photos courtesy Golden Steer and Blake Myers

Science fiction writers have long written about time travel. Though the idea of traveling back in time is plausible in theory, the world’s leading scientists have concluded that, in reality, it may only be a distant dream. 

The world’s leading scientists are wrong! 

To easily experience time travel right now, knowledgeable diners in Las Vegas need only venture one block off the Strip to 400 W. Sahara Ave., the location since 1958 of the Golden Steer Steakhouse, described in their words as the oldest steakhouse in Las Vegas. 

We discovered the Golden Steer in 1971. They did no tourist advertising then, as they had an abundance of local customers, and many celebrity high-rollers regularly hung out at what was one of the “coolest” spots in town.

The superstars of yesteryear who regularly frequented the restaurant included the “Rat Pack,” a name given by the media to describe the loosely-knit group of entertainers who reigned over the Las Vegas casino scene. They included Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop, all of whom are well-known today even by those who hadn’t even been born at that time.

Though the Golden Steer began as just a small restaurant with a dining room and bar, they have regularly expanded by taking over various neighboring shops. In the 1970s they added a larger bar/dining area that recreates an old Victorian-era vibe reminiscent of the Gold Rush days of San Francisco. Further redecoration continued in the 1990s with modern improvements while, at the same time, meticulously maintaining the original look of the premises.

From owner John Kludjian’s opening until today, the restaurant has remained as famous as any of the few remaining businesses from the city’s glittering past. Dr. Michael Signorelli purchased it from Kludjian in 2001 and, to his credit, has retained the tuxedoed waiters, classic menu items and the interior ambiance of leather banquettes, wood paneling, flocked wallpaper and old west art that seem frozen
in time.

After being seated in the main dining room, one of the first decisions facing many diners is the wine list. Sommelier Leo Teodorescu, the Wine and Beverage Director, has created a comprehensive selection with comfortable pricing that often is below that found in many Strip locations. 

His wine categories are: Sparkling, Whites and Rosés, New World Pinot Noirs, New World Merlots and Other Reds, California Cabernet Sauvignons and Blends, Golden Napa Valley Selections, and Old World Reds. Additionally, a supplemental list is named “Remaining Gems - Limited Availability Selections” that features a number of very interesting additional choices. If you wish to bring your own bottle, the restaurant charges a $30 corkage fee, which is more modest than you may find elsewhere.

Your initiation to time travel continues as you open the menu and gaze upon classic 1950s appetizers that are virtually non-existent in most restaurants today, such as escargots de Bourgogne, seafood-stuffed mushrooms and toasted ravioli (a St. Louis specialty). 

You may want to experience one of the classic Caesar salads, of which they prepare more than 100 nightly. Ours was executed tableside by Venko, a very personable Bulgarian-born waiter who has been demonstrating his talent at the Golden Steer for 27 years. 

His length of service is not an anomaly; there are many on staff who have been there for 20, 30 or more years. The restaurant’s food has remained consistently great because of the presence of the two lead chefs, who have been there 20 plus and 30 plus years, respectively. 

Your journey to the past will be enhanced by seldom-seen entrees like extra large Dover sole in lemon butter and Chateaubriand for two with vegetable medley. Lest you forget that the Golden Steer is a dyed-in-the-wool steakhouse, you’ll find a cornucopia of steaks and chops ranging from bone-in rib eyes, double-cut lamb chops, filets, strips and porterhouses, to prime rib in 10-, 18- and 24-ounce cuts. All their beef is 21-day aged Prime, cut in-house, and in my experience, you definitely won’t need a sharp knife. 

Non-beef lovers will be tempted by a jumbo Western Australian lobster tail, Alaskan king crab legs, shrimp scampi, Alaskan salmon and the previously mentioned Dover sole.

You’ll want to save room for two delectable desserts of yesteryear as the waiters do a tableside preparation of the 50s era classics: cherries jubilee or bananas Foster, among other tempting choices.

During the meal we were joined by the very vivacious Amanda Signorelli, daughter of owner Dr. Michael Signorelli, who confided that she has left her Chicago career and very recently returned to her Las Vegas roots to join her father in the restaurant’s operation. This certainly bodes well for your time travel opportunities well into the future. Don’t wait to go back to the past.