When chef Todd Harrington left Central at Caesars Palace to become the assistant executive chef at the Downtown Grand, he couldn’t wait to get his hands on the menu at Stewart & Ogden, the new casino’s update on a classic three-meal coffee shop. “I wanted to give it an elegant lift,” he said. “A lot of menu items weren’t as fresh as they should be. Now it’s a scratch kitchen. It’s just a matter of bringing the standard up and getting everyone on the same level.”
It may seem like a sudden move, considering the Grand just opened in November, but the powers that be have already shown they’ll be more nimble than the average corporate crew. At S&O, Harrington just completed a culinary overhaul. The garden shed ($6) went from a chopped salad to a simple, tasty arugula and beet dish with goat cheese and lemon vinaigrette. The burger patties are ground fresh daily. The lunch menu’s crispy, slightly sweet fried chicken ($16) rivals Michel Richard’s famous version at Central, and Harrington’s signature braised short rib ($18) replaces a lackluster Dr. Pepper pot roast dish. “All the VPs are eating the short rib three times a week,” the chef said.
The restaurant is still in a state of transition as the kitchen masters these new specialties, and it has yet to achieve its ultimate goal of staying open 24 hours; every casino needs around-the-clock nosh. But rest assured, the Grand is headed in a tastier direction.
Stewart & Ogden Downtown Grand, 719-5100. Daily, 7 a.m.-1 a.m.