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an honest look at vegas steak

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  • usagi Jan 1, 2014 11:32 AM
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Hi, I do apologize that it took a while for my wife and I to give this comment. We are hoping it may help anyone perplexed by the miriad of great choices of steak in Vegas. It is a good town, it is a great meat town, but you can eat a bad steak if you are not careful. Please be careful.

For simplicity we will go South to North, based on hotel. We will leave some out; based on word of mouth and/or newness, we have not yet visited certain establishments.

Mandalay: Stripsteak - A fabulous execution. Only place on the Strip proper to age on site. Only site to sous vide. Nonetheless, very rich. Great wine list. Fab service. Very casual atmosphere.

Luxor - Don't eat the steak. The apps were great, especially the mixed game meat. It is definitely worth just going there for that app. Service overly fast. Steak overdone; rare place where we sent steak back as over cooked. Service just ok. Casual.

MGM - Stripsteak. Not good. Avoid. Over salted. End of story (unusal for us to issue this opinion).

Smith & Wollensky. Mixed. Back in 2011 it was amazing; lately, not so much. Hard to recommend now with all the other amazing places.

Aria - Jean Georges. Meat- No. Everything else- Yes. It's a fun place with great service and a fabulous wine list. The meat, though, was just too over cooked.

Paris - Eiffel Tower - Great view. Oh, did I say great view. Just go for the view, drink some wine and eat an app, then run away. It is a view that anyone and everyone should experience in Vegas; it is exquisite, but, that is, after all, thanks to Bellagio. The menu otherwise is not suited for my palate or my wife.

Paris- Ramsey - This is good. One of his international better successes. This is not Tokyo. This rocks. No misses here, from service to food to wine. This is easy top 10 steakhouse material. Highest praise!

Bellagio - Prime - Well, good points are there. Stick to the bar. Have a drink, an app, and well, go across the street (or better yet, next door to Picasso (my next dissection is Vegas French)).

Venetian - Delmonico - This is fabulous! Way better than the style in New Orleans, at least for my wife & I. Service was probably best ever. They actually followed up on us to see if enjoyed the meal 1 month later and then sent another letter, hand written, months later, requesting us to re-visit. We did not spend much money, so this was truly an effort upon their part to express their commitment to service. Easily top ten in Vegas per their food, however, probably all around at 4th place.

Cut. Wow. A hidden jem in Vegas. Way better than Beverly Hills. My wife and I consider it flawless here in Vegas, nonetheless missing some of the Vegas magic. Easily top 10. Just the neighbors outperform! It's like breeded dogs and mutts compared with LA; the Vegas establishment is truly outstanding.

Palazzo- No disclaimers, my favorite hotel to stay. An aside.
Carnevino. Now we have arrived. Do you eat? Do you eat Steak? Do you want to eat at the one steakhouse that defines Vegas? Defines Steak? That is Carnevino. I have never met Batali and probably never will. The food, wine, friend memories he has created at this Steak Heaven in Vegas are part of my existence. It is the highest praise I could ever give to a steak chef. Having spent much time with many of the staff, I am deeply grateful for every second in the restaurant, by myself, with my friends, with my business partners. To all my steak-wine friends. Easily best steak in Vegas. Easily best Italian wine list in America. Please pre-order the 18-month steak and have the staff pair a great wine with it. This is ultra-extreme steak in Vegas. This is the pinnacle.
I look forward to your comments.

Palazzo- Morels. Well, after the downstairs outfit, good luck! No, actually it's good. Balls to that chef. I'd like to meet and praise him.

Fashion Show - Capital Grille - Actually really very good. A bargain.

Wynn- SW - Quite nice; end comment.

Wynn- Switch - Avoid.

Circus - The Steakhouse- Really good! Never disappointing! Very pocket friendly. (Through the thread of DR Phil, lies the oasis of Steak; common knowledge from others in the know).

Golden Nugget - Vic&Anthony - Actually, best bargain in Vegas for a steak (sorry last on the list). Ask for Victor to serve you (best server in Vegas; trust me). The lobster is amazing; order in advance. I know you all may know better places back East, but this is best in Vegas. If I were to propose, celebrate marriage, celebrate a birthday, celebrate a funeral, die myself, celebrate anything, this is the best all around place in Vegas. Just ask for Victor to serve you.

Best to you all and looking forward to some very heated discussion. Heated words are most welcome; I'll still buy you a drink when we meet up, because no matter how different our opinions, we still just love food & drink.

