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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Open daily 5 PM – 10 PM