Our picks for the best Las Vegas steakhouses

Posted by on Mar 8th, 2012 and filed under Dining, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

From an old-school standard to the noisy new kid on the block, steakhouses are one of the most popular types of restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip. Every major hotel has at least one steakhouse, and some even have two.

To help you make your decision, here are a few things to look for when choosing your steak:

  • Good marbling: Those veins of fat that run through your steak might not be Jenny Craig friendly, but they’re what make your steak taste good.
  • Aging: If a restaurant has its own aging room or does its own dry-aging, that’s a good sign. But generally speaking, aging on a steak controls the texture of the beef. Some fine steakhouses in Vegas will use 28-day dry-aged beef, which gives it a tender texture and a more concentrated gamy flavor.
  • Feed: If you’ve ever looked at a menu and seen “grass fed” or “corn fed” next to a cut of beef, it’s because what the animals eat, particularly in the last few months, helps determine the intensity of flavor and the marbling. For example, if an animal is grass-fed, the steaks take on a bolder flavor, but also contains less marbling.

If you’re on vacation, you should try one of Vegas’ steakhouses. Here is a list to help you navigate your way to a tailored beefy experience.

Going back to the old-school

The Steak House at Circus Circus is one of the longest running steakhouses in Vegas, with 30 years in service. The restaurant was named Zagat’s 2011 Top Steakhouse in Las Vegas. Maybe because of their fine quality steaks, cooked on a charcoal grill in the middle of the restaurant.

“The charcoal imparts a great flavor you don’t get from gas,” says Robert O’Brien, Executive Chef of Circus Circus.

O’Brien has been at Circus Circus and involved with the steakhouse for 13 years. Even though that’s a long time by Vegas standards, he considers himself a youngster. O’Brien explains there are servers that have been at the restaurant more than twice as long, for 25 and 27 years. Long-time patrons coming to Vegas even call ahead to make sure their favorite waiter is at the restaurant.

That commitment to familiarity also carries over into the food. O’Brien recalls the time he tried to change the plating of the tiramisu. He was told the guests hated it because it looked different, even though it was the same tiramisu recipe.

“We’ve tried a few new things and it just doesn’t work. This is who we are. If I find a good place to eat, I’ll go there all the time. I’d rather know what I’m going to get and I think our customers are that way too,” says O’Brien.

One of The Steak House’s best features is the value. When you order a steak, it comes with bread, a soup or salad, vegetable and a starch. Most steakhouses on the Las Vegas Strip serve appetizers, salads and sides separately from steaks.

As for why The Steak House has been so popular for so long, O’Brien has a theory:

“I think it’s everything, the whole package. It’s the room itself, which really hasn’t been changed, it’s a traditional, old-school steakhouse. The steaks are still a choice steak. The waiters and waitresses are incredible, the cooks on the line—you put that all together, you can’t buy that.”

New kid on the block

STK Chef Stephen Hopcraft cooks delicious steaks, sides and appetizers. But beyond the foie gras French toast, lies a vibrant, alluring atmosphere with undulating curvy walls, plush booths and a party that appears to never end. If you’re getting ready to go out for a night of clubbing, this would be your first stop — but it also may be your last. STK’s lounge features DJ’s spinning music, so after you finish your meal, you’d never really need to leave.

One of the best features of STK is the portions. Most of the steaks come in small cuts and extra large cuts, so whether you want a small main course or a huge meal, STK can accommodate your appetite and budget.

Picanha, a signature cut of beef at Fogo de Chão.

Turning up the heat

Brazilian Churrascarias are  fun, interactive steakhouses that are part buffet and part sit-down restaurant. Churrascarias such as Fogo de Chão on Flamingo and Texas de Brazil in Town Square contain a salad bar buffet where you can help yourself to assorted cold cuts, cheeses and salad items.

At Fogo de Chão, meats are cooked over an open flame and served on a long skewer by gauchos (Brazilian cowboys), who come by your table as soon as you flip a coin to the green side. This parade of Brazilian meats includes Picanha, Brazilian top sirloin with salt and garlic and bacon-wrapped filet mignon.

Porterhouse and pirates

Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro in The Palazzo  has one of the best views on our list. From Morels’ patio, you have a great view of the Sirens of TI show and the Las Vegas Strip. In addition to the view, Morels has great steaks, a large wine list including by-the-glass and cheese fondue for a starter.

Pricey but precious

Any restaurant that flies their butcher in to chat about their beef must have a pretty good product.

Old Homestead Steakhouse (already a New York institution) recently opened in Caesars Palace. The space is modern, but the food is traditional steakhouse fare — crab cakes, a raw bar filled with chilled seafood and steaks — really good steaks. Old Homestead sources its beef from Pat LaFrieda, the famous butcher. Steaks at Old Homestead are USDA prime and dry aged for a minimum of 30 days.

