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Thursday
Jun282012

An Evening at GR Steak

This review is a bit late, and is the first that I have ever felt compelled to write but I wanted to make sure that it got written because our experience was so, so good. My wife and I ate, with another couple, at Gordon Ramsay Steak in the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, the night after its grand opening. The food/experience was off the charts. I have seen Chef Ramsay on Kitchen Nightmares and various other shows and understood that he is an accomplished chef - but you just never know how much is hype and how much is substance. Let me tell you; this dude, and his staff are the real deal. 

We started off in the lounge with strawberry martinis (not something that I would usually order but were surprisingly delicious) and roasted Bone Marrow. Yes, Roasted Bone Marrow - perfectly dissected pieces of cow bone cooked under high heat until the stuff in the center turned into "meat butter" worthy of spreading on the homemade English muffins they were served with. If you have never had it, drop what you are doing and go get it...I could kiss the bovine that gave its life so that I might experience such perfection. 

Had I known that the rest of the meal would continue to be so decadent I likely would have forgone the Bone Marrow (even though it was so damned good). The main event started with an iced cold class of Perrier Jouet paired with an amuse-bouche of oyster on the shell with tomato foam; a brilliant, clean start. The amuse was a perfect prelude to what quickly followed; a barrage of impeccably prepared first courses: 

Seared Foie Gras served with strawberry preserves, bacon bits, and the same English Muffins that we earlier smeared with creamy marrow. This dish was an awesome blend of fat and acid, sweet and savory. Most in our party had never had Foie and this was a life-altering intro. One taste and all political correctness went out the proverbial window (they now understand that 100's of years of French tradition must be protected).

This gem gave way to a Braised Pork Belly with swiss chard, candied kumquat, and a cauliflower puree that I have been trying to replicate for the better part of a month now. Another well-balanced dish that left us wanting more. 

For a refreshing break, the next dish to arrive was a Roasted Beet Salad with homemade ricotta, pickled oyster mushrooms, tossed in champagne vinaigrette. My only complaint with this dish is that it wasn't big enough. The plate was small...I could have used a trough.

To my surprise/delight the waiter then arrived with a shallow bowl covered by a glass dome that, once lifted, revealed a quick puff of smoke and unveiled my favorite starter of the evening; Smoked Beef Tartare with lemon zest, red onion, caper, Guinness infused mustard seeds, and served with Yukon gold potato chips that were perfect for smearing with raw, smokey beef (thanks again cow). Holy Moly, it could have ended here and I would have been happy. Little did I know, we were just getting started. 

Now that my taste buds were on full alert I was prepared for the medley of mains that were soon to come: a Colorado Rack of Lamb Chops (glad to see that they aren't afraid to cook it to a beautiful mid-rare) served with a clever little skillet of Shepard’s pie, and a puree of peas, carrots, and potato. The Shepard’s pie was another table wide favorite.

On the heels of the lamb was a Kurobuta Double Pork Chop (not sure who you are Mr. or Mrs. Kurobuto but damn your pigs taste good), again cooked perfectly mid-rare; an unusual occurrence in today's restaurants when it comes to pork. Juicy, porky...delightful.

Then the infamous Beef Wellington, the dish that more poor souls have been vilified for on every GR show ever produced than any other. I was fully expecting to be under-wellmingtoned but was blown away by how good it was. Crispy, juicy, mushroomy, nicely done! 

Then came the absolute hands down dish of the night, a dish I don't think is even on the regular menu; the prime rib cap!!!! I hope that the cow that gave me the "meat butter" is the same animal that brought me this perfect portion of beef. If someone could prove to me that it was the same cow I might become a vegetarian in deference to this perfect creature, the zenith of animal sacrifice. Think prime rib: Now, take away all the mushy, pink, watery pabulum that lies just under the salty, peppery, crispy, fatty, layer above it. This is what we were served; a 5 inch long, 1 inch wide, 1/2 inch thick piece of beef that even the most devoted Hindu would fire bomb his little sister to get to. Speaking as a die-hard meat lover; this was the finest display of carnivore cookery I have ever experienced. I was stuffed full and still managed to kill off the remainder of this dish. Kudos Mr. Ramsay (and team), kudos, you out did yourself.

For the sake of brevity (not that they aren't worth their own review), I will only briefly highlight the sides. Mac and Cheese with truffles, sautéed asparagus with veal demi, mushroom tart with pearl onions, and the highlight; Colcannon (Gordon, your grandma would be proud). All were great but I haven't even hit dessert and my fingers are getting sore. Not to mention, I'm running out of superlatives.  

I was in a food coma at this point, thoroughly drenched by the dreaded "meat sweats" but I was oddly pleased when an array of "sweets, and puddings" (in deference to the Scottish chef) arrived. I remember a mango or possibly pineapple pane cote, and something with chocolate but it was all eclipsed by the Sticky Toffee, Vanilla iced cream dish. Christ al'Mighty this is good. I don't have more to add, but this is a no miss when you dine here.

I have seen Chef Ramsay drill the contestants on his shows, and the owners of the establishments he is tutoring on the importance of attention to detail, and was thoroughly impressed to learn that he practices what he preaches. All dishes were cooked to perfection, seasoned with intent, plated with an artistic eye, and presented with a warm and caring manner (his staff did him proud). Chef Andi, Gordon's right hand lady, made a point to come to our table and ensure that we had a perfect experience. We watched her gracefully navigate and continue to flawlessly expedite the waiters of an opening night where her boss, (Mr. GR) showed up by surprise. Good job Gordon, good job Chef Andi, good job to all involved, you did a fabulous job. Great Meal.

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