There are too many steakhouses in Las Vegas. It’s a fact. Even though the tourist taste for beef never seems to wane, nobody needs this much prime beef. This “problem” is further complicated because 1. the vast majority of steakhouses are very good, and 2. the menu is pretty much the same from place to place. End result: We’ve got a lot of tasty but boring restaurants.
- 35 Steaks + Martinis
- Hard Rock Hotel, 693-5000.
- Sunday-Thursday, 6-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 6 p.m.-midnight.
So it’s tough for something new to stand out among the Strip’s steakhouse skyscrapers, even if it’s off-Strip. The Hard Rock’s recently renovated and rebranded offering, dubbed 35 Steaks + Martinis for the number of days the beef is dry-aged, is a sleek room with terrific food that catapults it into the city’s big beef battle. Skilled chef Chris Noble is calling the shots and doing it right: Due to the aging process, these steaks have a rich, earthy flavor and juicy, perfectly tender texture. It’s easy to get a great steak in Vegas, but few taste this good.
They’re going to try to sell you the 35-ounce tomahawk chop ribeye, and if you want to share, it’s not a bad option. But all the standard cuts are available, including a “smaller” 18-ounce ribeye or a great Kansas City strip. The rest of the menu isn’t the most creative, but there are fun flourishes: seared ahi tuna with a spicy seasoning rub, a meaty crab cake with red curry cream, and a satisfying appetizer of melted Boursin cheese and spinach dip served in an artichoke.
Before dining at 35 Steaks, I hadn’t been in this restaurant space since it was called AJ’s. That version, a decidedly unfancy, old-school joint, shuttered in early 2009 and returned as Rare 120, which closed in summer 2011 when the casino came under new ownership. Even though the restaurant’s location—tucked into the “old” part of the resort near the spa—has never been optimal, this latest Hard Rock steak incarnation looks, feels and tastes like a winner.