To a very happy prosperous new year to us all!
usagi

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  1. Bellagio - Prime - Well, good points are there. Stick to the bar. Have a drink, an app, and well, go across the street (or better yet, next door to Picasso (my next dissection is Vegas French)).

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I enjoyed my Steak....and the Seafood Tower too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: fourunder

      +1. I ate at Prime not long after it opened, several times in between and was just there for a BD dinner.

      It is actually pretty impressive that this spot is still as popular after so many years in business.

    2. I'm sure I'll never go, but I enjoyed reading this. Thanks!

      1. Thanks for your report. If you had to choose between Ramsay or Delmonico, which would you recommend? I'd be dining solo, and my choice of beef is ribeye. Any thoughts on Tom Colicchio's new Heritage Steak at The Mirage (it may not have been open when you visited).

        24 Replies
        1. re: ellenost

          Knowing at least 3 persons I'd consider professional diners who enjoy steak, every single one would suggest that Carnevino, Heritage, and Ramsay are the three best - the later two competing for runner up to the former.

          A novice in terms of beef, personally, I'd suggest Carnevino is the best non-Japanese Wagyu I've had.

          ...and if you're interested, and can finally 'get over' wd~50, I'd gladly join you at Heritage as I've not yet been.

          http://endoedibles.com

          1. re: uhockey

            Who's paying these professional diners?

            1. re: fourunder

              They are. These are people who have retired and are essentially gastro-tourists (some actually publishing books and the like.) All have dined at literally 1000s of high end restaurants across the globe. All told, I've met each through my blog and all seem to agree that if you get the Riserva Steak or the signature Bone-In Ribeye, Carnevino is 'destination' worthy.

              http://endoedibles.com

            2. re: uhockey

              Since I'm not planning a visit to LV until November to try some of the special white truffle menus, I'm certain that you will have already dined at Heritage.

              1. re: ellenost

                Just the same, always happy to catch up. I've heard good things.

                http://endoedibles.com

                1. re: ellenost

                  We actually went to Carnevino again on 1/1. They had a white truffle special, $100 for 5g or about like that, which you can add to any of your dishes that nite. They were great and made for a great start to the year. As always, a perfect dinner. If you are into white truffles, Twist is my highest recommendation (more soon on a French comment soon).

                  1. re: usagi

                    $100 for 5g of white truffle is very expensive since I had 4g of white truffle at The NoMad in NYC (sister restaurant of Eleven Madison Park) for $36.

                    Twist's menu does look good too, and it seems that Chef Gagnaire has reduced the number of variations on a theme from 4 to 3 which was my complaint back in April 2010 that all of my dishes (foie gras and lobster) seemed to have one too many variations.

                    That's the reason I love LV: too many wonderful restaurants that I want to try with too little time.

                    1. re: ellenost

                      I love Twist and will comment in detail soon. I would like to agree with the remark that menu has decreased. I am close with the chef and speak his language; times are very tough. If you, like I, want to keep Chef Gagniere in Vegas, we as a community need to step up and eat and drink.

                      1. re: usagi

                        I still regret not making it to Alex while it is there. Would a solo diner feel welcomed at Twist? I have a business trip coming up, and my wife unfortunately cannot join me this time. I never dined solo at such up-scale places. Well I actually did at equally pricey Bar Charlie a few years ago, but that was perfect setup for a solo diner.

                        1. re: foggy_town

                          I dined solo at Twist during my first visit and have dined far/wide solo at places like TFL, Per Se, McCrady's, Robuchon, etc. They all do a wonderful job of catering to the individual diner, perhaps here in Vegas better than anywhere given the number of tourists.

                          http://endoedibles.com

                    2. re: usagi

                      Carnevino is charging $30 for 4g. Gagnaire was $30 for 6. Gagnaire is officially done with White Truffles for the year. NYE was the last day featuring them on the menu.

                      Regarding "reducing variations," Twist simply does what the chef desires - as he always has. There were variations with 1 satellite plate up to 5 last Saturday.

                      http://endoedibles.com

                2. re: ellenost

                  Hi,
                  Sorry for slow reply. Delmonico much larger and easier to get into. I'd prefer Delmonico, but my wife is a Ramsay fan. Ramsay you could sit in the bar and have fun; Delmonico you could easily get a table for yourself, which I would recommend compared to the bar at that place. My wife, based on her steak expertise, her review of Heritage's menu, and experience with Colicchio's places, refuses to go. Hopefully that helps.

