentious french spelling of the word ‘cream.’ so I figured we had to pick that one.  I’m also a big fan of carrot cake and was very happy to find that it was the best carrot cake I’ve had in recent memory.  It came with candied pecans that offered a very nice crunch to go with the soft and moist cake which is always a pleasure to find in something that you expect isn’t going to have much texture contrast.  The banana cream pie was very solid but to be honest I think it suffered from having very large banana slices in it which offered a texture contrast that just wasn’t nearly as pleasure to experience.  The caramel on top was great though and I certainly wouldn’t complain about having this served to me at the end of any nice meal.  Both slices were huge though and I didn’t technically finish either one (Don’t believe Kevin, he’s a liar.)

And for dessert: diabetes. May I interest you in some coffee or insulin?
And for dessert: diabetes. May I interest you in some coffee or insulin?

There are a lot of great tasting menus around town that may run you well over $100 but tonight we enjoyed all the above dishes for the very fair price of $65 each after tax/tip.  If you’re ever at the Palazzo and want a meal that isn’t going to break the bank this is likely one of the better options.  I should bust out of poker tournaments more often.

Address: The Grand Canal Shoppes, 3327 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Phone: (702) 607-6363

Hours: Open daily · 11:00 am – 10:00 pm

DELMONICO STEAKHOUSE: A fine vintage root beer.

Steakhouses are a touchy subject in Vegas.  A lot of them exist only to exist because management KNOWS they are going to make money and some places still put a lot of effort into theirs.  Venetian/Palazzo definitely have three of the best strip steakhouses, possibly the actual top 3.  Of the three, Delmonico Steakhouse has a special place in my heart because it was the first nice restaurant I went to in Vegas before I even moved here.  When you put everything together, it’s hard to beat.

I parked in a somewhat secret spot in the Palazzo garage and proceeded to “Restaurant Row” which only has like 3 restaurants in it.  I passed this extremely sad looking ad on the way to the restaurant, the text might as well have read “CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION.”

PLEASE COME IN OR THEY’LL KILL ME
PLEASE COME IN OR THEY’LL KILL ME

I suppose I should do another FOOD BLOG SHOUTOUT to John S for joining me at this meal, but he made me wait approximately 12 minutes so he’s just a big jerk instead.

We were quickly seated, even though the dining room is COMPLETELY full.  There is a rather large convention going on in Vegas right now, and it is apparent that they have their hands full serving everyone.  The server came over, introduced himself and asked what we’d like to drink.  And because WE ARE ADULTS WHO DECIDE WHAT THAT MEANS, John opted for a root beer float.

BECAUSE WE CAN, DAMMIT
BECAUSE WE CAN, DAMMIT

Most steakhouses in town have some sort of tasty bread service but I think Delmonico goes above and beyond and serve oven hot popovers, bread that is so buttery it barely qualifies as bread. They were incredible but I’m glad they only gave us 2 each.

Pictured: A stick of butter. And then a dish of butter.
Pictured: A stick of butter. And then a dish of butter.

John said he hadn’t eaten all day so we went pretty crazy with the ordering.  I thought that was fine since I was going to be reviewing the place and wanted to get as much in the review as possible, and it actually gave me the opportunity to order a few things I had never eaten before.  He got the gumbo, I got the lobster bisque and we split some truffle parmesan chips which Yelp seemed to rave over.

Trio of appetizers
Trio of appetizers

The gumbo was really good, as was to be expected in a New Orleans themed steakhouse.  It’s not especially spicy or super thick, it’s more of a soup than a stew.  But the roux is incredibly dark and the broth itself has a ton of flavor.  The bisque was thick as well and definitely one of the better lobster bisques I’ve had, with a big chunk of lobster in the middle.  Actually that was my only complaint.  If they had cut up the lobster I would’ve enjoyed it much more.  I love soup, but I absolutely hate it when they expect me to apparently use a knife and fork to eat it. It is not easy to cut lobster into chunks with a spoon.

These chips look how I feel.
These chips look how I feel.

The truffle parmesan chips were exactly what they sounded like.  The chips themselves were homemade and very well done, super crispy and salty but not overly so on each.  It seems like the truffle flavor came from white truffle oil which is bullshit in a bottle (it’s 100% artificial, no actual truffle involved) and the parmesan was just sprinkled on top as an afterthought.  It doesn’t surprise me that yelp users loved it, but that’s because I have absolutely no respect for the average yelp user’s opinion on food.

ON TO THE MAIN COURSE!

House special ribeye.
House special ribeye.
Somewhat disappointing looking filet.
Somewhat disappointing looking filet.

To be honest I think they had an off day today.  Consistency is really important in a place like this and it might have been the fact that the place was so crowded but the steaks could’ve been better.  John’s filet was cooked perfectly but my ribeye was solidly medium instead of medium rare.  A rare slipup at a place which usually has spotless service and consistency.  We ordered a few sides which was probably a mistake since after our many appetizers we were quickly growing full.  Flavor of everything was great, but I think steakhouses like undercooking their green vegetables and I enjoy mine a little bit softer.  Asparagus is one of those things where one end is usually cooked fine and the other one is almost raw and I wish they would’ve cooked them slightly more.

Spurgus.
Spurgus.
Grits so thick you need a spoo- oh.
Grits so thick you need a spoo- oh.

I’m no grits expert, but these were so thick they were almost like mashed potatoes made of corn.  Really delicious, but I don’t think that’s the point of grits.

John immediately said LET’S GET TWO DESSERTS and I had to refuse even though I really wanted a picture of the banana cream pie.  We instead split their special dessert for the evening, a cinnamon roll bread pudding.  After we finished it, they asked us what we thought of it, as it is a new thing the chef is trying.  It was really delicious, but a cinnamon roll is already amazing.  Soaking it in custard is not really showing off either the cinnamon roll or the custard in its best light.  I think there’s work to be done here.  It also did not look appetizing at all to be honest.

Tasted way better than it looked.
Tasted way better than it looked.

Overall I’d say Delmonico stumbled a little bit from its usual self.  Places that serve huge parties night after night like this need consistency to really stand out and I can’t say they were consistent with what I’ve come to expect from them.  At $270 after tip for two people, you should almost always opt for an off strip place unless you’re celebrating something.  Even though I really enjoy them from time to time, strip restaurants are at the point where there’s almost always an equal or better option for cheaper in a shitty strip mall down the street.

Delmonico Steakhouse

The Venetian, The Grand Canal Shoppes, 3355 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Phone: (702) 414-3737

Hours: Open daily  5:00 – 10:00 pm