Category Archives: Upscale

MOMOFUKU: Get hype. Hype got.

Fairly often, a new strip restaurant opens up with a big celebrity chef named stamped on it.  Rarely will the chef ever go there, and the food suffers as a result.  It makes sense to cash in on your newfound celebrity if you’re one of these people, but those are the exact restaurants that give Vegas its negative reputation of overpriced tourist trap places.  Reasonable enough restaurants, but nothing worth the money and often boring and underseasoned food that caters towards rich and trendy people.

I’d heard tell that Momofuku in NYC is the real deal.  David Chang is, by all accounts, a brilliant chef.  He has a sterling reputation, but is by no means nearly as famous as Gordon Ramsay or some of the Food Network darlings.  I was super excited to try his restaurant with its simplified menu at his Las Vegas location and see for myself if I can add another actually good strip restaurant to my list.

momofuku las vegas
Who let that homeless guy in here?

The restaurant is located on the less traveled 2nd floor of the Cosmopolitan off in a corner next to the chandelier bar.  It’s a gorgeous space, and I can imagine the rent on this place to be astronomical.  The menu has a few extremely expensive items nestled among some reasonably priced entrees, and though I love truffles as much as the next guy I stuck to the mainstays and most of the popular dishes that Momofuku is somewhat famous for since I’ve never been to the original restaurant.

I required something raw.

Everything is served family style and they just bring things out as they’re ready, so the first thing we received was sashimi of citrus cured fluke and pickled plum and seaweed.  I’m a huge citrus fan in general, and the fish was cut thick enough that it had a really satisfying bite to it.  There was a lot of acid and a lot of sourness which went along really well with the fish, which was a good choice.  The powerful flavors didn’t overpower the flavor of the fluke and everything meshed extremely well together, which is sometimes hard to do with sashimi.  I told my friend Matt that it was a good start, and I was excited for the dishes to come.

Literal heavenly light is shining down on this.

Excitement was appropriate, because the chicken katsu with pepper gravy was absolutely the best new dish I’ve had in months.  Simply good fried chicken cutlets were covered in a thick, peppery gravy  that looks like it’s going to weigh down your stomach and make you regret finishing the plate, but the acidic bite of sherry vinegar completely cuts through the heaviness of the sauce and makes it an absolute joy to spoon up once the chicken is all gone.  It was absolutely impossible to put down the spoon until we ate all the sauce.  This dish is simply a must order.

This looks like skull island.

In this enigma of a bowl are up there as the best brussels sprouts I’ve ever had.  Seemingly deep fried for intense caramelization and covered in a vinaigrette with possibly fish sauce, these are crispy treasures that give just enough bite to satisfy a sprouts fan.  Not necessarily the most inventive dish, but sometimes you just want something done extremely well and this bowl delivers.

This bowl has quite the pedigree.

The ramen came very highly recommended and was Matt’s absolute “must try” dish.  It wasn’t hard to see why; fairly typical noodles but in a tonkatsu broth packed full of savory goodness with a soft poached egg that popped with the slightest touch.  And instead of an anemic piece of pork belly with unrendered, unappetizing chunks of fat, braised pork was in the bowl adding a small layer of melted pork fat to each bite.  Super simple, but absolutely delicious.  At $18, one of the more expensive ramen dishes I’ve ever had but worth every penny.  I can imagine coming here just for this.  Matt concurred.

HE’S NOT HOMELESS, HE’S MATT.

The service was fine, but a little spotty at times.  Near the end of our meal it took a frustrating amount of time to get someone over to us to be able to tell them that we had yet to receive our (intended appetizer) pork belly buns which are renowned in NYC.  After a few minutes, we had a nice little steamer tray set down along with a little squeeze bottle of sauce for each bite.  A nice touch!  Sometimes the sauce is so good you need a little more than they give you.  And boy, was this the case.

WORTH THE WAIT IMO.

My problem with pork buns generally is that the buns are big, doughy and overpower the sometimes paltry amount of meat and sauce within.  Absolutely not the case here.  Beautifully made pillowy buns acted as a taco shell for crispy, well rendered pork belly and cucumber and a hoisin sauce that sent literal shudders through me.  The chili sauce on the side added an acidic bite as well, and the whole thing felt like an out of body experience.  I can definitely see why these are so famous and they’re yet another dish I can’t see skipping when I come here.

All told, aside from a somewhat slow end to the meal due to inattentive servers, I was blown away by the quality of the experience and $135 for two people after tip was well within what I would consider to be a steal for a strip restaurant.  I absolutely can’t wait to go back again and try out more of the menu.

Momofuku

2nd floor of the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

Open daily 5:30 – 10:30 PM

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

KABUTO: Wherein I drown in toro.

