Our “Almost Famous” Moment: OverRye at Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak
The only thing better than an OverRye dinner is an OverRye dinner with a celebrity look-a-like at a celebrity steakhouse! Things got ‘extra’ during our outing to Tom Colicchio’s CraftSteak in MGM Grand.
By day, David Grana is the editor of Aliyah Media. But by night, he is a stunt double for Keith Urban. Well, not really, but after a rye or two, you can’t tell the difference. Grana joined us that evening as part of a feature about the OverRye movement in a series of upcoming articles. Yep, we’re a movement now!
Truth be told, we were apprehensive about adding a “reporter” to the mix. Come on, we don’t take ourselves that seriously. But then again, when an international magazine brand says they want to showcase your blog, you don’t say no. In fact, you say yes, and quickly, and then chart a course to a top-notch las Vegas steakhouse. The choice was easy this time: Craftsteak is already listed as one of our Top 5 Las Vegas steakhouses. That evening was our chance to test our judgement in front of our new media friend. And at Craftsteak, there is no better way to test your judgement than to go all-in with chef’s tasting menu!
The crew that night included:
Story/Atmosphere | Rating: 10
Craftsteak opened in MGM Grand in 2002 and has been a top choice in the Las Vegas steakhouse scene for the last 16 years. The dining room is large! Even by Las Vegas standards. Gazing around you’ll notice the incredible detail in the decor. But it is quite subtle; you really have to go looking for it. There are breaks in the space with private dining areas, central tables and chairs, and booths set up along the restaurant perimeters.
Craftsteak prides itself on high-quality beef sourced from top ranchers, such as Double R Ranch/Snake River Farms, and plans out its aging process to be able to offer various ages of dry-aged beef on the menu at any given time. Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio needs no introduction because of his presence on shows including Top Chef and Best New Restaurant and for having been decorated with five James Beard Awards.
Service | Rating: 8
The host was welcoming. They gave us a great table in the center of the restaurant. The service was appropriate—nothing extraordinary, but great service nonetheless. Drew commented that the waitstaff were attentive and friendly. He was never left wanting for anything throughout the night. It seems like they read our group correctly. We were highly interactive with each other and they did their job, never getting in our way. There was another plus, too, in that the hostess was sure to thank us on the way in for listing CraftSteak as one of the Top 5 steakhouses on OverRye.com. Good for her for doing her homework! It’s nice to be recognized.
Spirit & Wine | Rating: 9
Oh, man! Where to begin? This was a good night for whiskey! We started at the bar and each grabbed a drink while we waited for our table. Actually, the table waited for our drinks! The bar has a great selection, better than most, in fact. We opted for EH Taylor “Bottled-in-Bond” bourbon, Laddie Ten Scotch, Nikka 17 Year and Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Whiskey. And all four were great! The Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel was particularly tasty and comes in a neat bottle for those who are into the packaging side of good whiskey.
From there, we went to our table and continued our whiskey adventure with some Balvenie Carribian Cask (an OverRye favorite thanks to our editor Xania Woodman), Angel’s Envy Rye and a few other go-to whiskeys. Drew even got crazy and ordered a four-whiskey flight, of which Jefferson’s Ocean was the star of the show. Hayim got Jon to try his Boulevardier, and we’re happy to report that Jon is now a convert to the Boulevardier tribe. In all, Craftsteak did not disappoint when it came to spirits!
Food | Rating: 9
CraftSteak was made for OverRye. This is one of few places where the chef’s tasting menu truly takes you on a steak journey. The impressive line up begins with prosciutto with grilled peaches and five different salads: Italian buffalo mozzarella cheese topped with fresh hazelnuts; a Caesar salad with pickled white anchovies; baby beets with pickled egg; avocado salad; and warm frissee with smoked bacon. Dori wasn’t a huge fan of the Ceasar, mainly because it’s not chopped thus making it hard to share in a group setting. However, the pickled white anchovies were a welcomed addition that most restaurants lack. The winner of the first round, however, was the warm frissee salad with bacon. In fact, it was so good that, as we picked through each dish, Hayim wouldn’t stop intoning, “Frisseeeeeessee” in a sort of a whisper.
The main course was simply spectacular. If you are a steak connoisseur—or want to be—you’ll absolutely love the incredible selection of cuts that come with the chef’s tasting menu. You don’t often get an opportunity to fully explore various cuts in one meal. In this case, we had seven cuts of meat. Seven! This included a 10-ounce filet mignon that was charred on the outside and juicy on the inside; a 22-ounce dry-aged T-bone that looked incredible; an 18-ounce bone-in ribeye; and an 8-ounce flat iron that provided some unparalleled flavor. Who would have thought that the simple flat iron steak was the table favorite? Just simply tasty!
Now, it’s simply not a good steak dinner without some good sides. And we had so many to try: one featuring a variety of mushrooms, plus grits, asparagus, spinach, steamed vegetables and mashed potatoes. Sadly, the sides did not deliver quite like the steaks. They were good, just not “Holy-wow!” good. The standout side dish for Jarrad was the white corn grits with bacon, Gruyere and chives.
You might think we would be too full for dessert by this point. But with the tasting menu you’re getting it anyway! All one can do is find a way to prepare for more food as the table fills with amazing looking sweet creations: cheesecake, chocolate cake, cinnamon monkey bread (incredible!), a fruit tart and an assortment of ice cream. A nice touch to cap off a great meal.
Value | Rating: 8
This was certainly not a cheap dinner, but make no mistake, you are getting a lot for what you’re paying. Sure, you could save some money and order the usual salad, steak and side, but then you would be missing out on the Craftsteak experience. Bottom line: Spend the extra money and go with the chef’s tasting menu. It’s a pricey but unique experience that is well worth it.
Overall | Rating: 9
We ranked CraftSteak as a Top 5 steakhouse last year. As of now, it will continue to hold a top position. The place simply delivers on a great meal, especially when it comes to trying various cuts of steak and enjoying some good whiskey. It’s a solid choice for a high-quality steak dinner in Las Vegas.
With that said, we are nowhere near done exploring what this amazing city has to offer. Perhaps, the next restaurant will edge out Craftsteak from our list. Or maybe it won’t. Either way, we are excited to continue sharing our stories with you and we also want to thank Aliyah Media for taking the time to feature what OverRye is all about.
Next stop: reality TV? Well, maybe not. But we do have a hell of a surprise for our next outing. Let’s just say that we’re expecting some big names and might even be adding a video camera…
What’s the OverRye.com over/under on going back?
Dori: “Over. Incredible chef’s tasting menu. There’s not many places you can try seven cuts of steak in one sitting. The place simply delivers on steak and whiskey!”
Hayim: “Over. This place is a unique steakhouse—not just with respect to the cuts, but because the chef’s tasting gives you a chance to try everything.”
Jarrad: “Under. No french onion. Frisee with bacon salad was out of this world. Everything else was good, but not mind-blowing.”
Jonathan: “Over. But only for groups. The chef’s tasting is worth experiencing.”
Drew: “Over. Group setting, flat iron was good, unobtrusive service. Didn’t want for anything.”
Keith: “Under. Service was good. Steak was good. Apps were good, but sides were weak.”
David: “Over. It’s the complete package. Favorite was the flat iron.”