Kings of the Strip: Seven Perfect Steaks
In Las Vegas, the world’s best city to eat steak, Robb Report dined at 16 top steak houses in search of nothing less than the perfect cut of beef. The steak had to be at least an inch thick, and cooked medium rare with a beautifully charred crust. It had to be dry-aged, deeply flavored, and rich with juices. And it had to be tender, of course, and not too lean. A steak with no visible fat is not a steak worth eating. Here are the seven best, in order of preference.
Carnevino, The Palazzo
Chef Mario Batali’s Italian-accented menu is superb from start (antipasti such as grilled octopus and beef tartare) to finish (date-and-espresso milkshake with gingersnap cookies). Steaks are dry-aged by the restaurant for 90 to 120 days (longer for the off-the-menu Riserva program); rubbed with sea salt, black pepper, and rosemary; gas broiled; and seasoned with rosemary olive oil. Wine service is polished and delightfully heavy on Barolo, Brunello, and Super Tuscans. The grand, masculine (and sometimes loud) dining hall is regal yet understated, with plenty of marble and antiques.
Best steak: 240-day dry-aged Riserva rib eye, thick cut and intensely flavored, with a fatty crust that has a tang of blue cheese ($108 per inch). 702.789.4141, www.carnevino.com
Old Homestead Steakhouse, Caesars Palace
This warm, updated riff on the classic red-leather-booth steak house serves the most impeccably marbled, massive cuts. Steaks are cooked under a 1,800-degree infrared broiler that instantly seals in every last drop of juice, and gloriously finished with double-butterfat butter for an incomparable crust.
Best steak: 26-ounce, bone-in, 30-day dry-aged Gotham rib ($68). Order a side of black-truffle gnocchi instead of potatoes. 877.346.4642, www.theoldhomesteadsteakhouse.com
Prime Steakhouse, Bellagio
The first of Las Vegas’s modern steak houses is also its most elegant and romantic, with powder-blue velvet drapery, Bernardaud china, and a view of the Bellagio fountain. The hotel’s in-house butcher shop supplies supremely high-quality steaks—gas-grilled and finished with butter, salt, and pepper. Starters at the restaurant, which was created by French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, include a chilled seafood platter that overflows with oysters, clams, mussels, crab legs, lobster tails, and shrimp the size of house pets.
Best steak: 18-ounce, 28-day dry-aged bone-in rib eye ($70), which comes with a trio of sauces. 866.259.7111, www.bellagio.com
StripSteak, Mandalay Bay
Chef Michael Mina makes up for a surprisingly bland dining room with truly outstanding steaks, which are first poached in butter, then grilled over mesquite for a transcendent flavor and velvety texture in a category all its own. The duck-fat fries are mandatory, as are the corn-and-blue-crab hush puppies.
Best steak: 8-ounce, American Wagyu rib cap, which is the best part of the rib eye ($67). 702.632.7200, www.mandalaybay.com
Jean Georges Steakhouse, Aria Resort and Casino
Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s new steak house wood-grills USDA prime along with high-quality Wagyu and Angus from Australia, and serves it in a dining room with the style and energy of a nightclub. The outstanding sommeliers suggest unexpected but brilliant pairings. Diners can request a VIP beef tasting served atop a platter of smoldering apricot-wood chips.
Best steak: 10-ounce, Australian Angus New York strip ($65), which is surprisingly comparable to Wagyu in tenderness and flavor. 877.230.2742, www.arialasvegas.com
Cut, The Palazzo
Settle into an Eames chair and take in Wolfgang Puck’s mod, modern steak house, where waiters display raw slabs of USDA prime beef from Nebraska, Illinois, Washington, and Kansas, plus Wagyu from the United States and Australia. Steaks are grilled over wood and charcoal with salt, pepper, and two secret seasonings, then finished with garlic butter and placed under a 1,200-degree broiler to set the crust. It is hard to resist the finest onion rings on the strip, and a famously rich assortment of appetizers, such as bone-marrow flan.
Best steak: 12-ounce, 35-day dry-aged Nebraska rib eye ($59), which has better marbling than its Wagyu counterparts. 702.607.6300, www.palazzo.com
The Steak House, Circus Circus
The menu is short, no-nonsense, and no-frills. The wine list is embarrassing. The casino has seen better days. But surprise of surprises: Circus Circus has one of the best dry-aging programs in Las Vegas, grills over mesquite, and employs waiters who regale you about the days when they served the Rat Pack. Corkage is $20 per bottle.
Best steak: 30-ounce, 21-day dry-aged bone-in rib eye ($50), one of the biggest steaks in town. 702.794.3767, www.circuscircus.com