Located in the heart of the MGM Grand, Craftsteak is both a mecca to which foodies find themselves making pilgrimmage, and an 'accidental' find for tourists coming through its illustrious "Grand Garden" arena. Though the MGM Grand itself, like the city it calls home, is not really known for subtle sophistication - it does boast a lion's share (had to do it, sorry!) of restaurants within its "Grand Garden" arena that offer fine dining in tasteful settings. Craftsteak can be found, after a long hike through the casino, among the serenity of this row - with the lights and noise thankfully dialed down to an ambient level.
On this particular occasion, we were at Craftsteak to celebrate a friend's birthday - commandeering a coveted table in the semi-private dining room (which we ended up sharing with a Jonas Brother!). The decor is rich, warm and welcoming, with its dark wood furniture and wall panels. The room fit four tables of eight to ten people, affording a cozy space for an intimate, yet lively, dinner.
As we were a large group, the birthday girl had mapped out our three-course meal in advance - so some of the items I will attempt to capture for you below may not be on the regular menu (though most appear to be, as noted).
|Heirloom Tomato Salad ($12-$14)|
We started with three different types of salad:
Heirloom Tomato, Baby Beets with Pickled Egg, and Warm Frisee.
|Baby Beets with Pickled Egg ($13)|
The third and final entry in the salad
|Warm Frisee Salad ($13)|
After grazing on the feast of salads and very reluctantly letting servers clear the few remaining scraps away, we set our sights on the main course - Wagyu beef, cooked medium rare and served in beautiful copper cookware.
|Wagyu Beef ($130-$285 per person|
depending on domestic vs. Japanese "A5" beef)
Words failed me at first taste of these steak strips - gorgeously balanced portions of muscle and fat, perfectly seasoned to let the texture and natural flavors of the meat serve as testimony to its quality. If not for the need to maintain some semblance of decorum, I would have picked up the pan and licked every last drizzle clean.
|Side dishes: Gnocchi, corn concoction (not on regular menu)|
Though the steak was such pure joy to experience, and did not need any accompaniment, our wonderful hostess made sure we had a plethora of side dishes to stimulate our taste buds. One of these dishes was potato gnocchi - giant, soft, light and gently flavored pillows that provided a nice contrast to the texture of the beef.
We also had asparagus and some sort of corn concoction that I regret not hounding the waiter until he provided all the specifics for. The plate of 'corn mix' was like no other corn focused dish I had ever tasted - it was hard to identify all the layers of flavor in it, though it did not look complicated - but suffice it to say it was simply incredible.
All in all, those who appreciate great food, in a nice atmosphere, with attentive yet unobtrusive service - and without the pretentiousness - would fall deeply in love with Craftsteak at the MGM Grand. Kudos to Tom Colicchio for showing Top Chefs who's boss! Now, if only you would open a location in Los Angeles, so that we can indulge in the magnificence of your culinary coup with greater frequency!
On a 7 point scale:
Flavor - 6.5 bites
Presentation - 5.5 bites
Originality - 5 bites
Ambience - 6 stars
Service - 6.5 stars
Overall experience - 6.5 bites
Price - $$$ (3 bite marks)
Probability of return visit - 100%
3799 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV, 89109