Great summer wines and a couple of Old Vegas classics

July is a good month to cool down with summer wines, and one of the best local places to buy them is Khoury’s Fine Wine and Spirits (in two locations: 9915 S. Eastern Ave. in Henderson, and 7150 S. Durango Dr.). Young entrepreneur Issa Khoury is a native of Elko who grew up in retail, and his stores have a big inventory of both New and Old World wines, plus vintage cognacs and Scotches.

Here are three great summer wines available in his stores. One is a riesling from the brilliant German producer Leitz, a 2008 Dragonstone for $19. If you aren’t a fan of this grape, you will be after you taste this. Terra Andina ’07 chardonnay from Chile, $7, great with fish or fresh pasta, is a textbook example of value from the Southern Hemisphere. Finally, Fleuraison Rose de Rosee Brut from France, at $20, puts a capstone on any romantic dinner. Cool down, pilgrim.

Seeing a dollar-off coupon for walleye at The Flame, the steak house at the El Cortez in downtown Vegas, put me in the mood to try Old Vegas restaurants. So I did, dining there and at Sahara’s House of Lords. The two are similar, but there are important differences.

Both restaurants offer professional service from waiters who have been around for a long time. Luis, our waiter at the Sahara, knew the menu like the back of his hand, and he timed our courses perfectly. Our waiter at The Flame was a personable steak-house veteran from New York, offering no pretense and no glitches.

But I preferred my dinner at House of Lords. At The Flame, we watched a fascinating non sequitur—a video of Italian tourist spots—on wall-mounted televisions. My walleye, albeit a huge hunk of fish for $16.95, didn’t have much flavor, although I couldn’t see any problems with the huge baked potato or spinach side dish, while a steak Diane my friend ordered came sliced—and tough—in a generic brown sauce.

Almost everything at the House of Lords, though, lived up to our expectations. My Caesar salad, with a dressing on the creamy side, had a nice punch, and my wife’s bone-in rib-eye with scampi hit most of the right notes. I had a huge half roasted duck, with the sauce on the side, thankfully.

For dessert, there was red velvet cake. You will not get too much more retro than that.

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