For just a second, I felt bad for Greg Sherry. So I helped him out.
Sherry's family owns the Old Homestead Steakhouse, with restaurants at Caesars Palace, at the Borgata in Atlantic City and the original in New York City's Meatpacking District. (The original has been in business for an incredible 145 years! His family has owned it since 1951.) The friendly New Yorker was at his Caesars spot Thursday night to host one of the Vegas Uncork'd Master Series Dinners, and as the third course was served, Sherry asked the delighted, Negroni-enhanced group of diners if there were any questions.
None. Crickets. That's what happens when you ask for audience response just as a plate of perfectly seared Atlantic diver scallops with short rib ravioli and mushroom puree is served. Everyone was too busy drooling. So I asked a question: Was it difficult to transport the Old Homestead experience from New York to Vegas? Sherry graciously spoke about some of the details in the restaurant's decor that connected to the original, like the manhole covers on the walls of this private dining room. But honestly, I had a hard time listening to his response. Those scallops were good, and the ravioli and beefy jus underneath them provided a unique, decadent juxtaposition to their delicate seafood flavor.
We began the meal with a chilled seafood cocktail with lobster tail, Alaskan king crab, a gigantic shrimp and oysters. The beautiful, well-rounded Nobilo sauvignon blanc from New Zealand paired with the seafood would prove to be the favorite wine of the night. Next came Old Homestead's standard "kitchen sink" salad, with salami, bacon, avocado, tomato and blue cheese, matched with a bold Tuscan red blend. Then, the scallops, paired with an unexpectedly strong Bordeaux blend. This seemed to be the only misfire of pairing wine with food, but it was forgivable considering the dish—chef Michael Gill's favorite—had so many elements and was so different, I'm not sure a wine exists that could match up to its might.
The fourth course offered a beefy decision, either a full-pound bone-in filet mignon or a 24-ounce bone-in New York strip steak. General manager William Dunbar had instructed me to go with the New York before dinner began, informing me it was a new cut; you don't always see a strip steak served with the bone. Both cuts were impeccable, charred on the outside and bursting with juicy flavor with each bite. Old Homestead was the first Vegas restaurant to offer beef sourced from legendary purveyor and butcher Pat LaFrieda, and you just can't go wrong with any of the steaks on this menu.
Over dessert—the largest slab of chocolate cake I've ever seen, then petits fours with a powerful Fernet Branca—I exchanged email addresses with the charming British couple across from me, who had regaled me with tales of their travels all night. The least I could do in return was recommend some restaurants they should sample during their time in Vegas. I've got my work cut out, though; I can only hope their other meals on the Strip will equal the Old Homestead experience.