In-house aging is one key to the juicy tender steaks at STRIPSTEAK LV.
I recently had lunch with a friend of mine (a professional food writer and guest reviewer here) who made the most spot-on comment I’ve ever heard when it comes to Chef Michael Mina’s food: “The man is a wizard with potatoes!” So, you’re thinking if this is a review on STRIPSTEAK LV, why do I care what the chef does with potatoes? It’s the meat that matters not the sides. Well, in this case, while the steaks are more than worthy, it is definitely the spuds that make for a memorable meal. And, did we mention that said spuds are free? No kidding, these crisp crunchy beauties come courtesy of the chef… au gratis… n/c.
First, the restaurant itself: Located at Mandalay Bay Las Vegas, the space is sleek and edgy with enough hard surfaces to make sound somewhat of an issue if you were hoping for an intimate dinner for two.* But keep in mind, the sound bouncing from walls to ceiling comes from people having fun! This is a great spot for celebrations like bachelor/bachelorette parties, birthday bashes and other group events or for couples looking to dine in a high-energy atmosphere. (We had a terrific time chatting away with the couple at the table next to us who also happened to be from Phoenix. Yeah, it’s that kind of place.)
This trio of spectacular fries is presented au gratis with dinner at the winning STRIPSTEAK LV.
The fries: Okay, back to those marvelous complimentary potatoes. After ordering drinks (wine for P.B., a draft for me) and dinner, the server brought out this very cool serving stand filled with three tubs of perfectly cooked-in-duck-fat fries – herb-flecked, paprika-dusted and saffron garlic – along with three dipping sauces: housemade ketchup, perky BBQ sauce and our hands-down favorite, a luxurious truffle cream sauce I would’ve eaten with a spoon! The serving is so large we couldn’t finish it but, oh, how we tried.
Dinner: For an appetizer, we chose to share the Maine lobster fritters, a dish we unfortunately wouldn’t order again. The batter was too heavy for the delicate seafood flavor to come through and the bacon mentioned in the menu description seemed to be AWOL from our dish. In hindsight, we would have merrily munched on the fries with our drinks and ordered a salad to share with the yummy warm potato focaccia (served in a cast iron skillet) before the main course. For our steaks, we chose the American Kobe beef – the Rib Eye ($64) for P.B. and the Rib Cap ($65) for me. (STRIPSTEAK also offers Japanese A5 Wagyu beef at Market Price.) Chef Mina’s steaks are heralded for their cooking method which entails a long slow-poach in clarified butter and then a quick turn on a high heat (think 1,000 degrees!) grill. The process renders a steak that is meltingly tender inside with a beautifully crusty exterior. As we expected, our steaks were superb. As a side, we shared a de-lish mountain of creamed spinach topped with crumbled bacon bits. (Note to self: next time we eat here, we walk back to our room at the Bellagio.)
Well-marbled and perfectly cooked, the rib cap American Kobe steak is a terrific menu choice.
Dessert: Overkill for sure but the “Beignets with Macallan 18-Year Butterscotch Pudding” were just way too tempting to resist and we’re so glad we didn’t. Plump, fluffy pillows of warm donut dipped in scotch-flavored caramel pudding…uh, what’s not to like? (Do be aware that the liquor really comes through in this decidedly “adult-flavored” dessert.)
Service and other highlights:
Excellent, attentive service even on a busy Saturday night during prime time dining hours of 8 – 10 pm.
Another freebie courtesy of STRIPSTEAK — A bag of gourmet dark-chocolate-drizzled caramel corn made in-house sends you out the door.
I have to say that I knew we were in for a great meal when Las Vegas local, UNLV professor and famed foodie, Patti Shock, highly recommended the place to me via Twitter. (If you are interested in food and Las Vegas you should follow her. @PattiShock)
The best: We used a $25 certificate purchased for $2 at Restaurant.com (use coupon code “FOUR” and the link below) to pay for part of the meal. At the restautant, be sure to present it early on so they have time to validate the certificate before the check comes.
STRIPSTEAK definitely merits a top spot on our list of “Best Las Vegas Steakhouses.”
(*Looking for a romantic spot to dine? Try Fleur De Lys or Mix In Las Vegas, both located at Mandalay Bay and both participate in the Restaurant.com certificate program.)
Save 80% off on every $25 Gift Certificate order. Use code “FOUR” and pay just $2 through 10/12/09 only at Restaurant.com.