During the best and worst times in Las Vegas one thing has remained unchanged – Steakhouses rule the dining scene. We have classics, modern twists and upscale fine dining. You can have your meat and potatoes anyway you like them. I’ve eaten my way through most of them and I’ve collected a list of favorites along the way. StripSteak at Mandalay Bay has gained recognition as one of Las Vegas’ bests by Las Vegas Weekly and Esquire Magazine. Plus, it’s earned AAA’s Four Diamond Award. When I first dined there a couple years ago, I enjoyed it greatly; it could have easily joined the ranks of favorites, but I failed to find the value. Times have changed a bit since then; today, that celebrated food can be had for quite a bit less. Value, at last.
Michael Mina brought a new approach to the traditional steakhouse when it opened years ago. He wanted his steakhouse to have swagger, and a playful, yet, quality menu. He succeeded, but he also has some fierce competition. Still, StripSteak manages to standout. It’s no doubt Mina’s special touches play a role. He likes to infuse his dishes with creative twists, and he has a preference for wood-burning grills. StripSteak has two 12-foot grills that allow chefs to grill over a variety of woods to achieve different flavors. Furthermore, circulation machines provide low cooking temperatures for slow poaching. A number of proteins spend time simmering in their own juices for several hours, before being finished on the wood-burning grills. This combination imparts wonderful flavor and tenderness to the meats.
A year ago, I couldn’t resist picking up a $50 dining certificate for StripSteak for $4 when Restaurant.com had a sale offering 80% off. As time usually does, it flew by and our certificate was due to expire. We couldn’t let it go to waste so reservations were made and we dined last Friday evening. Upon arrival I noticed that they have a Happy Hour 4pm-7pm; daily, in the lounge. $3 beers and $6 well drinks are sold and lounge menu items are half-off. It’s a great way to sample appetizers on the cheap. They’d make for a great snack or a tapas meal could easily be had. StripSteak also offers a $55 prix-fixe menu; daily. Which has your choice of chowder or wedge, chicken or prime-rib and a root beer float with cookies for dessert (I had that dessert at Michael Mina, inside Bellagio, and the cookies are scrumptious).
I digress, back to our meal. We were seated in the rear of the spacious restaurant; we had views of the cherry-wood and glass that decorate the space. We even had a glimpse of the happenings in the kitchen. We were welcomed with complimentary duck fat fries. The trio was served each with their own dipping sauce: herb fries paired with ketchup, truffle fries served with truffle aioli, and BBQ sauce accompanied the paprika fries. These fries have a crisper exterior as a result of frying in duck fat. They’re really wonderful, they have a nice crunch, yet the inside remains fluffy. Next, we were brought a cast-iron pan of focaccia to enjoy. It was tasty, too.
With so many goodies there was little need for an appetizer, but we ordered one anyway. Mainly, because curiosity had the best of me, I had to try the Maine Lobster Fritters ($18). Lobster is wrapped in bacon, lightly breaded and fried. It’s served with lime, lettuce wraps and crème fraiche. It was a decadent treat.
Soon after, the real feast began, my husband ordered the Colorado Lamb ($41) and I had the Prime Short Rib ($39). The lamb is slow poached in extra-virgin olive oil and rosemary jus for up to twelve hours, and then it’s given a nice char on the grill. It’s a superb preparation. It was tender and full of flavor. The short rib is also cooked slow and low. It is served with mirepoix and horseradish puree. It is as comforting as mom’s pot roast, but it’s a bit more sophisticated. In addition to our entrees, we also enjoyed sides of Shallot Potato Cakes ($8) and Jalapeno Creamed Corn ($13). It’s impossible to say which we preferred since they were both delicious interpretations of classics.
Service was all smiles throughout the meal. Our experience was satisfying in every way. I’m a big fan of Michael Mina’s restaurants. I’m fortunate to have had the pleasure to dine at all five in Las Vegas. After, my initial visit at StripSteak I thought it lacked a little glimmer, but after this recent experience it definitely shined. Truly you cannot go wrong with Nobhill, Seablue, Michael Mina, American Fish or StripSteak.
StripSteak is open daily 5:30pm-11:00pm; its Lounge opens at 4pm.