• Hayim Mizrachi, Dori Koren & Jarrad Katz

Something New: Oakville, a Napa-Inspired Steakhouse

After the inaugural OverRye dinner at Las Vegas’ oldest steakhouse, we decided to go to one of the city’s newest. On Wednesday, August 30, Oakville in the Tropicana was our spot.

Dori picked this place, having read about it. It had only just opened in June.

The crew this night included old friends and new: Ofir “Just Do It” Ventura Jon “The Black Sheep” Schwab Oliver “The Professor” Lovat

“I have to be honest, going to a Napa-inspired steakhouse, and trying something brand new, was intriguing. It was well lit and seemed modern. I was pumped to check this place out and was even willing to overlook the fact that it is in the Tropicana.” – Hayim

Story/Atmosphere | Rating: 6 ***

When Dori and Hayim pulled up, the conversation with the valet attendant was telling: He asked if the men would be back out or if they’re in for the night. Hayim explained they were there to check out the new Napa steakhouse, Oakville. The valet was all-too-eager to tell them about the new Robert Irvine restaurant that just opened. Oakville took the place of a previous venue called Biscayne. Apparently, the bar was redone, and it’s nice. The dining area looked fresh, too. But—and there are two major ‘buts’!—sitting there felt more like we were in a cafe or a diner. It was missing the kind of detail that gives Napa venues their character. The second big miss was how cigarette smoke would waft in from outside of the restaurant through the dining room anytime someone who walked by was smoking. And we were seated at a table squarely in the middle, too.

Service | Rating: 8

I’ll tell you what: If you do find yourself at Oakville, be sure to sit in Alex’s section. The man is on! He knows the history of the previous restaurant. He knows the menu of this restaurant. He knew exactly what to recommend, from the starters and steaks to the wine. The only reason the service rating isn’t higher is because it’s just not that hoity-toity of a place.

Food | Rating: 7

Oakville has a pretty strong menu, offering dry-aged, Texas wagyu, USDA Choice, USDA Prime and grass-fed cuts. To start, Alex recommended the lamb eggplant tacos, which dazzled! A couple guys ordered Caesar salads—unfortunately, not so good. (I’m not sure how you mess that up. Actually, soggy croutons will do it.) And can we talk about the French onion soup for a second? Amazing! Seriously amazing! A few of us agreed to share entrees again. In the mix was the Choice filet, Texas wagyu rib eye and Prime New York. And then you know how Jarrad is; he gets all fancy and orders stuff like there is a secret menu or something: filet, butterflied, charred and served with foie gras butter. It seemed like the seasoning was better on the New York than the other two steaks, so there may have been some inconsistency there. Overall, the meat was good. Ofir and Jon ordered the Dover sole for two. (Cute, isn’t it?) For the sides, we had broccolini, Brussels sprouts and truffled mac-and-cheese. They were nice to have, but let’s just say that nobody rushed back for seconds on any of those.

Spirits & Wine | Rating: 7

Having Oliver with us was incredible. His family collects Scotch, so he is a wealth of knowledge, which was cool. What was even more cool was the bartender, Michelle. She had a great energy and a passion for whiskey! Michelle makes her own barrel-aged Manhattan with Dickel which she let us sample. But at Oliver’s recommendation, we went with the Bowmore Single Malt. We tried the 12-year and the 15-year, the latter is aged in sherry casks.

  • 2013 Stanton Oakville Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: As usual, we asked the waiter (they did not have a sommelier) to recommend the best wine on the menu for the money. He recommended any of the options from Oakville as they sell Oakville-produced wine with less of a margin to allow their guests to truly experience what that area of Napa, California, has to offer. The wine was fantastic and paired well with our food selections. It was full-bodied with hints of blackberry and cherry and an earthy finish. We ordered a second bottle and would highly recommend this wine.

Value | Rating: 7

When you go out to a steakhouse, you expect to pay $100–$200 per person, including drinks. Unless you get silly with the cocktails and wine (which we have all done). At about $130 per person, the price was probably on the high side considering the location.

Overall | Rating: 7

You know, this one kind of fell short. The menu is actually good, with a nice combination of unique and classic selections. The service was better than average. It was quite excellent, but our server Alex made it an experience. The resort should consider giving more attention to the atmospheric details, blocking off the openings where cigarette smoke carries into the dining room and increasing their rye and bourbon selection.

What’s the OverRye.com over/under on going back?

  • Dori: “Under. The Texas wagyu was tasty, but everything else—from the atmosphere and limited bar selection to the soggy croutons—was disappointing. Overall, it just felt like a desperate attempt to turn a nice cafe into a luxury steakhouse.”

  • Jarrad: “Under. I was excited to try something new; the idea of the open and airy restaurant with a quiet atmosphere sounds good in theory, but the experience was different. It felt like I was in a casino diner with the wafts of cigarette smoke that crossed our table as patrons walked by the restaurant. Also, the quiet atmosphere felt dull and lacking a vibe or energy. It was almost like we were there before it opened to the public.”

  • Hayim: “Under. Oakville isn’t exactly located on Main and Main, where inattention to ambiance and cigarette smoke might be forgivable. Guests have to trek to find it. They should try to give them a reason to trek.”

  • Ofir: “Under. It didn’t make me feel like it was a fine-dining restaurant. Being a steakhouse on the Las Vegas Strip, I expected more. It was just average.”

  • Jon: “Under. The company was the main feature of the night: good conversations and an atmosphere of coordinated ordering and sharing dishes. The food was genuinely forgettable and, in some cases, disappointing. Had we gotten together in a casual setting, that wouldn’t be an issue. But at the price point charged ($$$$), there is an expectation that was not met. There wasn’t a dish that we ‘fought’ over for the last bite. The service was solid, and the atmosphere was pleasant-enough but had a sterile feel. Vegas expects more … and so do we.”

  • Oliver: “Under. The food was good, but it felt very much like we were in a hotel restaurant, rather than a restaurant that would stand alone in its own right; if it was a stand-alone, it just wouldn’t make it!”