There’s no shortage of steakhouses in Las Vegas, but none are quite like Delmonico Steakhouse, located inside the Venetian. The reason? Emeril Lagasse. The legendary chef and restaurateur, who opened this steakhouse as an offshoot of the original in New Orleans, puts his signature twist on everything coming out of the kitchen, and a recent visit at the restaurant’s invitation proved that there’s not a clunker in the bunch.
Some steakhouses focus only on the basics — porterhouse, creamed spinach, etc. — but when Lagasse is involved you know that’s not going to be the case. This doesn’t mean that the steaks get short shrift — the beef is USDA Prime and it’s dry-aged on the premises — it just means that there are lots of other very tasty items on the menu, including some Emeril classics. Chef de cuisine Ronnie Rainwater, who’s been at the restaurant since 1999, suggested that the staff bring out a selection of dishes, and we couldn’t say no to that.
Truffle and parmesan potato chips were still warm from the fryer, piled high, and topped with a sprinkling of quality Parmigiano-Reggiano, truffle oil, and scallions.
Emeril’s New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp, arguably Lagasse’s most legendary dish, is on the menu here, and it’s every bit as good as I remember it being at his flagship New Orleans restaurant; with perfectly-cooked shrimp, a rich, dark-roux sauce, and a seriously complex and just-spicy-enough flavor profile, it’s a must-order. Apple-cured bone-in kurobuta bacon was served in two-inch-thick slices and topped with pickled watermelon and a glaze made with Abita root beer; also addictively good. A wilted spinach salad was tossed with red onions and a warm sherry-bacon vinaigrette, and topped with caramelized pecan-crusted bacon and a perfectly cooked fried poached egg; all the components worked really well together, turning this into one heck of a salad. Caesar salad was made by our captain tableside — a dying art if ever there was one — and it was expertly prepared.
For the main course, we were treated to a sampling of two steaks: Creekstone Farms filet mignon topped with demi-glace and asparagus, and sliced New York strip with roasted mushrooms. Both were cooked to a perfect medium-rare and full of flavor, with a nicely seared exterior and spot-on seasoning. Up next was rabbit “porchetta,” rabbit saddle rolled with La Quercia prosciutto and roasted, served with English pea purée, wild mushrooms, and natural jus. It was elegant and upscale, and also full of flavor.
Needless to say, we were completely stuffed by this point, but we couldn’t pass up the restaurant’s signature dessert, Emeril’s legendary banana cream pie. The towering pie was layered with pastry cream and thick slices of banana and topped with whipped cream, caramel sauce, and chocolate shavings. It was perfect, and a delivery of an after dinner cocktail — The Grasshopper, made with Fernet Vittone Menta, crème de menthe, crème de cacao, cream, egg whites, and cardamom bitters — made for a perfect nightcap.
If you’re in the mood for a perfect steak and a nice glass of wine served in very classy environs, then Delmonico is a great choice. But if instead you’re in the mood for upscale Creole cuisine with fun cocktails and a little tableside artistry, Delmonico is a great choice for that as well. Not too many restaurants can be all things to all people, but this Venetian gem hits the nail on the head.