In just two and a half years, Elizabeth Blau and her team have made a heavy impression on the local dining landscape. Summerlin-area restaurants Honey Salt, Made L.V. and the new Andiron Steak & Sea have unquestionably elevated the neighborhood’s food scene—and don’t forget that Blau and her husband, chef Kim Canteenwalla, are also behind the rousing success of Buddy V’s on the Strip, the first restaurant endeavor associated with TV Cake Boss Buddy Valastro.
With Andiron, Blau and company move closer to fine dining while demonstrating once again that they know their audience better than anyone. This is the signature restaurant experience at Downtown Summerlin, warm and familiar but interesting enough to stand out.
Named for the metal support that holds wood in a fireplace, Andiron is a dramatic and beautiful space designed by Thomas Schlesser’s Design Bureaux, Inc. Navy and cream with wood accents, the dining room is framed by floor-to-ceiling plantation shutters, a glass-enclosed kitchen and eye-catching ceiling installations that seem ripped from the top of a cottage in the Hamptons.
Andiron might be the Blau-iest of this restaurant trilogy, considering her New England roots. But the skill and style of Massachusetts native Joe Zanelli, the chef who also opened Honey Salt, guides the experience.
Spend time with seafood. In addition to festive platters of shellfish and oysters, delicate opening dishes like yellowtail crudo in basil oil ($16), sea urchin-topped toast ($20) and sweet Alaskan king crab with avocado and grapefruit ($18) should not be missed. For mains, grilled whole branzino ($37) and the Santa Barbara shellfish pot ($33) (saffron-lobster broth stocked with all kinds of oceanic deliciousness) jump out at you, but the more subtle Scottish salmon ($29) is sublime, augmented by a Serrano ham crust and sweet-spicy chili glaze.
Andiron stays classic by avoiding the small plates routine; this is a steakhouse, one with big stars—bone-in, dry-aged New York strip ($58)—and reliable sides—creamed spinach, wood-fired asparagus and hand-cut, fried Kennebec potatoes. Still, little dashes of fun and lightness are sprinkled here and there, signature moves from these restaurateurs. The grilled and chopped vegetable salad ($14) is tender, warm and crisp, layered with flavor from toasted almonds, garbanzo beans and a roasted tomato-balsamic dressing. There are matzoh balls wrapped in bacon and macaroni and cheese formed into a waffle. And there aren’t many restaurants in Las Vegas where you can have farro risotto ($22) with mushrooms, dates and pea shoots while your better half indulges in a luscious ribeye cap steak ($33) with chimichurri, roasted shallots, and a big baked potato with all the sour cream and bacon he or she can handle ($10). This is destination dining in the suburbs, something that’s still kinda new for Vegas, installed by the people who do it best.
Andiron Steak & Sea Downtown Summerlin, 702-685-8002. Daily, 5-10 p.m.