Travels with a Gourmet

a food lover's travels, memorable meals, culinary trials and gastronomic experiences

To finish off my all-American restaurant streak and also the last few days of our U.S. summer vacation, I took my two sisters, my brother-in-law, my niece and my son to dinner at the traditional New York steakhouse – Smith & Wollensky. We booked an early table and headed over to Las Vegas Boulevard which was jam-packed with tourists and traffic for the long Labor Day holiday weekend.

I had been to S&W several times before in New York and wanted to try their Las Vegas outpost. The restaurant is a complete replica of the NY one without the gritty feel of the NY city streets since this outlet is located right in the middle of the famous neon-lighted Strip.
After reading the concise menu, we chose two appetizers to share: the fried calamari and a half dozen fresh oysters. The calamari were cornmeal-crusted and served with a cocktail sauce and a remoulade on the side while the six oysters were served cold, with caper berries and traditional lemon, cocktail sauce, horseradish and vinegar. Oysters are my favorite and I love them in any form but especially raw. My sister was looking forward to having her favorite Oysters Rockefeller but sadly, they were no longer on the menu.
My son chose an appetizer as his main course: the thin-crust pizza which he almost finished on his own while my youngest sister just had the Wollensky salad which was a large bowl of romaine lettuce with bacon, potato croutons & cherry tomatoes in a mustard dressing.
To accompany our main courses, we decided to try a new wine – 2005 Sea Smoke Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara recommended by our waiter. Our huge steaks came soon after – a marinated Cajun rib-eye for my brother-in-law plus the 18 ounce (510 grams!!!!) sirloin that I shared with my sister. All Smith & Wollensky steaks are USDA prime beef that are dry-aged and hand-butchered in-house. The meat was perfectly cooked to medium rare yet had a crisp-seared crust to offset the juicy redness. Two vegetable sides accompanied our steaks – creamed spinach and french fries and there were also two sauces – bearnaise and the signature S&W steak sauce. Baby N watched us eat and was eager to try something so we dipped her binky in some of the pinot noir to let her have her first taste of good wine.
For dessert, we all shared a large slice (these American portions are gigantic) of German Chocolate cake: a 4-layer chocolate cake with coconut and chocolate frosting along with three scoops of ice cream: vanilla, chocolate and pistachio.
Despite the fact that we four had shared only two appetizers and two main courses, we were so stuffed that we didn’t even have any coffees or teas. It maked me wonder how anyone can finish a three-course meal alone since the portions are so big. We wadled over to the car and rushed back home so we could sit and digest our wonderful meal.

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