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Dining

[Eat the Casino]

Revel in festive atmosphere and fare at Sunset Station

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Sunset Station’s Oyster Bar, a quirky spot with satisfying food.
Photo: Sam Morris

Sunset Station is a peculiar place. It’s been around since 1997, so I understand if it’s so familiar it feels common. To me, it’s wacky.

It’s a monster, spread over 98 acres. Combined with the nearby Galleria at Sunset, it makes up the hub of an older but still active Henderson business neighborhood. It’s packed with all the trappings of a Las Vegas hotel-casino, even a concert amphitheater, plus signature Station Casinos amenities like a big sports book, a bingo hall with almost 500 seats, a movie theater and bowling lanes.

Try a peppercorn-crusted filet at Sunset Station's Sonoma Cellar steakhouse.

Try a peppercorn-crusted filet at Sunset Station's Sonoma Cellar steakhouse.

The wackiness—not wackness, though it can be a fine line in Vegas—comes with the décor. At first, the sun-drenched Spanish village motif was charmingly out of place; now, the colorful mosaic tile work and stunning stained glass undulations in the central Gaudi Bar are underappreciated. There are remnants here from the era when Vegas casinos were Disneyland-esque in theming—the sign outside the Bullfighter’s Bar; the painted sky ceiling with sunset-pink cloud wisps; the medieval “sculpture” above the Royal Slots pit; and the restaurant facades at the Oyster Bar and Sonoma Cellar steakhouse, which might as well be set pieces from Pirates of the Caribbean.

For all the casino’s playfulness, Sunset Station’s dining options are as straight-ahead as it gets, and most restaurants hit the mark for quality and value. Wander into that cavern of an oyster bar and find the same menu we all love from the Palace Station version, including the hallowed seafood pan roast ($17-$20). The steakhouse, honored by Wine Spectator last year, is the top pick at the property, brick walls and white tablecloths plus prime ribeyes and Alaskan red king crab legs. Station’s newer casinos in Green Valley and Summerlin are known to have finer fine dining options, but Sonoma Cellar can hang with ’em, and for a few dollars less. (Kill that ribeye for $48 or a pan-seared porterhouse for $36.)

A classic dish sparked with fresh flavor: chicken fettucine with artichokes, mushrooms, garlic and capers at Pasta Cucina.

A classic dish sparked with fresh flavor: chicken fettucine with artichokes, mushrooms, garlic and capers at Pasta Cucina.

What do you mean there’s no taco shop in the food court? That’s because there’s a quick-serve counter called Viva Salsa just outside the Cabo Mexican Restaurant, as well as the ever-steady 24-hour Grand Café.

Say what you will about the popular Feast Buffet, but I enjoyed a totally respectable soul food lunch of crispy, savory fried chicken, mac and cheese, black eyed peas, sage stuffing and collard greens worth more than the $10.99 price ($7.99 with your Boarding Pass). And that was just one plate. Next door, simple Italian classics are served in a casual garden setting at Pasta Cucina. I like the lemony chicken fettucine with artichokes, mushrooms, garlic and capers ($12.99), but feel free to stick with eggplant parmesan ($11.99), shrimp scampi ($14.99) or veal marsala ($16.99). There are so many restaurants here, you might as well eat your favorite food. Just be sure to grab a nightcap in the Gaudi Bar—it’s ridiculous.

Sunset Station 1301 W. Sunset Road, 547-7777.

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Brock Radke is Las Vegas Weekly's food editor and author of the Strip-focused column The Incidental Tourist. He has written ...

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