This month’s theme is Vintage Vegas, exploring some of the Las Vegas locales reminiscent of the era’s appeal as well as a sampling of authentic originals.
Evoking the feeling of a bygone time, the main dining room features ceilings adorned with large golden film reels, shining patterned wallpaper and octagonal mirrored walls. It feels like you’re in a place you shouldn’t be—a secret hideaway for the privileged few. The service is exquisite, attentive and knowledgeable. Their extensive wine list and drink menu offer impressive variety and the cuisine is top-notch. Sample their oysters Rockefeller, with Kumiai oysters full of creamy, savory spinach and smoky prosciutto. The lobster mac & cheese is a well-worth indulgence with truffle, mascarpone-tallegio cream sauce and generous lobster bites. Don’t miss the grilled octopus, charred and served with merguez sausage and romesco sauce. Our favorite entree was the seafood plate that included a large Australian lobster tail, perfectly spiced grilled prawns and a delicate Chilean sea bass with garlic-herb parmesan crust, paired with creamy herbed risotto. We ended the evening with a dessert wine, Donnafugatta Ben Rye with its perfect sweetness, reminiscent of a concentrated raisin in liquid form.
Herbs & Rye
Recalling hints of a speakeasy, the rich and inviting dark woods and red patterned wallpaper invite further exploration. I’d suggest you sit at the bar, where you can reserve space. The service is phenomenal and you’re in for an understated show, particularly if you’re a student of people watching. The bartenders are master craftsmen of the classics, serving distinctive flavor combinations using traditional methods. Their drink menu is epic, transcending the ages of libations. Our bartender mixed up something special containing rum, honey, lemon, pineapple and amaro syrup balanced with bitters to offset the sweet. We started with the beef tartar, complemented with capers, chopped parsley, red onion and spicy mustard. Entrees included the grilled salmon on a bed of steamed spinach and topped with crispy onions; their tender, juicy and well-seasoned 9 oz. filet mignon masters the perfect black and blue.
Sinatra fans, this is the place for you. On the outside of the restaurant, there’s an amazing photo wall, complete with images of a young Frank sitting with Audrey Hepburn and an older Frank with Steve Wynn. Seeing Steve Wynn with a 70s period hairdo makes the whole experience even more worthwhile. When you step through the door, you enter an era when life was more elaborate and the details really mattered. Try their signature dessert of a miniature chocolate fedora with a side of custard garnished with a chocolate swoosh. Pair this dessert with one of Sinatra’s favorite drinks, Jack Daniels on the rocks, and you’re all set.
Frankie’s Tiki Room
Frankie’s earned hole-in-the-wall status back in the 1950s. In 2008, new owners transformed the inside to the best tiki kitsch, while preserving the outside structure and the name. When I asked for her favorite drink, the bartender recommended the Fink Bomb. The flavors evoke feelings of basking on a sun-soaked beach and everything I associate with the best of tiki: coconut rum, 160 proof rum, melon liqueur and pineapple juice—sweet, fruity, almost creamy thanks to the coconut.
It’s the best of 1940s diner food. Their secret: everything is homemade, fresh and made-to-order. Try their world famous pancakes. They’re light, fluffy and full of buttery syrup goodness. Just beware that they’re very large so a short stack is plenty. Their legendary shrimp cocktail is very good, due to the homemade cocktail sauce and savory little shrimp, blended nicely with the hint of sweetness in the cocktail sauce. The menu offerings represent Americana at its finest. In typical Vegas fashion, they’re open 24/7, so it’s particularly suitable to visit after a night of heavy indulgence.
The Ranch House
Touted as the oldest restaurant in Las Vegas, it was originally accessible only by traversing miles of gravel roads. They still maintain the blue light on the fence post that signals to travelers, though now the light’s somewhat blocked by newly constructed houses. The Ranch House offers juicy and flavorful steaks and a few unique signature drinks. It’s not a fancy place, maybe in need of a refresher in the decor. However, it’s well worth the visit as a classic steakhouse from the authentic Vintage Vegas era and a piece of history.