Charlie Palmer Steak
2016 Val de Mer Brut Nature Rose
Cornbread, Olive Rye, White Bread, Butter
2014 Trisaetum Coast Range Estate Riesling
Yellowtail and Hamachi – White Soy, Fresno Chili, Jalapeno, Micro-Cilantro
2015 Kracher Beerenauslese Cuvee
Hudson Valley Foie Gras Torchon – Strawberry Compote, Soy Caramel, Brioche
2013 Jaffurs Thompson Vineyard Grenache Blanc
Housemade Ravioli – Short Rib, Peas, Ricotta Cheese, Shaved Carrot
2017 The Infamous Goose Sauvignon Blanc
Bibb Lettuce – Belgian Endive, Double Smoked Bacon, Upper Ranch Dressing
2016 Talley Chardonnay
Roasted Ora King Salmon – Charred Onion, Baby Chard, Warm Citrus Vinaigrette
2012 Frederick William Syrah
Beef Tasting – A5 Kagoshima Wagyu, Rib Eye, 35-day Dry Aged Strip, Honey Roasted Carrots, Beets, Hen of the Woods Mushroom, Pommes Puree, Perigord Black Truffles
2014 Dashe Late Harvest Zinfandel
Candy Bar – Milk Chocolate Ganache, Peanut Butter Mousse, White Chocolate Cream, Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Mango Panna Cotta – Lemon Sorbet, Confit Persimmon
Brown Butter Apple Pie – Caramel, Crème Fraiche Ice Cream
Double Espresso – Ice
Located at the far south end of what most people consider “The Strip,” a concealed attachment to Mandalay Bay, lofty price point and lack of gambling making it the sort of hotel inhabited by mostly well-heeled jetsetters, it seems safe to say that Four Seasons Las Vegas is not a place most tourists will seek out, yet for over a decade Charlie Palmer Steak has stood its ground despite no lack of nearby competition.
Styled as a classic American Steakhouse and one of five for the restaurateur behind Aureole, a location directly off the lobby and next to Veranda placing the deceptively intimate room in prime position for those arriving via Four Seasons valet or the Mandalay Bay staircase, it is immediately upon approach that guests are greeted by a hostess at the podium, her subtle manner of dress and waiters in suits a far cry from the short skirts and jeans worn elsewhere and largely mirrored by diners.
Elegant without being ‘stuffy,’ subdued lighting and linens mixed with leather, wood and patterned carpets creating a refined ambiance that is unfortunately subverted by overly loud pop-tunes and the gleam of sports television at the bar, it was shortly after seating at a rounded booth that a man approached offering Cocktails, the list of top-shelf classics enticing but set aside in favor of the Sommelier-suggested Wine Pairing.
Probably best-known by ‘foodies’ for the “Cut of the Week” Tasting menu, a three-course Prix-fixe that changes weekly and offers Salad, Beef, Sides, Wine and Dessert for just $58 per person, it was after perusing options that the decision was instead made to give the kitchen carte-blanche, Chefs Eduardo Lalo Saavedra and Tomas Espino rolling out a nine-course Dinner over the course of 130 minutes.
Not the sort of place for tableside theatrics or imaginative reinterpretation, Charlie Palmer’s self-designated “Progressive American” cuisine instead focused on pristine ingredients treated with respect to yield great flavor, it was with a glass of Rose that house-baked Bread arrived prior to course one, the small cubes of Cornbread sweet, crumbly and addictive while others were soft and fluffy, the arrival of Chef-selected Sashimi unfortunately leaving little time to enjoy the sparkling Val de Mer as drapes of Yellowtail and Hamachi dressed lightly with Soy paired far better with a semi-sweet Riesling.
Making short work of the six slices of Fish with Chopsticks and finishing the Wine sip-for-bite, the pours requested as half-normal volume given limited tolerance, it was with golden 2015 Kracher Beerenauslese coating the palate that Chef Saavedra’s Torchon of Foie Gras was spread on buttered Toast, the classic pairing expectedly working well as did White Grenache with Short Rib Ravioli, though the texture of the filling was a little dry and may have been better were the Meat shredded.
Progressing a little too quickly, the presentation of a Bibb Lettuce Salad with Beer that was declined in favor of unpleasantly sour Sauvignon Blanc providing an opportunity to slow the kitchen down by cutting Greens at a leisurely pace, it was shortly after the last bits of smoky Bacon were forked up that a generous slice of Ora King Salmon was joined by 2016 Talley Chardonnay, the smooth citrusy profile playing exceptionally well off the flaky Fish and also quite nicely off wilted Chard dressed in vibrant Vinaigrette.
Marking the final savory course with a serrated blade and Syrah, an off-menu array of Charlie Palmer Steak’s Prime USDA Beef accompanied by two ounces of A5 Kagoshima Wagyu plus Root Vegetables, Mushrooms and Truffles one of the most beautiful and delicious Steak presentations in recent memory, it was as Coffee was offered that the Sommelier presented 2014 Dashe Late Harvest Zinfandel, the thick Purple Wine from Sonoma County creating a sort of Peanut Butter and Jelly combination with Charlie Palmer’s “Candy Bar” though perhaps a bit too heavy for the Mango Panna Cotta that is virtually weightless but texturally pleasing in support of Sorbet and cooked Persimmon.
Unable to pass-up Apple Pie, the ten-minute baking time welcomed as Coffee was sipped at the end of a fairly heavy and fast meal, it should probably be unsurprising that Charlie Palmer Steak’s version of the American classic is a beautiful rendition given the quality of his produce, but the true star of the show is actually the tangy Crème Fraiche Ice Cream that makes a fine dance partner for Brown Butter Streusel and Caramel.
FOUR STARS: Easily seen as just another ‘me too’ Steakhouse in a city where every hotel has to have one, but in reality the sort of contemporary American restaurant where great ingredients are showcased in a manner that is accessible to a wide variety of customers at a price that is far more accessible than many, Charlie Palmer Steak has withstood the test of time for good reason and with Chef Saavedra at the helm there is no reason to think that is going to change anytime soon.
RECOMMENDED: Cornbread, Hudson Valley Foie Gras Torchon, Roasted Ora King Salmon, A5 Wagyu, Dry-Aged Strip, Brown Butter Apple Pie
AVOID: Ravioli, sitting near the bar.
TIP: Tasting Menu available on request depending on restaurant volume and Chef’s choice.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.