                  1. re: usagi

                    Thanks. I would consider Carnevino but their ribeye is available only for 2. I prefer table seating so I'll check the menus of Delmonico, Ramsay, and Heritage to which looks best (right now Ramsay's menu is in the lead since he has the ribeye cap) and which one I can get a table reservation. I'm a long-time fan of Tom Colicchio from his days at Mondrian (pre-Gramercy Tavern) and had taken a foie gras class with him when he was at Gramercy Tavern.

                  2. re: ellenost

                    The ribeye at Heritage is fabulous- my most recent visit was Thursday night. If any of you do go, don't miss the Kennebec french fries. I've never had better.

                    I've been several times now, including once dining alone and this is a great new spot.

                    1. re: BubblyOne

                      Thanks. So it's seems it'll be a toss up between Heritage and Ramsay. Maybe I'll have to go to both :-). Still need to fit in Guy Savoy, Le Cirque and possibly Twist. Only planning 4 dinners, but I may need to add an extra night. The big question is what happens to Le Cirque after the Maccioni family is no longer involved; don't know whether it remains open.

                      1. re: ellenost

                        Have you tried to see if Evo (at LeC) will give you any hints? We'll be there next week and might try to see if there are any clues as to what the future may hold.

                        1. re: josephnl

                          Please let us know whether they/Ivo has any news about their future. It would be a shame if the restaurant closed. Maybe the Maccioni family will continue to license the name after they are no longer involved. Gordon Ramsay has done that with the NYC restaurant.

                          1. re: ellenost

                            The Ramsay restaurant that lost all its stars and reports claim to be overpriced and underperforming? I'm not sure we need more of those in Las Vegas.

                            Having had a really excellent meal at Circo last month I have to admit I'm disappointed it will be shuttering and the thought of losing Le Cirque is not a good one, but if persons with a vested interest are no longer involved and it simply becomes a plaque above the door I think it'd be best to reinvent the space....provided it isn't another Steakhouse or Gastropub.

                            Someone needs to lure Alex Stratta back...

                            http://endoedibles.com

                            1. re: uhockey

                              Really a shame about the Ramsay restaurant in NYC since my office moved down the block from it seven months ago. The two meals that I had eaten when Ramsay was involved were excellent, and it would have been great to have another quality restaurant nearby.

                              Circo NYC is in my office building, but I've only had two $28 prix fixe lunches which were good. Will need to try Circo for dinner.

                              Your suggestion about bringing Alex Stratta back to LV in the Bellagio may be the best idea that I will hear in 2014. Alex was my #1 restaurant, and having Chef Stratta bringing that level of food/service/decor to the Bellagio would definitely be a "win" for everyone.

                              1. re: uhockey

                                Bringing Alex Stratta to the Le Cirque space would be a real coup!!

                                1. re: josephnl

                                  There could be hopes of "Stratta on the Strip" in the future, but for now there will be a way to enjoy his talents in Las Vegas - he will be taking over again at Marche Bacchus on January 18, after David Middleton leaves to go to work for Daniel Boulud.

                                  1. re: QAW

                                    Well, this is good news indeed. I'd not heard!

                                    1. re: uhockey

                                      Call it a "mixed blessing". He will be in the kitchen until they hire another chef to run the show, and then will likely drop back to being a consultant. But with your Olympian brunch savvy, while the other processes run their course may you may find some wonderful opportunities in the weeks ahead.

                                      Now if only we could hire a hacker to erase resumes to Marche Bacchus to keep Alex in the kitchen indefinitely. Does that violate a Chowhound code, or does it exemplify one?

                      2. re: ellenost

                        Definitely Delmonico! if you are game, try the Chateaubirand; just don't let them re-cook it at table side. It is a true treat. Even if you are set on Ribeye; this is the place between the two. You will leave well fed, happy, and pocket well spent (in a good way).

                      3. Nicely written.

                        http://endoedibles.com

                        1. Thanks, I envy all this personal research you did. We ate at Delmonico's in November and my bone-in NY steak was excellent. I will get it without butter next time, as it was a bit too rich for me though delicious at the time.

                          1. Have you eaten at STK?

                            I've entertained there and had an outstanding steak. Service was top notch too.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: redips

                              I found STK to be highly mediocre compared to the other great options. And it wasn't just the blaring Black Eyed Peas soundtrack. The blue cheese bread was inedible. My steak tartare was bland and had no egg. My steak was forgettable. And the wine list was short and obvious. With so many other awesome options, like Carnevino and Delmonico, Ramsay and Stripsteak, I'll never go back.

                              1. re: redips

                                My wife and I walked to the concierge, then walked out. If you like steak with a true musical Boom, then by all means enjoy. We will never go back or venture to the similar site, SHE. Perhaps young and no hearing it's okay, but I enjoy my clubs after the meal.

