Tom Colicchio's
Craft Steak
Las Vegas, Nevada    Date of Visit: 12/19/09

If you’re a real foodie…you know Chef Tom Colicchio. the bald and hard headed judge of Top Chef on the Bravo network. This is a show that highlights the cooking abilities of it’s contestants rather than their Axis Two personality disorders or general failings of the soul like other shows. Chef Tom joins absolute luminaries of the culinary world in judging people with serious chops. I do have to add when it comes to the end of the season, those with the best overall performance seem to fall short, allowing more annoying and possibly less consistently fabulous contestants to be endorsed as “Top Chef”. But that’s television, what is one to do…too many people already mistake the idiot box for reality.

So if we were to go to a restaurant that has Chef Colicchio’s name on it what would the experience be like? The restaurant appears to mirror the image of the man himself on the show. While he understands avant garde techniques and approaches to food he often first finds fault in the basics along the way. Poor seasoning, cooking, or overall concept are all error’s you wouldn’t want to commit on a plate in front of the man. It appears he has frightened his staff into avoiding fundamental sins.
Dinner Rolls

Crispy Goat Cheese

Lobster Bisque

For apps, we decided to split. The wife ordered the signature lobster bisque and in an effort to stay popular at home, I ordered the warm crusted goat cheese with a 25 year balsamic vinaigrette. First the poor wife enjoyed her soup, which she described as really good without dipping to the bottom until the last scoop. It was then she dug down into the bottom of the crock to find the pile of lobster hiding there. I found the bisque to be subtle with layers of tarragon and bay seasoning which were clocked over the fence with the abundance of actual lobster. I hate to say it, but the goat cheese plate, oozing and crunchy, with a vinegary braised cabbage ruled the world. If a Bond villain had manufactured this dish, I would be in a theater cheering for the end of the world.

Steak…it’s right there in the name. For me, to gauge the ability of any steakhouse you start with the NY Strip. Sure the filet is more tender but comparatively flavorless, let’s see you work with a meat containing both majesty and more sinewy potential for tragedy. The strip at Craft was dry aged, perfectly seasoned, and cooked by someone who has finished their millionth mid rare three inch strip. It was just warm and just pink in the middle. Accompanied by a roasted garlic and leek gratin which turned out to be subtle and rich. We enjoyed a wild mushroom risotto that would satisfy any Mediterranean gods with intense mushroom flavor both throughout the perfectly cooked Arborio rice and in a thick layer of roasted shroomage on top. Dinner was solid and exceptionally prepared, the Chef easily living up to his persona. He might very well be a Bond Villain. The risotto easily being the best thing we ate during the trip outside of Bouchon. Maybe I could be a henchman with one of those cool henchmen nicknames. How 'bout Chubby? Chewie?? Lipsmacker???

Potato Gratin

Wild Mushroom Risotto

1 Pound of NY Perfect
One note about the service. With a wide variety of price in single wine pours, two of which I was unfamiliar, I enquired about their worth to the server. He promptly brought both to the table for tasting, without once looking at my Levi’s or white socks. You don’t need Skinny jeans or a $300 shirt to feel welcome or treated with respect at CraftSteak. BTW...once having settled on the pricier cab...noticeably different, ripe with dark fruits and an intense duskiness both the Cab and the Malbec were great options for single pours with the menu.



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