Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Delmonico Steakhouse, Las Vegas Nevada

Having taken the early flight to Vegas and catching a quick breakfast at Payard, a late lunch at Delmonico was just what the doctor ordered...after all, it was 5:00PM EST. Not a steak eater, the choice may seem a tad unusual until one realizes that this was now my fourth Emeril restaurant and fourth time I'd be sampling his take on Shrimp and Bread Pudding. To be fair, I find it unfortunate that so many people consider Emeril a "sell-out" because he is on TV....he is still a good cook with some great recipes and one of the few celeb chefs who actually keeps his restaurants open for lunch along with dinner.

On first impression, Delmonico seems rather boring in design. A front bar/lounge and a back dining room with mostly whites and woods - Elegant but "home-y" would be the best way to describe it, yet slightly odd with the single spotlights peering down on each table. Arriving around 1:45 I was toward the end of lunch hour, but was seated immediately at a four top in the front.

The menu and bread were delivered swiftly, yet despite my knowing exactly what I wanted it took 15 minutes before the waiter returned for my order. Creamy BBQ Shrimp with Fresh Baked Rosemary Biscuit, please. Order placed, I was given "bread" and "butter" from a side serving table....the bread was cool and dry while the butter was a block of ice....poor form.

Unchecked upon until the arrival of my shrimp around 2:30pm, I sat and listened to the table behind me and took some pictures. Thankfully, when my meal did arrive, the Chef's cooking once again spoke volumes. 7 huge shrimp, 3 small rosemary biscuits, and a sauce that can only be described as a mixture of honey, hickory, and cream with a slight bit of was lovely. With all the shrimp finished and significant sauce left over, I requested more bread and this time was thankfully brought two piping hot rolls glistening with butter. While these were delicious and used for mopping up the sauce, it does not excuse the awful first bread service....don't serve unfresh food, period.

With my main gone a different waiter appeared and asked if I'd like dessert. Darn right I said, having sampled 3 of Emeril's Bread Puddings in the past (one of them twice....we actually went back to Emeril's of Orlando for Bread Pudding after the version at Emeril's Tchoup Chop disappointed....not that I'm obsessed with bread pudding or anything.) On the menu at Delmonico? Banana Bread Pudding with Oreo Ice Cream.

Served in a tiny pot, the moist and liquidy Banana Bread was fantastic, yet so hot that it had
turned the ice cream into a melting puddle before it even arrived. The icecream itself was pretty standard fare and didn't really compliment nor detract from the pudding. Having had Banana Bread Pudding twice in the past, this was the worst of the three and nowhere near as good as the Sweet Potato Bread Pudding at Emeril's Fish House or the Bourbon Cinnamon version at Citywalk Orlando. As many have noted before, Vegas seems to have a thing for runny bread pudding, yet the three best I've tried in Vegas have all been the more dry version.

All told, the shrimp was truly standout while all other aspects of the meal were pretty average....and the cold bread....poor poor from. From what I've heard the steaks here are delicious and I'd certainly return to sample other menu items, but given the vast number of Vegas choices (and two better Emeril restaurants, IMO) I doubt I'll be back.

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