You know I'm not a huge fan of Las Vegas or celebrity chefs. Having eaten at restaurants owned by Emeril and Bobby Flay, I always left less than impressed. But a recent business trip to Vegas brought me to Gordon Ramsay's Steak located in the Paris Las Vegas casino. And wow, did he knock it out of the park! I'm not a huge steak-house fan, I feel they are over-priced for what you get and Steak is no different. But the execution and service makes the price-tag all the more bearable!
Out in front of Steak you'll get a taste of what the place is all about. A hostess stand with young leggy women all dressed in black. Reminds me of the old 80's video from Robert Palmer, Addicted to Love. The entrance to Steak is supposed to represent the Chunnel linking Paris to London, very cool! Step through the industrial circular entrance into the crimson lounge area. Lots of black, red, a bit modern a bit minimalistic. Overhead there's a Union Jack on the ceiling accented with a red-lit, sculpture, I'm pretty certain that the color red is supposed to stimulate the appetite, let's eat! Staff in front is again, mostly young ladies wearing sheer black tops, seamed stockings presenting a bit of a old-school Brit look.
After a 10 minute wait we're brought into the main dining room which is more traditional creams and tans with a large open kitchen on the side. We get a low curved booth right in front of all the action. Meaty, savory scents overload your nostrils and you can just about taste the prime rib from 10' away. Staff in the back is primarily men decked out in blue oxfords with white collars, a traditional British look. Our wine list is presented on an iPad but ordered in person, they've got the typical $350 bottles but more affordable wines in the $50 - $100 range. Let's just say that Steak is as much about the presentation as it is about the food. Lots of beautiful people on display and everything is done with a flourish. While there is a $130 tasting menu, it requires the whole table to buy in so we passed.
A bread basket is brought out and you know you're in for something special right off the bat. Lemon kissed focaccia, small mushroom pinwheels and a walnut bread with stilton cheese on the side. The mushroom pinwheel was amazingly soft inside and looked like a mini cinnamon bun. Bite into it and you get a burst of rich, earthy mushroom flavor, great stuff! A steak cart is brought out to showcase all the prime meats on the menu. Mirrors are propped up overhead so you can see the fat marbling from the table. Thick, dry-aged beautiful meats from Pat LaFrieda. Given that I'm not a huge fan of Las Vegas and not sure if I'll ever get back, I order it up, going with a Kurobuta pork belly app, 56 oz. bone-in rib-eye and a side of fingerling potatoes.
My app arrives and there's this beautiful glazed rectangular slice of pork belly. Candied kumquat, cauliflower puree as a side sauce, I fork a piece into my mouth and bam. You get that roll of the eyeballs backwards and all your senses are on high alert! Luscious creamy, fatty pork coating your tongue, it literally melts in your mouth. I grab another taste and make sure I get some sauce with it and bam, there it goes again! At this point the app is so rich I offer it up to my dining mates just to prevent myself from overdosing on the meal. Could've eaten more but that would not have been a smart idea with so much food to go...
My main shows up and it's a HUGE steak, 1" thick with a charred crusty and some greens as a visual accent. My side of fingerling potatoes arrives in a stainless steel crock, browned potatoes covered in shards of Parmesan. Whoa! Can't get much better than meat and potatoes but yeah, Gordon's gonna to take it to the next level. The rib-eye is well marbled and full of meaty deliciousness. The thickness works just right and the char on top adds to the flavor profile. The steak is cooked perfectly with an even pink in the middle. Not a bad deal for the $58. The fingerling potatoes are FAN-tastic! Wilted just a bit with plenty of sweetness, the soft potato texture and cheese make for an outstanding side, you can share them here and probably should at $12 a pop.
So I barely get halfway through the steak and it's time to end the meal. I order up a coffee, my dining mate orders up the famous sticky toffee pudding and yeah, we're talking about a VERY happy ending. My coffee is french-pressed and comes with three spoons, truffles melted at the ends. I'm pretty sure you're supposed to stir them into the coffee but I just wolf them down, delish! And the toffee pudding?! A large mound of rich, flavorful moist pudding with a partially melted stick of brown sugar ice cream on the side. No joke, take a spoon of pudding, dab some ice cream on and again, the eye-roll happens again, you can't even stop it from happening.
What can I say but Gordon Ramsay taught me a lesson at Steak, don't doubt his credentials because there were too many foodie orgasm moments throughout the meal. While the decor and staff may be a bit over the top for my tastes, the food delivered flavor, texture and deliciousness in spades. And the presentation and showmanship was outstanding, a slow clap to the staff here. While we weren't high rollers, we still dropped $150/person and I can say it was mostly worth it. If you are really conservative, you should be able to get out of here for under $100 but what's the fun in that? It's Las Vegas so it's time to over-indulge, baby! In this case what happens in Vegas, comes back home with me. Because I'm going to be dreaming about this meal for months, bon appetit!
Las Vegas, NV