Is there anywhere more romantic than the grand canals of Venice for an evening meal? This was a second visit for me to Delmonico but it meant so much more as my fiancé was experiencing the wonderful food that a Emril Lasagsse restaurant offers. Not dissimilar to James Martin, Emril learnt his craft in pastry but swiftly moved on to become a world class chef, passionate about ingredients.
Delmonico Steakhouse opened in 1999 and whenever I speak to fellow foodies while on holiday in Vegas they always rave about this place. It comes as no surprise that one of the best restaurants in Las Vegas is located it this stunning hotel.
We booked for 9pm and had a short walk from the Mirage and wandered through the beautiful italian styled casino. We arrived slightly ahead of our reservation and joined other diners in the bar area while our table was prepared.
We ordered some pre-dinner drinks and within 5 minutes our hostess led us into the warmly lit dining room. I often wondered why this function is needed as the young lady did not carry our drinks not really very hospitable.
We were seated in the first room in with a wonderful view of the main restaurant (the kitchens are tucked away here, so no viewings of the Chefs’ in full throttle). We were welcomed to our table by our waiter, Drew, who advised us of the house specialities for that evening and that Michael would be our Maitre’d guiding us through the menu until our order.
The wine list was the most extensive I have ever seen with plenty of choices for the high rollers. We selected a reasonable priced Argentine Malbec Casarena Reserva 2012 for $45.00. This wine is produced by Casarena in Mendoza, the largest region in Argentina for the Malbec grape and this wine is known for its big sweet black fruit flavours.
We moved onto the menu, which as you would expect was not as extensive, but offered an excellent selection to please any carnivore. For us it was an easy choice, we’d come to a steakhouse and we were not going to take a different direction other than maybe a lighter starter.
The Maitre’d, Michael returned to take our order of Vine Ripened Heirloom Tomato Salad ($18) to share followed by a glorious Chateaubriand with asparagus and smashed garlic potatoes.
Anyone with OCD look away now, as the sight of this cucumber being slightly right of centre might drive you nuts. The amouse-bouche (or if you prefer hors d’eouvre ,some say the former is for a bite size portion but I thought the latter was supposed to be bite sized too) was a slice of cucumber with a blackeye-pea humous; a welcome palate cleanser between our cocktails and malbec.
The bread served gave us a smile and a slight chuckle as their “Mushroom Bread” (as announced) was indeed a Yorkshire Pudding, maybe not the norm but then we are in Vegas and this city anyting but normal. The Mushroom Bread was served with a salted butter so possibly the most calorific bread basket I’ve ever been had. I love butter, but even I draw the line at buttering Yorkshire Puddings!
The atmosphere of Delmonico is warm and cosy despite the size of the restaurant and the front of house team are well-balanced in their style between formal and friendly. Diners ranged from large tables of men only (clearly on a stag celebration; or should I say bachelor) but not so that it interfered with the smaller tables or couples. We were within one of the larger alcoves with two other couples and as the tables have good spacing you could hear soft conversation without feeling overlooked (unlike Gordon Ramsey Steak at Paris).
The Heirloom Tomato salad was served just in time to hold off our hunger for the main event. Priced at $18 a plate I had high expectations for this salad with slices of burrata cheese, red onions, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, olive oil and slithers of fresh basil. Burrata, meaning buttered, gives you a wonderfully creamier texture compared to mozzarella; a cheese often served with tomatoes, but don’t confuse the two as they are different.
The salad was divine a fabulous mix of tart, sweet and creamy and a serving more than enough for us to share. I would not normally choose tomato based salads but Delominco’s changed my view and certainly set the bar very high.
We were cleared and waited for our Chateuabriand, a fillet which was raised naturally by Creekstones Farm in Kansas (the home of my favourite fictional heroine). The term naturally raised is what we in the UK call organic, some cattle in North America can be fed growth hormones and feed which is genetically modified.
Drew arrived centre stage and presented the Chateaubriand and as flambeau work commenced our fellow diners were drawn to the watch the gentle basting of those rich meat juices over our fillet. I wondered if these diners, who had opted for the larger portioned creole steaks, looked on with intrigue or envy?
This Kansas reared fillet was as good as any I have ever eaten – no wonder Dorothy uttered those immortal words “there’s no place like home”
The accompaniments were just perfect; the asparagus was crisp and perky in contrast to the smashed potatoes which oozed a salty butter and warm garlic flavour. As I write this review a month on I swear I can recall every tender bite and flavour of this simple yet glorious meal.
Despite being tempted with a wonderful sweet menu we had no room for dessert and politely declined. The team at Delmonico thought better and presented us with a complementary sorbet to cleanse our pallets, a lovely touch to end a fantastic dining experience. The bill was $198 before a gratuity, about £150 at the time of the exchange rate and worth every penny.
I sit on my couch back in England on this cold autumn day dreaming of our return to this fabulous restaurant or to another Emeril Palace. Just maybe, if I click my heels, I too can return to savour this fine Kansas beef.