The glut of Vegas steak houses numbers well over one hundred. It makes me think of the words of wisdom uttered by my mother, when advising me about the opposite sex. “Women need a reason”, she said, men need a place”. And as much as I love good steak, I need a reason to go to a Strip steak house.
Ever imaginative chef Michael Mina gives us one at StripSteak in Mandalay Bay, thanks to a unique cooking method which renders beef unlike anything else in town. Meats are poached in various marinades such as olive oil and bacon fat, then finished on mesquite embers over an iron grill.
This way the meat is uncommonly tender, but retains a char-grilled finish. A 12-ounce Angus skirt steak is the least expensive, at $36. A twelve oz. Gold Label Kobe New York tops the charts at $85.
An American Airlines pilot doing a layover late one evening last week called me and suggested dinner. He’s a steak lover so I proposed that we try StripSteak, which was a short hop from the Fairfield Inn, where many pilots stay.
Stripsteak is eccentrically designed. The architect, a Tokyo madman who calls himself Super Potato, also did Sensi at the Bellagio, and his creativity rivals that of Mina’s. Appointments are floor-to-ceiling glass panels and resin sculptures cast from the surface of Singapore streets
We started slowly, with King crab lettuce cups and a wedge salad, the restaurant’s take on a classic Caesar, and were doing fine until we got a complimentary trio of duck fat fries with three sauces, a signature.
These fries are decadence personified; one dusted with paprika, another with rosemary and thyme, the third brushed with truffle oil. A trio of dipping sauces accompanies them. I had to send them away, delicious as they were, after a few nibbles.
The meat was pure poetry. I had a 10 oz. Angus filet, $56, while Chris, the pilot, had an 8 oz. American Kobe rib cap, pricey at $69, but simply the pinnacle of great American beef. We also had a few excellent sides like green beans with pancetta, and roasted artichoke with Feta. They wisely do not serve bread here, unless it is requested.
The corporate som, Rajat Paar, is one of the best in the business, and the wine list is loaded. StripSteak’s in-house sommelier Steve Hua, (he is the only Cantonese sommelier I know), brought us a complimentary bottle of Malhadinha, a magnificent red blend from Portugal. ($180). I’d order it again, if I had an expense account. Thanks anyway, Chef Mina.
We did manage a few bites of the apple crumble with cinnamon ice cream for dessert, and noted that the pastry chef was duly talented. If you don’t eat lunch, you may manage the entire thing. The steak house glut isn’t the only glut around here.
Inside Mandalay Bay. 632-7777. Dinner 5:30-10:30 p.m
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