Palm Springs is rad, San Diego is too, but Las Vegas is my favorite weekend escape from the L.A. grind. There’s something about the city’s lights, energy, and glitz that makes traveling four hours out of town feel like a trip to a whole different world.
At the tail end of last year, The Astronomer and I jammed to Vegas for a celebratory getaway following the release of Food Lovers’ Guide to Los Angeles. We stayed at Aria and gorged all over town. It was the perfect escape.
Our first meal in the city was at Tom Colicchio’s Heritage Steak at The Mirage, the chef’s most recent Vegas venture. As luck would have it, the rodeo was in town the same weekend we were. We dined among cowboys this evening, gallon hats, serious boots, and shiny buckles…errywhere.
The specialty here is meats prepared entirely over an open flame—from wood-burning ovens to charcoal grills. I admire that Chef Colicchio only sources antibiotic-free animals raised by purveyors committed to time-honored farming practices and heritage breeds.
To start, warm thyme and rosemary rolls served with well salted butter.
I selected the beef tartare ($18) for my appetizer. A welcomed departure from traditional French beef tartar, this version boasted pickled beech mushrooms, Thai basil, bok choy, and kimchi. The flavors here were awesomely bold and seriously spicy.
I nudged The Astronomer toward the buffalo carpaccio ($22) with huckleberries, green olives, and arugula, which turned out to be superb. Who knew buffalo and berries paired so well?
For our main course, The Astronomer and I assembled a fantastic surf and turf from two menu items. First up was the “Spice-Roasted Lobster” ($52) served over white polenta with red mustard greens and fennel. The tremendously portioned tail and claws, rubbed with Old Bay, paprika, basil, and thyme, were perfectly snappy.
For the turf portion of our feast: a gorgeous 18-ounce bone-in ribeye grilled over white oak and served with roasted potatoes ($61).
Cooked to medium rare, as requested, the steak was outrageously tender and as beefy as we hoped. Once you go grass-fed, you can never go back.
The Astronomer insisted on a side of Brussels sprouts with bacon ($12) because he’s always looking out for our best interests.
For dessert, we shared the “Chai Tea Semifreddo” ($14), which was perched atop pumpkin pound cake and topped with cinnamon whiskey froth.
Even better was the apple tart tatin ($14) served with scoops of vanilla ice cream and an apple cider sorbet with fire-roasted pecans. It was so, so lovely.
Steakhouses are a dime a dozen in this town, but ones serving humanely raised meats and staffed by a sharp squad are much harder to come by. Tom Colicchio’s Heritage Steak is the perfect spot for discerning diners in the mood for meat.
Tom Colicchio’s Heritage Steak
The Mirage, 3400 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Don’t gamble with your stomach, eat here:
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