The Grand Cafes at Station Casinos (SCLV.com) around the Valley have just made deciding what to eat in three courses even easier. Basically prix fixe for people who don’t care for French, the Pick-A-Meal menu starts at $10, depending on your entrée. Your choice of starters includes a cup of soup or house or Caesar salad, or more exciting appetizers such as deviled eggs—and something called a cheddar bacon wedge that has piqued my interest. Your second course is as down-home as it comes, with selections such as Salisbury steak with mashed potatoes, Parmesan-crusted tilapia served with rice, or a hearty eight-ounce sirloin topped with blue cheese and fried onion straws. Tie it all up with a sweet slice of fruit pie or chocolate cake, among other home-style desserts.
It’s still one of the liveliest steakhouses on the Strip, but STK (in the Cosmopolitan, 702-698-7990) likes to keep things fresh. Each first Tuesday, chef Stephen Hopcraft reveals a new secret menu item that is only available the rest of the month for those in the know (a.k.a. those who watch STK’s social media channels). Past covert dishes have included a bacon-wrapped filet and a 16-ounce sirloin over a bed of red and green onions dressed with ponzu sesame vinaigrette. For the remainder of February, you only need to ask for the off-menu bacon-wrapped shrimp to top your steak for an additional $12. And you don’t even need a secret handshake to get it.
Before such names as Savoy, Robuchon and Gagnaire were ever butchered here in Las Vegas, there was the original French chef in this town: André Rochat. The first freestanding fine dining restaurant was Andre’s Downtown in 1980, when Rochat renovated a 1930s-era house to look like a French country inn, complete with dining rooms named after cities of his homeland. Thirty-five years later, his remaining restaurants, Alizé (in the Palms, 702-951-7000) and Andre’s (in Monte Carlo, 702-798-7151) still hold his high standards for both contemporary and classic French fare. Throughout the year, both restaurants will celebrate this milestone with ongoing specials, but the most spectacular takes place on March 29 at the Andre’s Anniversary Celebration dinner, prepared by more than a dozen chefs who have all served under Rochat’s tenure in Las Vegas. The dinner is at the intimate Andre’s, so space is limited, while proceeds benefit the James Beard Foundation. In a town that often feels so young it has no history, here’s your chance to taste it for once.