I get the staggeringly difficult question “what’s your favorite restaurant” quite a bit and I think it’s because people either want to know what my favorite kind of food is or they want to immediately know what the best place in town is.  I think my favorite restaurant depends on a lot, but Vegas is home to a lot of very expensive restaurants that have dinners that are closer to experiences rather than meals.  So to me, having a “favorite” restaurant is different from saying something is the “best.”  Kabuto is in the running for both of these.

When you’re talking about most kinds of cuisine in town, there are rankings that people naturally talk about.  To me, Chada Thai is probably my favorite restaurant because of all the factors combined including price, location, how late it’s open, etc.  It edges out Lotus which some people say is blasphemy.  But the difference between the two is pretty close and I have no problem admitting that.

I can’t speak as to the great sushi restaurants in LA or NYC or Japan because I’ve never been there.  But I have been to most of the so called ‘good’ sushi restaurants in Las Vegas over the years and I can say without a moment’s hesitation that Kabuto is so far above everything else in town that you’ve basically been eating cat food all this time.  Those who have been to those major sushi hubs have told me that Kabuto is likely better than them.  This is mindblowing to me.  I hope one day I can experience those restaurants to know for myself, but I hope I can convince you that Kabuto is an experience that proves that chefs are worthy of our respect and admiration and food is more than just something to keep you living and breathing in between activities.

Cliffs: This shit is ART.

You only have to take a look at the building and see how plain and unadorned this is to know that they only care about making great sushi here.  I’ve never been to Japan, but most people say it’s like stepping back into Tokyo.

Including the hairy armed white guy with a baseball cap on. No, ESPECIALLY that guy.

They have an 8 seat bar and 2 small 4 person tables.  When you make reservations, specify the bar for maximum interaction with the chef.

You know how I like to say I like limited choices on a menu?  Kabuto turns it up to 11.  3 choices here.  I would advise anyone coming here for the first time opt for the largest menu to experience everything and repeat customers to get the smallest one and purchase a few a la carte pieces of nigiri at the end of the meal.  For the purposes of this review however (lol yeah that’s it, they’ll believe that), I and my dinner companions opted for the large menu.

Excuse me, I don’t see the option for “I’m not leaving until all the fish in this building are inside me.”

Also, if anyone enjoys a good ginger ale, they carry a Japanese brand called Wilkinson made by Asahi which is closer to a ginger beer than the extremely sweet versions found in the US.  Sip it slowly, for it will knock you on your ass.

Wilkinson: From so far east it’s back in the west again.

Very first up, they serve a cherry sake made by the chef himself.  This is something I always forget about.  It’s a small glass with small pieces of crushed ice on top almost making it feel like a sorbet.  Extremely cold and very pleasant to drink, this goes fast.  It only has 2% alcohol so even a lightweight like me can barely notice the alcohol.

My request for a gallon jug was denied.

The small appetizer plate has a large variety of different items I’ve never had before.  King squid, orange clam, fresh scallop and monkfish liver served with pickled Japanese cucumber, seaweed and currant leaf.  To be honest I had no expectations of basically anything on this plate going into it which is always nice.  Most things served at Kabuto are things you can’t get in a normal sushi restaurant since they constantly change their menu to what they have that’s at its peak in the restaurant.  The squid, clam and scallop were all sliced very thin and had a very nice briny flavor with just a dab of seasoning around them.  Very subtle flavors which is what Japan is great at.  The pickles and seaweed added some great texture and the monkfish liver was a serious delight.  When they were cutting it, it looked like foie gras which makes sense.  It was very fatty and luscious but not overpowering which liver sometimes is.

I feel privileged and yet unworthy.

I’ll be honest, since I haven’t experienced what can be considered a ‘bad’ version of these items, it’s hard for me to say they’re ‘blow you away good.’  This might be the weakest course of the menu but it’s certainly no slouch.  I would be happy to eat this at any meal, but the real gems come later.

The sashimi course is next, and I really enjoyed it.  Starting from the left and going clockwise, there is bluefin tuna, winter butterfish, a Seattle oyster with ponzu sauce, sweet shrimp, and giant octopus. Served with a side of aged soy sauce that tastes like it came from an oak barrel.

LOOK AT THAT BLUEFIN. JUST LOOK AT IT.

