It had been close to a decade since last we braved the shopworn, smelly environs of Circus Circus just to grab a steak. Truth be told, we’d always liked the steakhouse — warm, clubby and man-musty as it is — but the short walk from the back parking lot to it — bobbing and weaving between the shoddiest bunch of turistas in Vegas — was always so damned depressing, we always talked ourselves out of eating there and usually hit the Golden Steer instead.
But over the past year or so, we’ve driven past the billboard on I-15 that proclaims it “BRANDED THE BEST (STEAKHOUSE) FOR 20 YEARS IN A ROW,” so many times, our resistance wore down, and we rose to the bait.
Unfortunately, that resistance was more than palpable in a number of our friends — each of whom graciously declined our invitation to join us for dinner.
So we dined alone on a pretty decent Caesar salad, a 21 day dry-aged strip, some good pretzel bread, and a lousy black bean soup that was helped not a bit by the thimbleful of sherry that came with it.
We also weren’t keen on being shunted to the bar while, “We see if we have any tables available,” even when the place was clearly not full, nor going to be, the entire night. Aside from those negatives, we couldn’t find much to fault with our steak, our service, or the meal in general.
We finished with a pedestrian Key lime pie that might’ve been made in-house, but probably wasn’t.
So is it in the top 5 steakhouses? The top ten? Even the top 20? The answer is no if you judge such things by the ingenious cooking, interesting side dishes, impeccably fresh fish, huge lobsters or micro-managed beef programs of our top steak emporiums.
No one’s ever going to mistake this place for CUT, Craftsteak, Carnevino or even Nero’s, but for what it is — an old-fashioned place to get some steak ‘n spuds — you could do a lot worse. And its competition down the street (the Golden Steer) could learn a thing or two from its small-but-well-priced wine list.
Speaking of wine, from this thread on Chowhound, it appears it also has a very relaxed corkage policy.
And the $42 porterhouse is probably the best deal in town for a large piece of true, dry-aged steer muscle.
Our meal for one — including a $15 glass of Ferrari-Carano merlot — came to $100 ($83 + $17 tip).
CIRCUS CIRCUS STEAKHOUSE
In the Circus Circus Hotel and Casino