The Steak That Saved Las Vegas

If you’d like to hear ELV expound orally on the delights of aged beef in the resonant, grandiloquent, deep-toned and high-flown tones for which he is known, click here.

Otherwise, keep reading after the jump for our take on how one steak could save Las Vegas.


Do you remember in the movie Animal House when all seems lost for the party hearty guys of Delta fraternity? They’ve screwed up their double-secret probation, flunked all their exams, and are facing mass expulsion from Faber College. Things couldn’t get any worse, and at the moment when all hope is lost, and things seem bleakest, Bluto (the John Belushi character) has but one suggestion: PARTY!

Our dining scene has resembled the forlorn Delta House lately as restaurants big and small struggle to carve up an ever-shrinking pie or face expulsion from the land of the goose that once laid lots of golden eggs.

Everywhere you look, it’s discount this and early-bird special that, and I’ve dutifully reported on lots of them both here, on Channel 8, and on my blog. But things just keep getting worse – as yesterday’s article in the New York Times reports – and restaurant folks look to me like a lot of them are getting ready to throw in the kitchen towel.

So you know what I decided to do? I decided to say the heck with all the two-for-ones and complimentary glasses of insipid wine…..

Quit feeling sorry for everyone, stop trying to suck up to the lowest common denominator and go find the best damn steak in town!

And I found it. And it might be the best steak in the world. And it’s not in New York or Chicago or Paris or Tokyo. It’s right here in our own back yard, being dry-aged to perfection in a giant meat locker out near Blue Diamond, and cooked to a turn by a guy named Zach Allen at Carnevino anytime you want one.

The one’s I’m talking about are the super-aged beauties – some up to eight months old – being shrunken and cured (that’s really the word for it) to perfection in that refrigerated warehouse. Over that much time, enzymes break down almost all connective tissue, the meat shrinks by 50%, and the beef attains an almost ham-like, protein-rich, umami depth charge that knocks you over with its beefy, mineral-rich intensity.

I’ve eaten beef from all over the world and I’ve never tasted anything like it. And you can’t get beef like this anywhere else. It’s one of the grandest things about dining here, and we should all be bragging about something so unique to Vegas – instead constantly hearing about how tough things are.

Because if there’s one thing George W. Bush Jr. and Obama agree on, it’s that spending money is what’s going to bring us out of these dire times. And I’m not talking about buying another crime-against-nature-mobile or McMansion that you don’t need….I’m talking about food. The stuff that keeps us alive.

So let us not despair. Like Bluto said: “Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!” It’s time to celebrate the great things about our dining scene. If we’re going out feet first at least we should have some fabulous food in our gut, and the grand aged-steaks at Carnevino are a once in a lifetime steak party that John Blutarsky would approve of.

5 thoughts on “The Steak That Saved Las Vegas

  1. PS: Zack’s ribeye may be better than Peter Lugar’s porterhouse…. I think I need to eat both a few more times to make this decision fair and equitable, I look forward to trying to decide!

  2. I ate at Carnevino recently. Ordered the rib-ye, bone in, for two medium rare. steak was raw and bloodly in the middle. Sent it back to be cooked more. Steak was close to indedible…..almost unchewable. Like chewing leather or chewing gum. Waiter tried to make excuses, but I didn’t want another one, because it was the same piece of beef. Salad was very ordinary and tiny, and @ $13.95 I considered myself ripped off.

    I will never go back and have told many people how terrible the steak there was.

  3. I went to a steakhouse one time where they never asked about rare and medium-rare. They asked what you expect it to look like. It’s a much better idea. Most American’s have no idea what medium-rare is supposed to look like. They seem to forget it means medium-raw. A rare steak, which is raw, is not “bloody” at all. It’s the medium-rare steak that’s raw and bloody. Medium is still mostly pink. It’s what Americans expect when they ask for medium-rare. Now those who like rare have had to invent the term blue so they can get rare because rare comes out medium-rare. It’s so frustrating. Thank you Carnevino for actually cooking meat so it comes out like it’s supposed to.
    The meat is never “bloody” it’s flavorful oxymyoglobin that’s hasn’t been turned into bland metmyoglobin yet. Real blood would just curdle, smell bad and taste very different if it were in meat thrown on a hot pan, or grill.

  4. john scrups – from the description you got a medium rare stake, I think what you assume to be medium rare is actually medium, most restaurants delivery of medium rare is actually overcooked.

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