Pop-Overs and Butter
Truffle and Parmesan Potato Chips
Kurobuta Pork Rinds with Hot Brown Sugar Spice
Wilted Spinach with Caramelized Pecan Bacon, Fried Poached Egg, Red Onions and Warm Sherry-Bacon Vinaigrette
Truffled Burrata Cheese with Spring Pea Pesto, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Local Basil
Deviled Eggs with King Crab and Caviar
Pan Seared Foie Gras with farmers market berries, grand marnier syrup, hazelnut puff pastry and mint gremolata
Rabbit “Porchetta” with La Quercia prosciutto, English pea purée, wild mushrooms and natural jus
Apple Cured Kurobuta Bone-In Bacon with Pickled Watermelon Rind and Abita Root Beer Glaze
Buttermilk Fried Young Chicken with corn waffle, warm black-eye pea salad and spicy creole tomato glaze
Dry-aged USDA Prime Ribeye / USDA Prime Tenderloin / Double Cut Kurobuta Pork Chop with Herb Jus / Pork Ribs / Buttered Asparagus / Garlic / Country Smashed Potatoes / Chimichuri
Duck Egg Crème Brûlée with Orange Tuile / Caramel Butter Cake with Vanilla Double Cream / Lemon Bar with Marinated Strawberry / Key Lime Pie with Whipped Cream and Candied Lime / Pecan Pie with Oatmeal Shortbread Crust, Vanilla Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce / Butterscotch Pudding with Praline Sauce and Shortbread Cookies / German Chocolate Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting / Emeril’s Banana Cream Pie with Caramel Sauce, Chocolate Shavings and Whipped Cream
Ask ten local ‘foodies’ to name their favorite Las Vegas Steakhouse and it would be surprising if a single one said Delmonico, and even more shocking if any of them knew that Chef Ronnie Rainwater had been working in that kitchen ever since the restaurant was opened nearly eighteen years ago, yet with family in town and a love of Emeril Lagasse dating back to the earliest days of his expansion to Universal CityWalk it only seemed right to sit down for dinner at the oft-overlooked space in Venetian’s Restaurant Row, a Tasting Menu served for four diners showing that not only has the restaurant not lost its fast-ball, but that it has learned a few new tricks as well.
Situated at the end of a string of eateries nearest Palazzo, Mario Batalli’s B&B across the way soon to undergo renovations and places like Daniel Boulud, Pinot Brasserie and others come-and-gone since Lagasse chose to bring his New Orleans Steakhouse to Las Vegas in May of 1999, those visiting Delmonico Steakhouse will first notice the large bar previously tended by Max Solano as they approach the space before checking in at a hostess podium, reservations quickly confirmed as General Manager Tuan Tran keeps a watchful eye over an expanse that can easily seat hundreds, the space divided into four different rooms with the most quiet off to the left with the walls lined in Wine and glass.
Having previously discussed a degustation with both Chef Rainwater and Emeril’s Director of Operations Mike Olsen, a fixed price arrangement allowing the kitchen total control over a menu that would be delivered in five courses to highlight Spring, it was after brief greetings from the Chef and a trio of waiters that were a bit ‘stiff’ but still pleasant that the meal got started, all dishes presented with a comprehensive description from Ronnie with the majority served exactly as they are if ordered a la carte, save for the entrée course and a smorgasbord of Dessert.
Always tempting fans by way of daily specials via Social Media, as though the menu of Creole riffs on traditional Steakhouse fare from a culinary legend is somehow not enough, it was with a few of Delmonico’s signature Pop-Overs paired to creamy, whipped Butter that dinner got started alongside snacks including the longtime favorite Truffle and Parmesan Chips plus extra-crisp Cracklins made from Kurobuta Pork, the kitchen remiss to waste any part of such an outstanding Animal that is also involved in several other plates offered throughout the menu.
Starting light and working towards heavier items, the second course presenting two daily specials including Deviled Eggs topped in a big hunk of Red King Crab and a spoonful of Caviar alongside Burrata Cheese tinged in Black Truffles with a vibrant Spring Pea Pesto on top, those looking for something a bit more hearty would be well served to order a warm Spinach Salad topped in Praline Bacon and an Egg that is first lightly poached and then fried crisp before being hemisected, the brilliant orange Yolk blending with Bacon Vinaigrette to form a coating to each leaf that is slick yet light and acidic.
Having already experienced many Delmonico classics during two prior visits, but always happy to see the thick-cut Bone-In Bacon with Root Beer Glaze and Pickled Watermelon Rind land on the table, two seasonal plates saw a thick steak of Grade A Duck Liver cooked to caramelizaion on the outside with its smooth center offset by a Hazelnut pastry something akin to Baklava plus sweetness added by Berries; the Rabbit “Porchetta” wrapped in Prosciutto opting to go all-in on savory with the lean meat carefully complimented by Wild Mushrooms and English Pea purée.
Getting to the Meat of the menu…or more meat-ier at least…it was for course four that the kitchen decided to switch up presentations a bit from the typical plated Steaks in favor a large round block of Pork, Beef and side dishes, the Pork Chop about as tender as they get with two Bone-In Ribs showing the Kurobuta Pig in yet another way while the two cuts of Steak were good, but unfortunately not quite on the same level as Jean Georges or Carnevino in terms or richness or texture, the sides mostly forgettable even though others on the menu sounded more innovative while Ronnie’s Chicken and Cornbread Waffles that used to be only offered at lunch again proved to be the city’s best – even better than the one offered by Yardbird down the way – thanks to the great Brine, shattering Skin and spicy Glaze.
At this point quite full, but assuming the best was yet to come, it was in two large plates decorated with Chocolate that the meal came to its finish, a total of eight different Desserts including a few not yet even listed with highlights coming from all angles, both the Lemon Bar and Key Lime Pie tangy yet rich atop their respective crusts while the Pecan Pie and Emeril’s famous Banana Cream version remain indisputable classics, the German Chocolate Cake sadly a bit dry while the Butterscotch Pudding was the sort of thing that almost caused a fight as diners tried to decide who would get the last, creamy spoonful.
FOUR STARS: Surviving longer than all but a handful of Casino restaurants for good reason, the name Emeril Lagasse hardly mentioned at this point in the restaurant’s marketing, Delmonico Steakhouse may not offer the esoteric sides or extreme-aging programs of other Las Vegas Steakhouses but it makes up for a lot by way of consistency and a diverse menu well-suited to mixed palates, the service once again a bit stiff but fitting the classic feel of the room while the pastry department still can’t be beat.
RECOMMENDED: Wilted Spinach Salad, Bone-In Bacon, Rabbit Porchetta, Double-Cut Pork Chop, Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Key Lime Pie, Butterscotch Pudding, Pecan Pie.
AVOID: German Chocolate Cake was dry and although the Steaks were good there are better to be found in the city…even in the same Casino complex.
TIP: Unlike all the other big meat houses, Delmonico offers lunch Daily from 11:30am to 2pm including the Chicken and full slate of desserts, plus Sandwiches and a good number of Steaks and Salads.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.