Michael Mina’s Stripsteak (in Mandalay Bay, 632-7200) was already one of our best steakhouses before it acquired executive chef Gerald Chin, a.k.a. the G-Man. Now Chin—who is without doubt one of the most talented chefs in the area—is elevating the restaurant to new heights.
Perhaps you remember this Bronx, New York, native from stints at Joël Robuchon at the Mansion, or the Cosmopolitan, where he recently held the position of chef de cuisine and did wondrous things with Wicked Spoon’s buffets. (If you’ve ever tasted the house-cured bacon at that buffet, and it is amazing, it’s Chin’s recipe.)
I’ve always been a fan of Stripsteak for the weird Super Potato (a Tokyo architectural firm) design—all glass and epoxy—and the slow-poached, wood-grill-finished meats. But Mina is a good enough boss and owner to know he has a winner on his hands, so Chin has mostly free rein to strut his stuff here, and what stuff it is.
He’s added several signature dishes to a menu that already features stars such as Bristol Bay Alaskan King crab with Green Goddess dressing and a 30-ounce Porterhouse. The yellowtail sashimi he does is a revelation; Chin pairs it with a cucumber salad, but what he does to the fish—rolling it in rice crumbs, sprinkling on the Japanese spice togarashi, and lacing the whole thing with jalapeños—is so brilliant, he should get an award.
Ditto the duck consommé, which will appear on the restaurant’s fall menu, available just about now. It’s the very essence of duck, a clear broth that the chef clarifies with some egg whites, before pouring it tableside from a cruet over a sliced Diver scallop. Another new appetizer is seared Hudson Valley foie gras, served on a rich slice of French toast with peaches and shaved almonds. (In the fall, the peaches morph into apples.)
Chin has also tweaked a few beef dishes. Japanese wagyu satay comes beautifully charred, but still pink in the center, brushed with a black-pepper soy glaze and paired with a Thai-style green papaya salad. Strip Steak wagyu burger is essentially the same grind one of his mentors, Bradley Ogden, did at Caesars Palace, except this time, Chin has done it with A5 wagyu, resulting in a burger that’s meltingly tender.
Look for Chin’s surf and turf, a 4-ounce piece of American wagyu rib cap with butter-poached lobster, or sides such as the underutilized vegetable broccolini, which he has added to the list, sautéing it gently with golden garlic and a touch of lemon.
Wine pairings are available from the restaurant’s trusty sommelier, Steve Hua, and there are also great cocktails such as Life Is Beautiful (gin, Chambord and other goodies served in a Champagne flute), named for Downtown’s Life Is Beautiful festival later this month.