Adrian and I have recently returned from a fantastic 4th of July week in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, we didn’t become millionaires from gambling. And that would actually be extremely difficult to do since we don’t gamble. (The most I ever bet was $5 at a slot machine, when I first traveled to Las Vegas a few years ago, and that was only because I always wanted to pull the handle of a slot machine like I had seen in the movies; I gambled $5 and got out $10; since I had doubled my investment I didn’t want to push my luck, so I happily took my money and never bet again.) We didn’t gamble but we did bake in consistently excruciating 110°F+ temperatures and we did give in to our gluttonous nature and stuffed ourselves with some spectacular food. As a result of the intense eating binge, my weight has climbed into a whole new zone… Quite depressing but nothing unusual after a week in Vegas; hopefully, it will descend back to sea level in no time.
So, let’s talk about food, which, by the way, is the surest bet in Vegas. More importantly, the Las Vegas food scene has been booming over the past few years. Numerous celebrity chefs, such as Wolfgang Puck, Mario Batali, Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay and Scott Conant to name just a few, have opened restaurants here, and now tourists not only fritter away their money at casinos and shows, but they also explore Sin City’s food selections. Will the gambling industry in Las Vegas eventually succumb to the food industry? We’ll have to wait and see.
There is a plethora of superb restaurants in Vegas for every budget, culture, and appetite. But today, I want to focus on steakhouses. Specifically, I want to tell you about the SW Steakhouse at Wynn Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Contrary to the famous saying that “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, the wonderful time and meal, which we have always had at SW Steakhouse, are tattooed on my brain and taste buds until we go back again. We have been to Steve Wynn’s steakhouse (SW comes from Steve Wynn’s initials; apparently he couldn’t think of a better name) about half dozen times, and the experience and food never disappoint. So, last week on 4th of July, when Las Vegas was finally savoring the first drops of rain in 68 days, we decided that it was time to savor again the terrific food at SW and celebrate Independence Day in style.
Every time we go to SW I can barely contain my excitement on my way to the restaurant; and when we arrive at the beautiful rotating parasols, descend on the spiraling escalators, and land right in front of the grand entrance at SW I have butterflies in my stomach. I know that I’ve been there before and I’m familiar with the modern and sleek décor, elegant and welcoming ambiance, and the staff’s impeccable professionalism, but I can’t control myself. And let’s not omit that the terrace at SW overlooks the whimsical Lake of Dreams, an environment that changes and morphs every half hour, and which transports you to a whole different world while offering an unforgettable experience.
Here are some of our favorite dishes that we’ve ordered during our several visits to SW Steakhouse:
- Heirloom Tomato Salad
- Steve’s Chopped Salad with Avocado
- Bigeye Tuna Ceviche
- Corn Soup
- Chile Rubbed Double Rib Eye
- Black Truffle Creamed Corn
- Au Gratin Potatoes
- Funnel Cakes and Strawberries with Chocolate, Crème Anglaise and Salty Caramel dipping sauces
- SW Pomegranate Martini
I should first start with the decadent bread basket. A delightful warm selection of crusty French baguette, soft salty pretzel, and dangerously addictive oven baked bacon and cheddar muffins, which can’t go unnoticed. Of course this lovely assortment of breads does not come alone, but is accompanied by a delicate square of herbed butter. To be quite honest, you could easily devour this sophisticated bread basket and leave fully satisfied. So, when you go to SW make sure you don’t gobble up the entire basket and you do leave some room for the sumptuous courses.
The vividly colorful Heirloom Tomato Salad is a nice and light way to start your meal. The red and yellow tomatoes are so fresh and crisp, while the round bite size mozzarella globes are mild and soft. The sweet and acidic balsamic glaze sharpens and highlights the flavors of the ingredients and brings the entire dish together. This dainty starter is like a modern version of the traditional caprese salad.
Steve’s Chopped Salad with Avocado is a more generous portion, big enough for two to share as an appetizer. Besides being a substantial serving, the salad abounds in fresh vegetables, which are harmoniously bound together by the smooth and buttery avocado. The mustardy vinaigrette adds a kick and magnifies the nuances of the dish, while the messy hair made of crispy potatoes adds great texture and takes the presentation to a new level.
