Having spent the last few weeks getting blasted with semi-encouraging Facebook food photos from half of my friends list, I was encouraged enough to take an evening out to Tivoli Village’s newest “place that probably uses a chalkboard for a permanent feature somewhere”, aka Big-money-backed trendy restaurant. I was mildly entertained by the idea of a butcher shop/bar downstairs, and I was even going to go to the media event pre-opening. I missed out on the free E&R branded Victorinox chefs knife with the tote bag, but plans changed when I had to go watch doctors pull a medical oddity the size of a lemon out of my brother’s brain (he’s fine now, and I already had that exact knife anyways). Well, I made it out and my first impression was…
Holy friggin hell, combine stone with glass and a bunch of drunk lawyers on a Friday, I felt like I was in a wind tunnel full of ducks. They could have been slaughtering the cow straight up kosher style and I wouldn’t have noticed. Thankfully it was a lovely night to be seated in the quietest part of the restaurant: the patio.
Alright, enough jokes. Brass tacks. This is a steakhouse, I had a steak. Their “Spencer Steak”. Verdict: pretty good. Appropriate seasoning, very tender, fat just melted in your mouth, and great heavy grass-fed flavor. Let it be known, “This steakhouse has cooked a steak and did not fudge it up.” They get a banana sticker on their report card for that. Honestly, they deserve it because it’s embarrassingly common to see a steak cooked poorly in a Vegas Steakhouse.
Now onto a list of things they kind of tripped over themselves on. Salmon, the last bastion of entrees for people who do not belong in a steakhouse, was MAD SALTY, on wet and SALTY greens, with a side of the saltiest Béarnaise sauce I’ve ever had. I don’t mean this was salty like some brands of potato chips are salty, I mean this was salty like a heaping bowl of salt WISHES it was salty. In its defense, it was saltier than I could imagine not being a mistake by some green-horn line cook, so there’s that. Maybe he mistook ounces for kilograms.
They have 47 ”things that weren’t entrees or steaks”, so bear with the smattering few I decided on. The one I couldn’t really picture was “Bone Marrow Carne Asada” so I decided on that, the “Grilled Bacon and Barbecue Sauce”, the brussels sprouts, the kale salad, the grilled heirloom carrots, and the fried cauliflower. Everything was very… Meh. The only thing I really ended up coveting was the bacon, and not really for any kind of enthusiasm for it, just out of hunger and base cravings.
The one thing that was less than “meh” was the brussels sprouts. If there is one vegetable that you don’t really want to “stand on its own”, it’s these. That’s why we fry them, coast them in spicy stuff, just pack them with flavor. E&R decided to treat it like it was sashimi and applied nothing but lemon and pistachio. I finished the pistachios, I didn’t finish the brussels sprouts.
Now lets get it straight. Was I unhappy with this meal? Yeah. Will I go back? Maybe. Frankly looking back at my choices, I avoided things like pork schnitzel, the Drunken Goat sandwich (goat cheese, brie, and a ton of fruits can’t be that bad), or whatever “Jumping Beef” is. Bad form, old boy. Maybe it’s the hopeless optimist in me, but I feel I have menu regret big time. All I hope is that they haven’t gotten so self-satisfied by looking cool that they won’t be taking criticisms and feedback to improve what I frankly see as stubborn bumps to be ironed out. Only time, and I guess maybe myself, will tell.
PS: Why didn’t I mention the desserts or cocktails? Brother, they weren’t worth mentioning.