While a meal at Old Homestead isn’t cheap (appetizers average $18, steaks average $60 and sides are $12,) with beef this good, it might be worth the splurge.

Oh, and did we mention the duck fat fries and tater tots?

Tender Steakhouse's 20-ounce bone-in ribeye.

Location, location, loc — steak

At Tender Steak & Seafood at the Luxor, the steaks are aged 28 days for dry aged beef and 28 – 35 days for wet aged beef. They even have a 60-day wet-aged New York strip steak. Most importantly, the staff can talk shop when it comes to steak and help you decide from among their wide array of beef options sourced from several farms and locations to satisfy the most discriminating taste buds.

Master of the Craft

Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak at MGM Grand has steak down to a science. The large restaurant, perfect for groups and parties, has a variety of steaks and cuts of beef seared to perfection. Of course, having bragging rights to say you dined at the Top Chef judge’s restaurant isn’t too bad either.

Go on, give it a stab

Carnevino at The Palazzo is a huge steakhouse, with multiple private dining rooms and mouth-watering steaks. The restaurant is the fusion of Celebrity Chef Mario Batali and Wine Guru Joe Bastianich. Neither the menu nor the wine dissapoint, but a unique feature of the steakhouse is the well-guarded steak knives, worth around $65 each. Apparently, the staff has to do a knife count before and after each dinner service.

The off-Strip favorite

Billy Bob’s Steak House & Saloon at Sam’s Town isn’t a fancy steakhouse (think casual dress instead of dress to impress.) But any steakhouse that is as popular as Billy Bob’s, withstanding the test of time and frequented by locals, is worth a second look. It’s a great value with deals like the New York strip steak featured for the month of March. The steak  comes with butter, potato, soup or salad and bread for $22.

Would you like some steak with that shake?

Normally I wouldn’t be writing about a strip club when talking great steak. But hey, it’s Vegas — and stranger combinations have happened. Remember Heidi Klum + grotesque body costume last Halloween?

Treasures Gentlemen’s Club & Steakhouse is one part strip club, one part steakhouse — and apparently, the steaks are pretty good. Cuts of beef include a 28-ounce porterhouse, a 24-ounce ribeye and a New York strip steak, aged in-house.

Honorable mention:

  • The Steakhouse at Bally’s. Maitre ‘d Ilario Pesco has been with the restaurant for more than 30 years. He is the heart and soul of the steakhouse — always courteous and greets you with a welcoming smile. Oh yeah, and there are also great steaks.
  • Twin Creeks at the Silverton. In addition to having great steaks, Twin Creeks also has a great happy hour where cocktails and tapas are half off the already reasonable prices.
  • Stripsteak at Mandalay Bay is a Michael Mina steakhouse, with an in-house dry aging room and great cocktails.
  • The Range Steakhouse at Harrah’s has one of the best views on the  Strip. It also features escargot en croute — one of my favorite dishes.
  • Mon Ami Gabi French steakhouse at Paris Las Vegas is best known for its lively patio right on the Las Vegas Strip.
  • Botero at Wynn has great steaks and an excellent dessert menu featuring items like s’mores brioche donuts.
  • Charlie Palmer Steak at The Four Seasons has one of the best values in Las Vegas with its “Cut of the Week” menu, which features a weekly rotating appetizer, main course, sides, dessert and bottomless wine pairing for only $48.
  • CUT at the Palazzo is Wolfgang Puck’s stab at a steakhouse.
  • SW Steakhouse at Wynn has a front-row seat at the Lake of Dreams. Chef David Waltzog has perfected the art of a good steak. If you’re lucky, the server will march to your table while humming along to the Garth Brooks singin’ frog.
  • Brand at Monte Carlo. With an 8.6-pound porterhouse on their menu, Brand’s argument is size does matter.
  • Gallagher’s at New York-New York has their aging room located by the front entrance of the restaurant.
  • 35 Steaks & Martinis at Hard Rock. Kudos to the Hard Rock for creating a restaurant on property where people 24 and over feel comfortable dining. Extra kudos for having a great cocktail program, including spherical ice.
  • The Golden Steer on Sahara. It’s hard to not include The Golden Steer. A Vegas staple, The Golden Steer has served the likes of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and countless others for years.
  • Hank’s at Green Valley Ranch Resort. Hank’s is a local’s favorite but is conveniently located in a hotel. The half-off martini happy hour isn’t bad, either.
  • Fleming’s at 8721 W. Charleston Blvd.  in Summerlin. Fleming’s is a local’s favorite. The restaurant is constantly involved in the community and charity efforts and for that alone, deserves mention.

 

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