After the final day of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, we had just finished packing up all our display products and sending them off to the Solotech warehouse to ship back to Montreal. Paul Masson, who is the international sales manager for Cambridge Audio, said, "Hey, let's go to the steakhouse downstairs (at the Hilton) for dinner. My treat."
I love to hear "steakhouse" and "my treat" in the same sentence. We were tired, hungry and needed to relax.
As I said in my earlier post on Casa Nicola, the two side-by-side restaurants - Andiamo and Las Vegas Hilton Steakhouse - were damaged in a fire last year. They decided to spruce both up and change the names of them at the same time. Las Vegas Hilton Steakhouse became TJ's Steakhouse.
We had eaten at the Las Vegas Steakhouse on a couple of occasions in the past. It was actually pretty good. The place was elegant with great food and great service. TJ's Steakhouse is just as elegant, but has more of a warm feel to the place which featured deep mahogany walls and woodwork throughout along with subdued lighting.
Evan Fleisher is the head chef at TJ's Steakhouse and you can see his team and him work their magic from the open kitchen situated at the front of the restaurant. The smell of grilled beef was just overwhelming to us when we walked in. My stomach was doing jumping jacks, I was so hungry.
Even though TJ's Steakhouse prefers business casual dress (polo shirts and slacks), we were dressed in jeans, shorts and t-shirts. The maitre d' didn't seem to care. There were 10 of us who sat at a big table near the kitchen, famished and ready to eat.
It's steak, steak and more steak on the menu at TJ's Steakhouse. They also featured pork and lamb chops, chicken and some seafood dishes. But we all wanted a large piece of dead cow.
Paul asked Daniel to choose something from the wine list. It was apparent that TJ's Steakhouse shared the same wine cellar as Casa Nicola as they had the same 1996 Los Pagodes de Cos Saint Estephe Bordeaux wine at $44.00 on the wine list. Daniel said, "Well, if they want to get rid of that at such a good price, they found the right people!" We ordered up two bottles as a starter.
Paul ordered up some appetizers for the table while we looked over the menu. I was pretty sure I wanted the rib eye this evening, but I kept looking at the prime rib. But I'd had the prime rib at Hugo's Cellar the other night, so I went back to the rib eye. Then I saw a New York Strip that someone got at another table. Damn, that looked good. But, no. I had to get something with a lot of flavor for my last dinner in Vegas for the show.
So I ordered the 16 oz. rib eye with side order of the garlic smashed potatoes. Paul, who was seated across from me, got the 22 oz. Porterhouse steak with grilled asparagus. He said, "I normally don't eat this much, but you just can't get steaks like this in Europe." I've heard that more than once in the past from English and French colleagues.
We had a good time sitting and talking amongst ourselves waiting for our food to come out. The wine was flowing, we were relaxed and laughing. The waiter was overly attentive to our needs. It was a fine evening after a tough show for us.
Our steaks began to arrive at the table and my rib eye was one of the last to come out. But, man! The size of it almost flipped me out. It was definitely bigger than 16 oz. I said, "They need to get their scales checked. This looks more like TWO pounds of meat."
They season their steaks with what I was told a combination of sea salt and roasted black peppercorns that are then ground up and liberally applied to the steak. I'll have to try that sometime because I really liked the taste of the rib eye. It was cooked a perfect medium rare and the marbling in it gave the meat excellent flavor.
Everyone was very impressed with their steaks. Paul said between bites, "Now this is a great American meal." We were on our fourth bottle of wine at this point and enjoying life.
Paul picked up the check and I didn't get to see what the final damage was, but I'm guessing it was a few big dollars with tip. Appetizers, steaks, wine, drinks, sides - they all add up quick. But it was worth it. It was a fine meal. I was definitely full afterward, that's for sure.
I said that Hugo's Cellar is one of the best kept secrets in Las Vegas among seasoned Las Vegas visitors. But I have to say that TJ's Steakhouse may be even MORE of a secret place to get a great steak in Las Vegas. Once again, it's sort of tough to find in the Las Vegas Hilton, but you won't go away disappointed from TJ's Steakhouse.