The Bigeye Tuna Ceviche is another memorable appetizer and great for sharing. The tuna is so fresh, plump and delicate and just melts in your mouth. The bits of mango and grapefruit are beautifully dispersed throughout adding color and zing. And those crackly sesame crackers bring in that much needed crunchy element. Swirl the crispy sesame crackers in the ceviche and the avocado cream and take a bite. You’ll instantly want more. Simply delicious!
We were blown away the first time we tried the Corn Soup. Being listed under the vegan menu, we were a tiny bit skeptical, but we decided to give it a try. Even now, I’m drooling just thinking about it. This soup is so smooth, rich, sweet, piquant, and has a great depth of flavor. The pepperiness of the cilantro brings an unexpected elegant aroma; the pickled peppers add a kick of astringency to lighten up the soup; and the porcini mushrooms add meatiness. This dish can be described in just two simple words – vegan perfection! If this is what vegan tastes like, sign me up.
Now, let’s get down to business and talk about the 42 ounces Chile Rubbed Double Rib Eye. Where should I begin? I’ll begin by telling you that this is the most tender and succulent piece of meat my palate has ever been graced with. The knife cuts the medium rare rib eye steak like butter. Needless to say, this one melts in your mouth. In addition, this ginormous portion of steak (big enough for at least three people to devour) comes already sliced floating in a lake of oozing flavorful juices, and surrounded by colorful and dangerously spicy chile peppers and grilled sweet onions. It’s a gorgeous sight. The chile rub gives the meat smokiness and a subtle kick of heat without being overwhelming but enough to wake up your taste buds. Best steak ever, period!
The Black Truffle Creamed Corn. I can’t rave enough about this side dish. We always order two, because you know me, I worship corn, and this one I’m not willing to share, not even with my beloved husband. Sorry, dear! This scrumptious creamed corn is a perfect balance of sweetness and creaminess, while the truffles bring elegance and earthiness without being overpowering. This decadent dish simply adds a new texture to the entire meal and elevates the whole experience. Even if you don’t like corn, you have to try this! You’ll be seduced at first bite.
The glossy golden brown top of the Au Gratin Potatoes predicts a hot cheesy velvety middle. These potatoes are so unctuous, fancy and the perfect starch for the steak. When we first ordered them, I didn’t even dare to poke them with the spoon; that crust is flawless and they look so beautiful in their little ramekin. But our appetite and curiosity triumphed and made us give in. These potatoes are a godsend!
Finally, I have to mention the outstanding Funnel Cakes dessert. You shouldn’t leave SW without having ordered this spectacular sweet treat. So, as a heads up, leave room for dessert, you won’t regret it! First of all, the presentation will knock your socks off. The six or so doughnuts lightly dusted with powdered sugar are hanging on the branches of a metal tree; at the bottom of the tree you have five or so perfectly ripe and amazingly sweet strawberries, and a trio of dipping sauces: Chocolate, Crème Anglaise and Salty Caramel. The whole presentation is imposing and simply stunning, a very Las Vegas visual. While eating this dessert I feel like I’m apple picking; but it’s even better since I’m picking doughnuts! Thank God for doughnuts! There’s a bit of heaven in every bite. Without the sauces these airy doughnuts are stellar; with the sauces they are orgasmic. The strawberries top it all off by adding that touch of freshness and lightness to this decadent dessert. Bottom line, this dessert is in a league of its own!
The perfect accompaniment (in case you haven’t decided to go with a full-bodied red wine) – a frosty, sweet and tart SW Pomegranate Martini. It’s refreshing and a great palate cleanser. Not to mention that it’s beautiful looking. Cheers!
The best part of SW Steakhouse is that it provides you with an out of this world dining experience with high quality food and service, and entertaining shows on the Lake of Dreams, all so very Las Vegas. You’re definitely in for a treat! Oh, and don’t forget to make reservations well in advance! This restaurant is always packed!
Wynn Las Vegas
3131 Las Vegas Blvd. S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: (702) 770-3463