Tom Colicchio’s Heritage Steak was everything we thought it would be, and less. Calling it a copy of a copy is being kind.
We anticipated Craftsteak-lite — a typical, Vegas, force-fed “concept” operation, direct from an absentee/celebrity chef to the gullible hoi polloi — with lots of nods to overdone/outdated culinary signposts (Vandouvan spices! bone marrow!) and barely enough execution by union cooks to justify the shameless tariffs imposed.
To say it disappointed even on those terms is an understatement.
To say that Colicchio and the corporate brains behind the idea haven’t had an original menu thought in a decade is probably closer to the truth.
Take the food….please!
Most of the recipes are as dated as that joke. Everything was under-spiced or un-seasoned, and nothing held any interest beyond the first bite. The only thing any of them had in common with the kind of food that made Colicchio famous (at the Gramercy Tavern fifteen years ago) is the menu descriptions. Back then, simple wordings like “Wood-roasted onion soup, smoked escargot, bacon, garlic confit” were marvels of understatement — saying less but promising much, much more. In those days, there were surprises in every bite. Here you get brownish-tan glop with nary a hint of onion-ness, studded with a few smoked escargot (and tiny globs of garlic confit) that bring nothing to the party:
If Colicchio had tried serving this soup to Danny Meyer, he’d still be flipping burgers at Shake Shack.
Ten years ago, “ash-roasted bone marrow” might have compelled, but these days it means nothing more than get ready to pay through the nose for an impressive-sounding trash food cliche:
Lest you think such puffery was but a menu aberration, the advertised “apple slaw” was just a bunch of matchstick apple shreds. Just as absent was the barely-there, not-spicy-in-the-least-bit “spicy lime vinaigrette.” And what a few chunks of lobster were doing on this plate is anyone’s guess. The smart money says the overcooked, chewy crustacean is present to justify a $24 price tag for what used to be a piece of throwaway protein. Not content to gouge you with one hand, the restaurant takes away with the other as they don’t even bother serving the marrow with some toast or bread to spread the stuff on.
If some contestant tried serving this on Top Chef, they’d be laughed out of the kitchen.
Things improve slightly if you order the lamb ribs:
They may be greasy and hell and sitting in (tasteless green) oil, but at least they had plenty of spice — although the raita had the consistency of thick mayonnaise, and not a hint of yogurt tang to it.
From there, things devolved quickly.
The steak tartare was so devoid of savor or sapidity, it could’ve been made by a Mormon sister-wife:
Again, no seasonings of note and none of the umami-rich additives (onions, mustard, Worcestershire, pepper etc.) that give a good tartare its zing. Impairing matters further was the pool of tasteless oil the meat was swimming in, “pickled beech mushrooms” that hardly were, and “bok choy kimchi” that might be the single biggest menu lie we’ve encountered since “homemade” started being used slick marketers — it being nothing more than a couple of raw leaves dabbed with chile oil. Adding insult to injury were the stale rounds of toast stuck on top of this hapless concoction.
If Colicchio tried serving this to Batali or Ozersky, he’d be laughed out of the carnivore club.
Then, things went from bad to worse.
And by worse we mean the worst strip steak we’ve had in a dozen years:
A steak so soft, puffy and denuded of its beefiness that we could’ve been munching on a piece of tofu for all our taste buds were telling us.
It was a steak so bad that Colicchio should be banned from the steakhouse society….at least until he actually gets back in a kitchen and starts tasting the food with his name on it.
But that’s not going to happen, of course. The slick-pated one will continue being a big media star, raking in the kind of cash you only get when you have a television show acting as a constant commercial for your restaurants. In case you miss this point, he and the Mirage Hotel make sure you get it when you stroll by:
Because selling this stuff based upon the way it tastes is never going to work.
ELV’s above meal + a figgy pudding dessert that tasted a lot better than it looked + a single glass of warm red wine came to $179 (sans tip).
TOM COLICCHIO’S HERITAGE STEAK
In the Mirage Hotel and Casino
34oo Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109