BINION’S RANCH Brings Back Memories…All Bad Ones

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The last time ELV dined at Binion’s Ranch Steakhouse, it was called the Top of the Mint and he was cheating on one of his ex-wives there.

That’s the thing about cheating on wives, you can never do it in a good restaurant. You always have to find someplace that pretends to be a lot better than it is. Places that impress in all the wrong ways for all the wrong gals. The women you’re cheating with rarely want or deserve better.

Anything made table-side always helped, as did flambeed anything, as well as a smarmy maitre d’ who knew when to keep his mouth shut.

In fact, now that we think about it, it was the constant necessity of having to find lousy-but-still-impressive restaurants that cured us of our infidelity affliction.

Back in the day, The Top of the Mint fit the bill perfectly. First of all, it was above the ground floor…26 floors or so, with windows on three sides looking down onto Fremont Street and south towards the Strip. Back when you could see Fremont Street (meaning: it wasn’t obscured by the Fremont Street Shitty Experience), it was fairly impressive even if you didn’t have an ulterior motive for being there.

These days, it’s called Binion’s Ranch after the family that ran this hotel into the ground after it inherited it from patriarch/felon/Vegas icon Benny B., after he went to that big casino in the sky.

But the Binion’s have nothing to do with the hotel anymore. Binion’s Ranch doesn’t supply the beef, and this place is so shopworn and dull we can’t imagine what kind of extra-marital fling could ever get kickstarted by its cocktails or comestibles.

And the steak and lobster we had were so foul, we wouldn’t foist them on a floozy, no matter what she was flouncing.

How bad was the $42 porterhouse? Not prime, not even second-grade prime. It was barely USDA choice, tough, overcooked and completely devoid of seasoning. As in: No one in the kitchen put even a grain of salt or pepper on it.

The $52 “chicken fried lobster” served here has to be the worst idea in food since the deep-fried Twinkie. It had the consistency (and taste) of a deep-fried chicken breast and came with a sugary, thousand island-like dressing that must appeal to a certain sort of rube. The bearnaise that came with the filet was separating as it came to the table, and the salads didn’t even approach Cheesecake Factory quality. We can’t remember ever coming across a rock hard crouton at a CF, and our over-dressed Caesar was full of them.

Oh yeah, and the baked potato was cold. Not slightly warm, or not-hot-enough. Cold.

A couple of bottles of $50 Argyle pinot noir saved the meal, as did some scintillating conversation with our distinctly non-floozy dining companions (photographic evidence above to the contrary).

ELV was kinda happy the food was so bad, because if one bad restaurant is so atrocious it saves the world from one less philandering husband, then some good will have come of our meal.

Our dinner for four – with $100 worth of wine – came to $350. Since Spring Fever is no longer around, ELV went home and took a cold shower.


In Binion’s Gambling Hall and Hotel

128 Fremont Street

Las Vegas, NV 89101


2 thoughts on “BINION’S RANCH Brings Back Memories…All Bad Ones

  1. Lobster really is the most maligned foodstuff ever. So many crustaceans needlessly killed in the name of chefs trying to improve upon simple steaming. And they never (okay, rarely) do.

  2. “Ranch straight from Smart & Final.” Hahahaha. Cough, wheeze, deep breath (composure).

    Caesar’s salad at “Caesar’s” in Tijuana, Mexico (near San Diego border) is often credited as its originator. Their fresh egg, milder yet savory cheeses and room temperature presentation puts salads, looking like the one from Binion’s (arctic-cold lettuce, brick-croutons, “Cheez-It” sharp parmesan pasted to insipid, dressing descendants), to shame!
    I’m looking forward to ELV’s book!

    Nostalgic for an increasingly obsolete good called the paperback, I’ve forborne Amazon’s Kindle and other related kin.

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