Carve - Mixed Review
In a quick search I didn’t find any Hound reviews for Carve so……
My in-laws were in town again and wanted to get prime rib. Not being a prime rib fanatic, I didn’t have an off the top of my head recommendation based on personal experience. After a bit of on-line research we decided to try Carve at the East Side Cannery. It had received very favorable reviews on several sites. Reservations were made using Open Table, corkage was confirmed at $15/bottle and the dress code was described as “casual”. We were promptly greeted and seated in a dimly lit dining room.
We had looked over the on-line menu prior to arrival and had pretty much made up our minds by the time we sat down. The bread basket arrived and there was a nice selection of breads to include walnut, pretzel, whole grain, a flat bread and some sliced french baguettes. The bread was good, not great, but good. We ordered the following: Calamari ($8), Carve Salad ($6), Lobster Bisque ($8), Onion Soup ($6), Prime Rib ($19 – 12 oz; $24 – 16 oz.; $29 – 20 oz.) and Chicken Marsala ($18).
The soups, salad and calamari were promptly served. The soups were both very good; the bisque had a velvety texture and wonderful flavor; the onion had a very deep flavor and was not overly salty with lots of stringy cheese – our daughter loved it. The salad was adequate as was the calamari. The calamari was well prepared, but served with two sauces that didn’t do much for it (cocktail and caper aioli). My wife ranked the dish as “average” at best. Four of us ordered the prime rib and the serving size varied from 12 oz “Junior” to the 20 oz “Colossal”. All were ordered medium rare. Two of us opted for the baked sweet potato, while the other two went with the mashed potatoes and baked potato option (no additional charge for the side). A grilled tomato was also served with each prime rib dinner. My first serving was more “medium/medium well” but the waiter promptly brought out a very large replacement at the requested temperature. Overall, the prime rib was “good”, but certainly not one of the better pieces of meat I have eaten. My in-laws both commented on the meat being “a bit tough” and none of us cared for the au jus. The au jus was more of a sauce, very thick and over powering in flavor. We were offered both raw horseradish and horseradish cream. The Chicken Marsala was again “average” and served with pasta. The pasta was overcooked and appeared to have been cooked for quite some time prior to serving. We had a dessert at home, so none was ordered.
As a side note, our server (Roy) was top notch. He knew the menu well and was very attentive. In addition, the wait staff overall was very quick to fill water glasses and clear away plates. My only negative observation was that some of the wait staff was not as well trained as they could have been (e.g. reaching across a plate to pick up an empty rather than going to the other side of the diner).
The pricing was about what I expected for an off-strip casino steakhouse, but the quality fell short when compared to some meals I have eaten at Station locations.
We have dined at Carve 3 times since the casino opened and, on each visit, at least one of us has ordered the 12-ounce prime rib. I agree Sonoma Cellar (Sunset Station) and Austin's (Texas Station) offer a finer dining experience, but prices are higher as well. For the price, particularly when using a discounted gift certificate, we found the food and service to be good.
I do not believe the au jus was a thick sauce as you describe so I wonder if there hasn't been a change in chefs?
Here are my TR notes for our past 2 visits:
12/10 This is one budget steakhouse that does not disappoint. We were started with a basket of warm bread and then shared a warm spinach salad with bacon dressing, mushrooms, hard boiled egg and red onions. Our 12 ounce prime rib entrees were served medium rare as requested with au jus and a horseradish sauce. Accompaniments included a grilled tomato and baked sweet potato with maple butter on the side. Our spinach salads and entrees were very good. ($28.46, Restaurant.com, 4 Forks)
03/11 Though it was Saturday night, the room was less than ½ full which is disappointing given its high quality/price ratio. We shared a delicious warm spinach salad which included mushrooms, red onions, hard boiled egg and a sweet bacon dressing. We each ordered junior (12 ounce) cut prime ribs which were perfectly cooked, tender and delicious. Each was accompanied by au jus, a tangy horseradish-based sauce, grilled tomato and choice of starch (A=mashed potato, W=sweet potato). The maître d comped us each a dessert as an apology for not comping Ann in December when we dined at the restaurant on her birthday. Mine was a slice of dense chocolate mousse while Ann’s was a very heavy, dense chocolate bomb. ($33.40, Restaurant.com, 3.5 Forks)
THE best prime rib is at Primarily Prime Rib located at the South Point Casino. Cajun style is fantastic. Atmosphere is great as well as service. Very reasonable prices. Second goes to Prime Rib Loft at The Orleans ( used to be no. 1 ). Don't go there and order chicken. It's a prime rib joint. Going to vegas in April and both are on the list. Both serve Atomic Horse Radish which is fantastic.