I would drink the soy sauce like wine.  The wasabi they use in this restaurant is real wasabi root rather than the green powdered stuff they use in most American sushi restaurants that’s literally just horseradish and food coloring.  The bluefin is definitely the best sashimi I have ever had.  Absolutely huge depth in flavor, texture is perfect and goes perfectly with the wasabi.  The butterfish is something I’ve never had before and it definitely lived up to its name.  It almost feels like it starts to melt in your mouth and it was cut super thin so it almost vanished after a few chews.  The oyster’s texture is unlike any I’ve had before with the ponzu sauce adding to the briny flavor without taking away.  The sweet shrimp was definitely the best I’ve had, without the rubbery texture that normally accompanies a lot of raw shrimp.  The giant octopus was probably the most subtly flavored item.  I don’t think I know enough about octopus to truly appreciate it and to my palate it was by far the most dull of the flavors on the plate.

The last dish before the nigiri is a grill plate of several different meats.  Top left and going clockwise, there’s seared fatty tuna topped with ponzu, sea snail, snapper with a sweet miso sauce, Japanese seabass, and seared kobe beef with scallions.

“THE SNAIL GAVE US A BAD REVIEW, FIVE STARS OR ELSE.”

All 4 of the meats were phenomenal.  Taste comes out much better in warm foods though the texture changes completely and some things can be lost.  The ponzu overpowers a bit of the natural fatty tuna flavor but the fat starts to melt and it still stands strong.  The sweet miso sauce is absolutely delicious and though they say it’s sweet it’s also delightfully savory as well.  The seabass is very briny with a bit of a crispy skin top.  I made a remark to my friends with me that it’s rare that beef is the lightest thing on the plate when it’s with 4 pieces of seafood but it was definitely the case here.  It’s very thinly sliced kobe rolled around herbs and is definitely the most refreshing thing on the menu compared to the heavier flavors of the cooked fish.

I must say that though I am not a sea snail connoisseur, I do not understand the allure here.  The texture was slightly rubbery and though the flavor and seasoning was fine, there was a definite grittiness in the snail that was very offputting and not something that I enjoy with shellfish.  The only absolute letdown of the night in my opinion.

To be honest, the next course is a complete barrage of absolutely incredible nigiri.  I won’t do a review on every single piece because I really think that it’s impossible to describe just how perfect every bite is.  Please look at each picture though to just see the beauty of what they created.

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However, I feel as though it is right to speak of this one piece on its own.

Fatty tuna (O-Toro)

This.  THIS THING RIGHT HERE.  I think this may be the best bite of food I have ever had in my entire life.  That’s really saying something.  It’s perfectly seasoned, perfectly textured.  You take a bite and it starts to melt like butter and release all the amazing juices inside of it.  It’s soft but not too soft and the rice adds this amazingly warm finish to everything that just makes you wish you had a whole barrel of this stuff.  Absolutely incredible.  I’ve had shitty o-toro and I’ve had good o-toro, but this is in a class all on its own.  This is the Guernica of fish.  A masterpiece.

It’s hard to really talk about just how awesome all these items are.  I won’t say that everyone needs to try these things because you have to want to appreciate great sushi before you can really find it as mindblowing as possible, but I can’t imagine there ever being better in Las Vegas.

After all those small bites of amazingness occurred, we are left with a few courses to end the meal.  First up was a miso soup with mushrooms.

THERE MUST BE TORO SOMEWHERE IN HERE.

Though it’s good miso soup, it’s hard to find it too impressive after the previous minutes were full of such joy and wonder.  Dessert, however…

oh hey im just sittin here bein ice cream

The desserts available constantly change, but I’m a sucker for black sesame ice cream. It’s very hard to describe the flavor to someone who’s never had it.  It’s something like chocolate and something like nuts but absolutely not either one of them. They actually top the scoop of ice cream with a grind of black sea salt which really made the texture something interesting and brought it to the next level.  I think it was my dessert of choice of all the times I’ve been here.

Thus concludes my quarterly trip to the best sushi place in Las Vegas, possibly the west coast, possibly the country?  I’ve heard bold claims affirming and contradicting that statement but the fact that it’s even up for debate is really something.  The whole meal including several extra pieces of nigiri, ginger ales and tip came to $175 a person which for such an experience is not something to begrudge.  At most places it could easily be 2 or 3 times that amount.  In a casino, there’s no way they could possibly charge so little for such a perfect meal.  But that’s because just like everywhere else awesome, Kabuto is in a shitty strip mall.

As a final note, I will say that a place such as this may not be for everyone. I think sushi is a style of food that favors those who are not looking for a tasty thing to eat but something more expressive of the chef and the ingredients.  I know it sounds condescending or dramatic to say it, but I truly feel like a place like this is something special and the chef is a true artist and not everyone can appreciate fine art. But I truly invite everyone to go and to let me know what you think because when you get right down to it, there’s probably no better meal in the city of Las Vegas.

Address: 5040 W Spring Mountain Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89146

Phone:(702) 676-1044

Hours: Open Monday – Saturday · 6:00 – 10:30 pm

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