Saturday, May 25, 2013

Strip House at Planet Hollywood: A Steak House & Bar Worthy of Vegas Sized Accolades

Nothing is wrong with eating, drinking and enjoying the fruits of your hard labor. Celebrating a noteworthy highlight in life is sometimes all that you need to put you on the right course of action. Sometimes eating at an establishment you really love can be a double-edged sword. Having so many things on the menu that you truly wouldn't mind indulging yourself with can leave you feeling as if you’re in dire need of a nap, which may ruin the remainder of the evening for all parties involved.

Hence why it is sometimes imperative to take a different approach to dining at many of the latest and greatest restaurants that can be found just about everywhere you look. True, in a large number of restaurants frequented by the masses the more is more approach is appreciated. With many Chefs reaching deep into their culinary bag of tricks, sometimes the over abundance of combining great flavors can become too much to handle for anyone looking to continue on with their evening after eating. 

That being said, brings us too why exactly we fell in love with Strip House, located inside the Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Having been in Las Vegas for the recent series of Las Vegas Uncork’d events, we found ourselves craving a few light snacks before heading off to a show. When you can sit down inside a well-designed restaurant, far removed from leaving any hint of being located near a casino, that you can thoroughly enjoy your company and the food & drinks, you know that you are off to a great start. Situated quietly in the corner so as to allow us a great view of the photo adorned walls and intricately designed wine cellar, the intimate vibe of the alluring colors and contrasting textures of the entire restaurant create the feeling of being in a vintage club more-so than what it truly is, an envelope pushing eatery.

We hit the Strip House at about 6pm which is early for some and just about the perfect time to sit down to dinner for a large number of Vegas’ inhabitants, we could not have picked a better time for a few reasons. The first one being that the Strip House was not overly packed, which gave our servers a chance to breathe and not feel rushed to give the customers face time and the second being because we are not gamblers in the least, but upon leaving Strip House we played a quick 5 bucks in a slot machine and won $540 back.

Swiftly going through the menu we knew wanted to check out the Strip House Roasted Bacon, the House-Cured Beef Jerky, the Crisp Calamari and the Warm Garlic Bread with Gorgonzola Fondue. Our waiter made a few wonderful drink suggestions and away he went, quickly returning with our favorite rum filled concoction as well as our first round of appetizers, the Warm Garlic Bread w/ Gorgonzola Fondue & the Strip House Roasted Bacon. If you think that by ordering the bacon and garlic bread you are going to get some greasy flash fried strips of thin cut swine next to a plate of suspect looking slices of wonder bread, think again. 

Thick, succulent strips of perfectly spiced and seared bacon fanned out beautifully alongside a light helping of fresh Baby Arugula and Russian Dressing make this a meal all in itself. Placing this bacon on anything else with only cause you too explode with spine tingling, sense overloading joy, thus they serve it a la carte for you to take pleasure in. 

The Garlic Bread arrived, smelling & looking like a beautiful food version of Jenga with a gravy boat of Gorgonzola fondue following in it’s wake. The deliciousness that ensued following its arrival cause complete silence at our table. Instantly I felt like a kid again, going back to my childhood days of eating nothing but bread at dinner because I wasn’t always an easy customer to serve as a child. A picky eater at best in my younger days, had I had a chance to fill up on this glorious, gorgonzola covered greatness in my youth, I may have come out of my culinary shell quite a few years earlier. To sum up how this dish with its thick cut slices of perfectly toasted and inconceivably light bread tasted after being smothered in the Gorgonzola fondue tasted in one sentence would be doing it an injustice. Bread lovers & those who count every carb they eat, would unite with joy if they both had a chance to get a few bites of this in their stomachs.

Our waiter could tell we were up too something, only ordering appetizers, so he gave us his bit of insight by bringing the dishes out paired to play off of each other and not overload us with rich dish after rich dish. Truly a waiter worth his weight in gold, when someone can recite a drink menu and dinner menu without looking at it, you know you’re in good hands.

The time had arrived for us to check out this beef jerky we had heard so much about. Thinly sliced and lightly pounded strips of steak are soaked overnight in a marinade containing oyster & soy sauce, rice wine, vinegar, curry powder, lime juice, brown sugar and fresh herbs until being dried, refrigerated and fried to order. Served alongside some buttermilk shoestring onion rings, the ingenuity and heart it took to place this appetizer for the God’s on the menu is noteworthy. 
Easily cutting into the jerky and devouring the entire plate rather hurriedly, we couldn’t help but begin to laugh at how two grown adults were sitting at a table eating beef jerky, not saying a word too each other because of how good the food was. 

Face the facts, Las Vegas is where people go too act out, have fun trying new things and keep a few secrets. The Strip House at Planet Hollywood, need not keep this dish a secret. Far from the salty strips of over-processed mess you find at your local gas station, this is the Foie Gras of Beef Jerky, so good you will start a fight with your date for the last piece kind of jerky. 

To everyone flooding the streets and hotels of Vegas for Memorial Weekend, this is one of those sobering up, must have little snacks you cannot deny yourself from having.

To the good folks over at Strip House, the executive Chef’s and line cooks as well as the servers and bar staff, you all deserve a huge pat on the back and a couple of after duty shots of something from from the Top Shelf. You put on a great meal, provided the backdrop for an amazing time between old friends and most importantly delivered some haute cuisine in the form simple appetizers to your guests.

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