On August 26, Old Homestead Steakhouse at Caesars Palace hosted the first of what is set to become a regular bimonthly event—a high-end pairing dinner showcasing fine spirits and the restaurant’s diverse menu. The inaugural event expertly paired selections from Herradura’s tequila collection with some of Old Homestead’s signature dishes.
But this was no ordinary pairing. The tequila associated with each course was incorporated in some manner into its corresponding dish. The result: flavors blending seamlessly with their drinks, each transitioning gracefully to one another.
Upon arrival, guests were welcomed by platters of oysters on the half shell and prawns practically the size of your head. The oysters were prepared with a sharp tequila sunrise mignonette, while the prawns were served with a cocktail sauce rife with tequila. Accompanying the shellfish was the house specialty el guapo maragarita, one of Old Homestead’s newest specialty cocktails, an amalgam of smokiness and citrus combining Herradura Double Barrel Reposado with Grand Marnier 100 and Del Maguey mezcal.
After a couple rounds of imbibing and conversing, the group was moved into the private dining room, where Casa Herradura’s director of international brand development Ruben Aceves Vidrio provided an in-depth history of Herradura’s lineage. He also discussed the Double Barrel Reposado, which Caesars Palace director of beverage Jean-Pierre St. Claire helped personally select from the tequila maker in Guadalajara. It’s aged for 11 months and then rested another month in a new toasted oak barrel, hence the double barrel name. Tasting it was a highlight of the evening, as complex a reposado as you’ll ever experience. Tequila lovers should make their way to Caesars, as its venues are the only ones to carry this particular nectar. Since only 240 bottles were available from Caesars’ barrel, once it’s gone, it’s gone.
Dinner began with the Old Homestead signature salad, adorned with ruby red grapefruit and silver paloma-infused vinaigrette. Appropriately, the salad was accompanied by a paloma prepared with Herradura Blanco, with each citrus complementing the other. To be honest, I’m not a blanco guy, but I might be converted after tasting Herradura’s. It’s oak-barrel aged for 45 days, substantially more robust than most other blancos while not disguising the agave flavor.
A tajín-spiced Alaskan halibut followed, prepared with fire-roasted corn and a reposado lime foam. Since tajín is commonly used in micheladas (a common Mexican hangover cure which is essentially the lovechild of a beer and a bloody Mary), the halibut was served fittingly with a sangrita—a shot of Herradura Reposado with a bloody Caesar back.
Of course, the best course of the Old Homestead dinner was the steak, a gorgeous New York Strip au poivre with potato pave, smoked trumpet mushrooms and an anejo chimichurri. Served with an anejo Manhattan prepared with chocolate bitters, the course resonated of spice and smoke from both the plate and the glass. This was the epitome of a steakhouse meal, with a Mexican twist.
For dessert, Herradurra Port Cask was paired with a chocolate passion fruit cake with caramelized, port-soaked oranges. Herradura’s Port Cask is a reposado aged for an additional two months in vintage port casks, endowing the tequila with even more complex flavors of deep caramel. The fruit-forward course was a light and flavorful finish to the meal.
Be on the lookout for the next pairing diner to be announced by Old Homestead. Meanwhile, I’ll be belly-up with a double barrel reposado in hand.
Old Homestead Steakhouse Caesars Palace, 731-7558. Sunday-Thursday, 4:45-10:30 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 4:45-11 p.m.