ELV had to be talked into going to the Carmel Room, but he’s glad he was. He endured the short stroll through the crappy casino to discover a charming restaurant that is everything the Golden Steer ought to be but isn’t. It’s a kitschy-kool, fun, basic, old-line Vegas steakhouse, with a menu straight from 1972, presented with reasonable prices in a decor (and furnishings) that won’t have you afraid to look in the corners.
As much as we’ve loved the Steer over the years, its disrepair and overall seediness has gotten too much to bear; so much so that the last time we walked into the place (starving we might add), one last look at the torn booths, threadbare carpet and put-it-out-of-its-misery bar made us beg off eating anything and sent us straight to Tacos Mexico. Until the management upgrades the decor and the food, we’ll be eating elsewhere.
Like this comfortable, plush hideaway at the Marriot in Summerlin. Where a shrimp/scallop Dijon in a vol-au-vent and a nice Beef Wellington wrapped in puff pastry in a decent Perigourdine sauce will run you less than a fiddy. That sauce is not exactly loaded with truffles and foie gras, but whaddya expect for $34? It was basically a nice meat glaze with a hint of richness and earthiness, and it went splendidly with the mouth-watering, perfectly medium-rare cut of filet.
You can also get things here like sole Veronique ($39) and veal Oscar ($34), along with wines priced the way they were 15 years ago, as well as a $45 prix fixe that includes “tornados” of beef for those of you who like your steer muscle served cyclonically.
All of this is being turned out by Chef Marlo Goliat — a 2005 graduate of our very own Cordon Bleu College — a Micronesian with some Escoffier in his veins. Goliat pays attention to details, which is what we look for in a steakhouse — since it’s so easy for places (like the GS) to let quality control lapse on everything from the freshness of the lettuce to the creaminess of their potatoes. His Caesar is plenty fresh and more of a composed affair, being wrapped by a tasty Parmesan tuile. It may not be our style, but if chopped, fancified Caesar salads are your thing, you will find no fault. Ditto his Dauphinoise potatoes – creamy, earthy and cheesy — tasting like they just came out of the oven.
Only one dessert was tried — an upside down lemon cheesecake — and it was as pleasantly surprising as that Wellington — light and lemony and obviously made with care.
Before we get too carried away, let’s be honest: the Carmel Room isn’t in the same class as our plethora of prime on the Strip. But in a neighborhood starving for good places to eat, and for steak lovers tired of the pre-fab, packaged fare of Fleming’s, it’s a little slice of homegrown authenticity, with a locally-trained chef who brings some real passion and a little flair to classic recipes that will never go out of style for some of us.
ELV’s dinner pour deux was comped and he left a $50 tip.
At the JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort
221 North Rampart Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89145