Vegas: SW Steakhouse review, long
This is the 1st of several reviews I will post over the next week or so. And it is probably the easiest to write. Our group decided that we wanted to eat steak Friday night and we wanted to be close to the Venetian as we all wanted to try and play a poker tournament that started @ 8pm. We chose SW due to its proximity to the Venetian (personally I wanted to try CUT as I had read several good reviews but one in our party had lobbied hard for SW).
The restaurant is very beautiful. Its location @ the Wynn in front of the huge man-made waterfall is ideal. We opted for a table on the patio outside. I wont go into specifics about the ambiance other than to say it was very pleasant.
I ordered the special appetizer of quickly seared Toro, the bone in NY Strip, creamed spinach and the au gratin potatoes. I love Toro in all forms and this dish sounded intriguing in its preparation. However the execution was another story. It was a fairly tiny piece of Toro that was cut into pieces that were about 1/4" thick and about as round as a penny. All in all there were 8 pieces. Each was heavily coated with an herb mixture that was laden with salt. It was all plated on top of what I believe was a balsamic based syrup. All the herbs and the cloying sweetness of the syrup really made it hard to taste the Toro, although I was able to pick up a fairly fishy bite. Now before everyone says something like, "well after all you were eating fish", I am not sure I have had that taste before. I have eaten several forms of Toro (chutoro, otoro) both raw and cooked but never have had the fishy component that this Toro had. Several at the table ordered salads. Whether it be Caesar or chopped, they all seemed to enjoy them although nobody went out of their way to comment either way about the salads.
Onto the steaks. Of the 7 people at the table we ordered 6 steaks (the other person opted for a Tuna Steak), 3 bone-in NY Strips, 2 Rib Eyes and one Filet. I am a purist and like a steak w/a good crust, properly seasoned. And before I go into my steak, the others at the table seemed to enjoy their steaks. No raves, no "this is the best steak" comment, just quiet satisfaction. I on the other hand (along with my friend to my right) was nowhere near satisfied. My 1st observation was that this $50 20oz steak looked more like a 12-16oz to me. Yes I know the whole "20oz before it is cooked" but I would be will to wager that this steak was well shy of the 20oz it was described. As I picked up my knife and fork the 1st thing I did was to feel the density of the steak and it seemed a little to firm to my touch to be a medium rare steak, which is what was ordered by both myself and my friend. And a simple cut into the steak confirmed this. I am not one to make a big production about an over cooked steak but my friend is. And given that he was about to send his back, I figured it was the right thing to do. When we got the attention of or waiter, he said, "why don’t you cut into the steak further as the lighting out here really doesn't illuminate the flesh all that well and I am sure you will find it to your liking. If not I will take it back to the kitchen." Really? No I am sorry sir I will get you another or I am sorry and I will make it right? Nope. More, "I think you are wrong you ignorant patron and I will prove you wrong attitude" that really rubbed us the wrong way. And I will say he was NOT rude in his delivery per se, but more of the tone to which he used with us. But come on, @ $50 per steak if the customer feels his steak is improperly cooked you should ask NO questions and be done with it. So another cut I made and yet the same gray interior (I may be 44 and I may not have the best eye sight anymore but I will reassure you, my steak was nowhere near medium rare.
When the steaks came back out you could immediately tell by feel and appearance that they were cooked medium rare (if not closer to rare, and I do not at all fault ANYONE for such!). And one cut into it confirmed this. So away I ate. The steak had a great crust to it and was seasoned...and seasoned...and seasoned. Was it too much salt? Yes, but not really bad. But what was that other flavor? It took me all of a nanosecond to identify that this steak was either brushed with bacon fat or seared in a pan that had some sort of bacon product in/on/around it. Not that I do not like the flavor of bacon but not on my steak. If I want that I will order that. If I am being overly critical I am sorry but if a restaurant is overly charging me, I expect it to get things right. Once past the taste of bacon (could that have been the reasoning behind what I think was an overly salted steak? I guess it is not beyond the realm of possibilities. Could be salted properly but then throw it in a pan or brush it w/bacon fat...just a thought.) the steak had good flavor. Not the dry aged prime gamey flavor that I use as a benchmark for all steaks (ala Peter Lugers in NYC). And finally (I hope I have not lost all of you!) the side dishes. The creamed spinach had a great consistency and flavor over all was very good to excellent. Possibly too much cheese which contributed to...you guessed it...it being to salty. I am not a salt-a-phobe in the least but they seemed a little too liberal with its use. And the au gratin potatoes...OMG the au gratin potatoes!!! Sinfully delicious, creamy and oozy w/just the right amount of cheese/cream ratio. And since I bashed everything else I guess I will bash the sides a little. For $10 a side I thought the were puny portions. But after all, it is Vegas Baby!!!
Thanks LVI -
We rarely go to a steak place when we travel (there's a great one here), but for our upcoming trip I've been considering trying one - I was thinking Craftsteak or Nob Hill. For what it's worth - your Toro should not have been fishy and your steak should have been taken back with out questions!
I'm looking forward to the rest of your reviews - thanks again!