When the Tamares Group sold the Las Vegas Club in August—a largely forgotten property devoid of dining options when it closed—it reminded us that the Plaza has been the Downtown casino the investment group has focused on sprucing up in recent years. It seemed a good time to check in and see how the Plaza’s recent restaurant renovations and additions are holding up. The short answer: pretty great. Most Fremont Street Experience casinos don’t boast a strong balance of restaurants; the Plaza is well-covered with a classic, destination steakhouse, a popular breakfast-brunch spot, and two quietly delicious snackeries.
The most quiet is Beer Garden, formerly known as Bier Garten, which recently changed its name and renovated its already lovely “backyard” patio that peers across Main Street into the FSE. On my recent visit, the rotating taps offered diverse suds from Traveler Beer Company’s crisp grapefruit shandy to the Belgian-style PranQster from North Coast Brewing Company. The drool-inducing menu of signature sausages is about to expand with a Vienna hot dog, a burger, steak and grilled sandwiches, but don’t worry—the Hacienda ($7.99), a sweet Italian link with roasted peppers, caramelized onions and giardinera will remain. Downtown has its share of places to drink great beer, and this one needs to be near the top of your list.
Beer Garden’s operators also run Pop Up Pizza, which savvy Downtowners know is home to some of the best slices in the city. You can grab wings, salads and vegan soft-serve here, but Pop Up’s crust is such an emblem of crispy-chewy bliss, you might want to stick with the pizza. White pies are a specialty, like the Chapel, with roasted garlic oil and spinach, and the Plaza, with mozzarella, ricotta, roasted peppers and sausage.
The food court offers the typical stuff, topped off with Cafelatte, a Lavazza coffee bar with plenty of pastries and Krispy Kremes if you don’t have the time or energy to attack Hash House A Go Go, still one of the Valley’s favorite large-portioned, hangover-curing breakfast depots. This one serves lunch and dinner, too.
Say what you will about the man, but Oscar’s Steakhouse is undeniably one of those old-school Vegas experiences we all claim to clamor for, even though it’s only been open four years. As if the vibe and neon-speckled views from the glass-dome dining room weren’t enough, the menu’s laced with classics from shellfish platters to meatballs to Caesars to a fine rendition of the late, great Alpine Village’s chicken supreme soup ($8). Definitely have a martini, and my top steak picks are the Spilotro ($29), grilled and spiced with lots of garlic and red chili, and the prime rib ($34 for Carolyn’s Cut or $43 for a bone-in slab).
When we talk about Downtown dining these days, it’s all about the hip food around Fremont East. But the Plaza mixes a bit of that with more traditional casino fare, and does it all well.
The Plaza 1 S. Main St., 702-386-2110.