Food with a View—Prime Steakhouse at the Bellagio

Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Prime Steakhouse at the Bellagio has been a prime jewel at the Bellagio since the resort’s opening in 1998. Now after a $1.1 million renovation last year that expanded its patio seating from 35 seats to 70 allowing more to enjoy the spectacular view of the dancing fountains, we have more reasons to rediscover this Vegas gem.

Speaking of gems, the jeweled chandelier at the restaurant’s entrance gives a preview to the elegance inside. Rest assured there are plenty of seats near the large windows providing a prime view of the Eiffel Tower and water/light show, but another spectacle is the beautiful presentation and culinary mastery that Executive Chef Robert Moore and his team in the kitchen turn out. After working for a dozen years in the Big Apple with culinary luminaries such as Sam DeMarco, Chef Moore came to Las Vegas and worked as Sous Chef at Sensi, before moving over to take the executive chef job at Prime in 2006. After being tapped as chef de cuisine to open Vongerichten’s Jean George Steakhouse at ARIA in 2009 he returned to his executive chef position at Prime in 2015.

Chef Moore continues his practice of letting the quality of ingredients take the starring role in his creations, and has the luxury of picking from the collection of herbs that are grown on the roof of the Bellagio. Every dish comes with beautiful presentation, such as the Ribbons of Tuna appetizer with breakfast radish and ginger soy marinade; or Roasted Baby Beets Salad beautifully adorned with apple, ricotta and quinoa.

At Prime steaks are supreme and live up to the eatery’s name. The Peppercorn Crusted New York Strip is a generous 14-oz serving, as is the 18- or 28-oz Bone-in Rib Eye and 22-oz Porterhouse; and the A5 Japanese Wagyu comes in filet, New York or rib eye cuts. All of the Prime meats can be paired with soy-rice wine, Bearnaise or peppercorn sauces.

Prime has more than beef to offer, and seafood is done equally well here, with stellar choices of Caramelized Sea Scallops with spaghetti squash, pumpkin seeds and soy-yuzu broth; Roasted Atlantic Salmon with mushroom crust and lemon emulsion and herbs; and Chilean Sea Bass with crunchy potatoes and lime-garlic sauce.

Complementing the superb fare is a voluminous wine list with more than 700 choices and an extensive bourbon/whiskey selection that includes Bakers and Templeton Rye.

The delectable desserts are true works of art and dramatic displays. The Prime Cinnamon Bread Pudding comes covered with a chocolate dome shell; when it arrives, your server pours hot caramel onto it allowing it to melt onto the dessert. Also impressive is the Rum Glazed Donuts—five different flavors of donuts on raised pedestals atop a canister which emits smoke from dry ice when a button is pressed.

Prime is considered by many to be one of the most gorgeous dining rooms in the world and it’s doubtful you’ll find a classier restaurant in Las Vegas. Thankfully its cuisine and presentation lives up to its magnificent environs, making for an enchanted dining experience that is quite hard to beat.

Silverado Steak House—Cowboy Elegance

As you enter this secluded refuge just off of the South Point Casino, you are met with an assemblage of tributes to the old west and the modern day cowboy. The décor includes a colorful mural depicting a chuckwagon with pots cooking over a fire, photos of saddles, rustic earth tones, smoked chandeliers and mahogany wood panels.

Overseeing the kitchen is John Romine, who has been the Room Chef for 10 years, beginning five months after the restaurant opened. While not a Las Vegas native, he has been living in the area for 30 years and fittingly attended Silverado High School in Henderson. All of the outstanding menu recipes are his.

Starters worth indulging in include the extremely rich and flavorful Lobster Bisque with Cognac; Jumbo Lump Crab Cocktail enhanced with heart of palm and lemon citrus vinaigrette, which is presented beautifully in a cocktail glass overflowing with a mountain of crab; and Seared Sea Scallops topped with baby spinach and warm bacon dressing.

It’s highly unlikely you will leave hungry, as all entrees come with Silverado Salad and baked potato, mashed potato or garden vegetable. The salad is not your average house rendition; tossed and served tableside, it is comprised of Boston bib, romaine, la rossa red leaf, marinated artichoke, hearts of palm and champagne vinaigrette. The steaks are the true stars of the show, such as the 28-day dry-aged Prime 14-oz NY Strip, Roast Prime Rib that is 2 inches thick and 16-oz Bone-in Rib-eye which can be charbroiled or blackened. A variety of add-ons include port wine demi, green peppercorn sauce, Oscar-style King crab and bleu cheese crust.

Other outstanding non-steak entrees are Beef Short Rib braised for 24 hours and simmered with Crown Royal Maple Whisky; Chicken Silverado—sautéed chicken breast topped with teardrop tomatoes, cippolini onions and a lemon beurre blanc sauce; line-caught Grilled King Salmon with garlic butter sauce; and Colorado Lamb Chops with port demi-glace.

Complementing the fare are several wines by-the-glass and a monthly rotating special which during our visit was the bottle of Rodney Strong Merlot we enjoyed for $20. For every bottle sold $1 is donated to the Epicurean Charitable Foundation, a worthy local charity dedicated to ensuring scholarships and unique mentorship opportunities to financially-underprivileged students pursuing a career in the hospitality industry.

Desserts are also Chef Romine’s creations and I highly recommend his Warm Apple Crumb Cake, a cross between a coffee cake and a sponge cake that comes with candied pecans and a luscious Crown Royal Apple crème anglaise.

If you’re lucky, or smart enough to ask, you may be served by Kelly Rasp, one of the best service professionals I’ve ever had the pleasure to encounter. She is extremely knowledgeable about the menu, steaks and meats used and does a phenomenal job describing menu items and making them sound delectable. Kelly said, “If you enjoy the food like I do, it’s easy to describe it.”

Silverado Steak House is a dining venue where you can relax in a casual yet refined atmosphere and splurge on fine dining without spending an exorbitant amount, with appetizers ranging from $9-$18, most entrees
$25-$39 and steaks from $35-$49.