Dining napkins set the mood listing the various cuts of steak while servers constantly clean wine glasses by hand. Why is it the attention given to polishing a wine stem by definition ups the level of fine dining a notch? Service figuratively set the table when they asked if we were on a timeline or had a show to run to so we didn't have to remember to alert them.
Apparently, Annabelle the cow wasn't the only artifact to make the moove from NY to NV. The walls of the bar-side dining area are covered with what we presume have never been used New York City manhole covers.
A few highlights of the menu from our server and our dining experience was underway. The raw bar came highly recommended regardless of the word steakhouse in the restaurant's name. A selection explained away by the fact that many visitors don't expect solid seafood in the desert, but perhaps a foreshadowing of the meal to come.
After a bit of a wait and a rather forgettable bread bowl not even cow head-shaped butter could have helped, the appetizers were delivered. A creamy Lobster Bisque ($15) of just the right thickness featured three big bites of lobster meat nestled on crispy, breaded beds protecting a center scoop of crème fraîche that complimented the flavors well. A somewhat filling appetizer, but worth every last drop.
Thick-cut smoked bacon was listed as a starter at $5 per piece. Bacon as a standalone appetizer? Yes, please. The bacon was certainly thick and perhaps four to five inches in length but could've been just as easily advertised as toasted, slightly smoked ham. Nothing wrong in that, but not an app to rush back for more of, either.
Don't worry, we're getting to the main event. But first let us tell you how much this picture of the Potato Gnocchi with Truffle Butter side ($12) doesn't do it justice. Truffles, truffle butter, and truffle oil are in danger of becoming as common to dishes as salt is to French fries, but here it works and works well. The gnocchi was rich, buttery perfection.
And now for the featured presentation. The Signature 16 oz Filet Mignon on the Bone ($58). Is that not one of the finest specimens of meat you've ever laid your eyes on? Thick. Juicy-looking. And, nearly devoid of any actual taste. That's right. That hunka, hunka burning love on a plate was one big disappointment from the first bite right down to the bone.
We had passed on adding a Bearnaise ($2), Horseradish Cream Sauce ($2), or yet more Truffle Butter ($9) because we're of the firm belief a solid steak can stand on its own merit and not by the sauce you want to dip it in. And, should you have to soak $60 in a Black Peppercorn ($2) to gather any resemblance of flavor? Ultimately, we drowned our sorrows (and steak) in the remaining Gnocchi butter.
Perhaps an entree from the & More section of the menu might be a better option. At a steakhouse. The Petaluma Chicken with Warm Panzanella Salad and Pinenut Pesto ($35) started off on the right foot with a crisp layer of skin peeling back the curtain on a perfectly cooked chicken. Unfortunately, the skin was the best and only taste as the chicken left us flat and again reaching for the truffle butter.
Determined not to leave dinner with a sour taste in our mouths as the gnocchi sauce ran out before the beef and chicken, we opted for dessert: a giant chocolate chip cookie served in cast iron skillet with vanilla ice cream, toasted almonds, whipped cream, and coconut drizzled in caramel and chocolate ($12). The cookie itself was satisfactory (the new mediocre!), but the ice cream and toasted almond bites stole the show.
Starting to wonder if we were crazy, we looked around at the packed tables and were hard pressed to find anyone clearly enjoying themselves or sharing bites worth bragging. Perhaps they were carefully considering adding their own Foursquare tips. If you go, don't fill up on the bread, skip the bacon, stick to seafood and anything doused in truffle butter. At these prices, though, we feel your money is better spent at many of the other fine Las Vegas steakhouses. Spend a little more at Carnevino or CUT for a much more memorable experience. Or, go French. Go north to spend half the cash for twice the flavor. Better yet, fly to the original Old Homestead in NY where the Signature Filet is ten dollars cheaper at $48.
Sorry, Annabelle, Las Vegas just doesn't seem to suit you as well as the Big Apple.