Experienced Las Vegas gourmands know that some of the best steak houses can be found just off the neon-lit Strip. That is certainly the case with Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House on Paradise Road—within sight of the glitzy and glamorous casinos, yet worlds apart.
Inside Del Frisco’s, one finds the warm ambiance of a classic 1950s wood-paneled steak house enhanced by an award-winning menu. The steak house specializes in prime-beef entrées, such as the 32-oz Wagyu rib-eye Tomahawk with a 10-inch bone, or the 3-inch-thick, 45-day dry-aged Double Eagle rib eye topped with a gold medallion. Del Frisco’s even has a wine cellar 1,200 bottles deep.
However, serious cigar smokers may be more drawn to the walk-in humidor built inside one of the restaurant’s private dining rooms—it’s hard to miss the outdoor cigar lounge (a concession to the 2006 Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act) near the restaurant’s entrance. So it’s not surprising that Del Frisco’s boasts an experienced cigar sommelier—Anthony Ramirez—who expertly selects both wines and cigars for guests.
You are both the wine sommelier and the cigar sommelier for Del Frisco’s. What do those two titles have in common?
The positions go hand in hand to enhance the guest’s experience. Being knowledgeable about the product we are serving, whether wine or cigars, better enables us to customize a guest’s night.
How did you get your training as a cigar sommelier?
I started smoking premium cigars about 10 years ago and have been serious about educating myself for about 5 years now. I read a lot about the industry and make a point to sample many different cigars to build my palate.
If a customer asks to see the wine list, you know your services will be needed. But how do you determine whether or not a customer is a candidate for your services as a cigar sommelier?
At Del Frisco’s, we believe every guest is a candidate for our service. Our cigar selections are offered in our after-dinner menu, and the humidor is visible to guests through a restaurant-facing window, so we’ll provide recommendations as needed. There are also guests who are well-versed in cigars, so while I may not need to share insight on the selection, I’m still involved in the presentation and overall experience. We also invite people into the humidor to offer a hands-on cigar experience.
What other amenities does Del Frisco’s offer cigar smokers?
A few years ago, we built the patio to comply with the Clean Indoor Air Act. Our patio offers full dining service, a television, misters for warm weather, and heaters when the temperature is cooler. We offer more than 20 cigar selections that we properly store in our humidor, and we also offer private boxes for our VIP guests to store their collection of cigars, ready for them when they return to Del Frisco’s.
Can customers bring their own cigars to the patio? And is there a minimum drink charge to do so?
Del Frisco’s guests are able to bring their cigars free of charge and will typically order a cocktail or two while they enjoy their cigar.
When I was last here, you paired two different cigars with two different specialty cocktails. What is your philosophy on pairing cocktails with cigars?
I try to match the flavor profiles, so the cigar and the cocktail complement each other. I also like to pair light cocktails with light cigars and deeper cigars with a full-bodied drink. I enjoy spirits that can be creamy or have a hint of sweetness to help soften the palate—and, of course, scotch is always a great cigar pairing.