After a long day of tearing down suites and booths and packing equipment back into boxes at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, we usually all get together and have a nice meal to celebrate the end of another show. However, since we were effectively showing in three different places, things got a little disjointed on Sunday evening as we were split up into two groups - one group at the Convention Center, the other at the Venetian. I was with the Convention Center group which included my boss, Daniel, and two of my Montreal colleagues, Simon and Michel. We finished packing up by 7:30 and made it back to the Mirage around 8 p.m. and decided to stop for dinner at Stack restaurant and bar.
Stack is part of the Light Group organization that oversees a number of restaurants and night clubs in the Las Vegas area. They also oversee two pool/lounges including Bare - the European-style private pool area at The Mirage. Yes, the name says it all - nude sunbathing is allowed at this place. Brian Massie is the Executive Chef for Stack (as well as some of the other restaurants) and the menu consists of an eclectic mix of American-style bistro favorites such as steaks, chicken and lamb chops. But it also features a number of Pan-Asian specialties such as miso black cod fish in lettuce cups, yellowtail sashimi and ahi tuna tartare. A number of items on the menu are available to share, as well.
Stack is not the kind of place where a guy in a t-shirt and a pair of jeans is made to feel comfortable in. Unfortunately, after a full day of tearing down and packing up, I was in a t-shirt and a pair of jeans. And doubly unfortunate for me, I didn't have my room key on me - my colleague John had it over at the Venetian as they were finishing up over there. He had it from earlier in the day to let in the freight guys to pick equipment up at the Mirage suite while I went over to the Convention Center to help over there. So I couldn't go up and change into a better shirt and a sweater for dinner. Simon and Michel were able to do so - Daniel was already dressed in a nicer shirt. As Simon and Michel were upstairs changing, Daniel and I sat at the bar and ordered a couple drinks while we waited for our table.
The decor at Stack is unique in that the woodwork is very sleek and contemporary in its look. The wooden walls form a sort of cave-like feeling to the place. It was very chic and very modernistic. By the time Simon and Michel wandered back in, we had time for a couple more beers before we were escorted to our table near the center of the restaurant.
The one thing we noticed about Stack as we were going through the menu, it wasn't cheap. Even the wine list was eye-popping with their prices. Daniel took a gander through it and then handed it to me. He said, "See if you can find an American red that is reasonable in price." Quite honestly, I couldn't. Many of the wines that I was familiar with were exorbitantly priced. I handed back the wine list to Daniel and said, "You're on your own, cowboy. I'm not gonna order a bottle of wine that's price $35 bucks higher than it should be." He was able to find a French red that he felt was too expensive, but the most reasonable of the ones on the menu.
The first thing that caught my eye on the dinner menu was the Ultimate Steak for Two - a 40 oz. porterhouse served with a side of whipped potatoes. I sort of caught Michel's eye and I said, "Hey, look at this!" And I pointed at the steak for two.
His eyes lit up and said, "Yeah, but it's $94 dollars!"
Daniel said, "Go for it! If that's what you guys want to get, go for it."
And even though there were some other interesting things that I wanted to try such as the lobster tacos or the $29 dollar Kobe beef burger, that's exactly what we ordered. Daniel and Simon both ordered the bone-in filet. And all of our steaks were ordered rare. Simon also ordered a side of baked mac and cheese - and like the potatoes, they were served family style so each of us at the table could give 'em a try.
They brought out the steaks and Michel and I were almost giddy when they placed the 40 oz. porterhouse in front of us. It had been sliced away from the bone and even though it doesn't look like it in the photo below left, it was a good rare steak. There was some sort of a seasoning on the steak that was sort of salty, peppery and had a little garlic herb taste to it. It wasn't unpleasant and really helped electrify the taste of the steak.
Above right is a picture of Simon's bone-in filet, topped with a homemade potato chip. Daniel's was identical. From the first bite of their steaks, they declared them as magnificent. We all had steak at Charlie Palmer Steak earlier in the week. Daniel said, "I think this steak is better than the one I got at Charlie Palmer. And that was a very good steak!"
Michel and I made very short work of the 40 oz. porterhouse. We admire each other so much for being big carnivores that it was really fun sharing the steak with him. Michel has a history of ordering large steaks in restaurants - up to 32 oz. steaks - and polishing them off with no effort. And he's not that large of a guy. His saving grace is that he doesn't drink so he doesn't gather those calories like I do.
We were sort of looking at one another and Michel said, "You know, I could almost go for another one of those."
I said, "I was thinking the same thing." (I hadn't had anything to eat since breakfast over 12 hours earlier.)
Michel said, "Yeah, but it's $94 dollars!"
Daniel was sitting there with a big smile on his face. He said, "If you guys want to get another one, go ahead!"
We thought about it for a few moments and I vetoed the idea. I said, "We'd just be miserable if we did, but it sure would be fun."
We did partake in a couple of Stack's eclectic desserts - the cherry creme brulee that is served in an exotic thin, curved bowl; and the mini key lime pies - three small key lime torts with a side of lime sorbet. And both were very good, as well. I did take pictures of the two, but the battery on my phone was wearing down quite rapidly and the pictures were very blurry - an annoying side effect of a low battery on my Blackberry.
Other than the price of the meal and wine, Stack was just outstanding. It was a great and very pleasant surprise not knowing what to expect when we walked into the place earlier in the evening. We caught up with the rest of our colleagues having a night cap in one of the suites and we were telling them of how great the place was. I'm sure we'll be staying at the Mirage at CES again next year and Stack will undoubtedly be on our list of restaurants to eat when we come back. But we'll need a good year of sales to help pay for it.