                                1. re: usagi

                                  I am surprised, but good to know. Granted my visit was in an entertaining capacity, so our reservation was a little earlier, but my group had it's share of discerning food enthusiasts who enjoyed their meals. We also found the atmosphere to be lively but not unruly.

                              2. Thank you all to the very great replies. I have many personal comments and look forward to sending them soon. It is great that we can engage in this discussion in this time of year.

                                I did realize I left a lot of very good restaurants out of my list. It was 1/1 in the morning, it was hazy, I was thinking of the strip and the 9 bottles the night before.

                                So.

                                Let us not forget some very important contenders for good and other reasons:...

                                Four Seasons. Yes it's hidden. I had a quick dinner there. It was spotless. Great tartare, great wine. Any thoughts?

                                Let's go West...

                                Voodoo? I do. This place is awesome! Sit on that deck. Smoke your cigar! Great service, great food, a good wine, eat some frog legs (best in Vegas (yes, better than Bouchon did)! and...boom, you're in the balcony outside enjoying one of the best views in Vegas! Top ten steak for an all around!

                                Nine at the Palms... Well, don't bring your date. It's boy's night here. It's great food and the beautiful most steak waitresses in Vegas. End comment.

                                Let's walk up Paradise... Any thoughts?

                                Morton's? Yes, there are better Morton's. Yet, seriously, did you try that carpacchio? First time we ordered a second. This is fab! White wine sucks. Great place to be stuck in.

                                Del Frisco! Yes! Who bought this, because thank you! Best bone-in filet mignon. Say what? Yes, first I had here, and still the best. Great wine, great service. Yet, you must go, to see the James Bond wine table! Trust me, it's worth the whole dinner.

                                Now we're getting a little more esoteric.

                                Envy. Stay with me That place is a hidden gem. Great service, great food, great wine. They serve their steak with paired salts! Now 99.9% of you think I am crazy; I agree. Yet, it's the only place out of Japan that does this, where I've found and is good. Go. It's pocket friendly. Enjoy it!

                                LVH. Trust me. Try it. The steak is great! There is someone in that kitchen from the old days. They are doing great!

                                Going downtown?...avoid the Plaza; whow; bad steak from that great place. End comment

                                There is a place, which you all likely know, Lawry's; just avoid; it's great fun with no complaint. Just no Vegas why?! Sorry

                                A great debacle! Homestead at Cesear's! Yes! Yes! Yes! This is me, not them, they are truly fatly outstanding! A true new shiner.

                                On a steak strip we went to see Golden Steer. Bless their souls.

                                We are always up for a shout, Best,

                                1. I love this discussion. One question: is Carnevino fun? Would anyone here take a 10-12 person group for a great time as much as a great steak. Certain steakhouses are meant for a great time while others are more on the fine dining side and somewhat stuffy. Yes, I would put N9NE and STK in the "club" category with more of a party vibe, but I will admit that the one meal I had at STK was excellent from start to finish including the service. Most of the CHers know I love CUT. I have had consistently great meals at Delmonico's and have eaten at most of the steakhouses mentioned on this board - but not Carnevino. BTW, agree with you wholeheartedly on Prime and Stripsteak too.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: danieli10

                                    I went with 5 others - see my recently posted review - and we had a blast.

                                    http://endoedibles.com

                                    1. re: uhockey

                                      How much should one expect to pay pp for a nice dinner including drinks, a modest wine, tax and tip?

                                      1. re: josephnl

                                        Our group of 6, eating all that is listed in my review, plus 2 cocktails each and a bottle of decent $~100 wine was $1600 after tax/tip, but we ordered ridiculously heavy. I imagine the pp charge for a person can be under $150.

                                        http://endoedibles.com

                                    2. re: danieli10

                                      I regularly entertain clients here and have many friends that do the same. I also go here alone and with my wife. It is that good. The staff is very accommodating, so if you want to be boisterous that is fine; it is definitely not stuffy. My steak snob friends love this place. My friends who do not like steak love this place. Work and play discussions are easy to do here. Carnevino is truly the bomb. Just beware, it is expensive food wise, but the wine list is very user friendly.

                                      1. re: usagi

                                        Thank you for the feedback -exactly what I was looking for.

                                    3. Nice write up and will keep it for future reference. It is interesting that so many celebrity chefs have a steakhouse in LV, but only the seafood specialists Bartolotta and Moonen settled down. Hope you get around to write up on seafood houses.