I like when my steak tastes like steak. Beef trends are all over the place these days. Las Vegas visitors are tripping over themselves to order Kobe or Wagyu or whatever, even though most don’t know what it is or where it’s from. I constantly overhear people talking about which Vegas steakhouse—there’s a million of ’em—is the best spot for dinner, and how expensive the Kobe was at the last place, and how the marbling of fat in the beef will blow your mind. There’s no doubt quality is key, but when did texture replace taste? For me, never.
But I didn’t need to sacrifice one for the other during a post-Thanksgiving visit to Envy Steakhouse. Here, the menu is simple, the beef is dry-aged for 28 days, the steaks come with that perfect black char on the outside, and they taste like they’re supposed to. The signature steak is a 19-ounce prime bone-in rib eye, splashed with a satisfying red-wine reduction and served with three different salts for your seasoning adventures. Huge and juicy, this is a wonderful slab of cow prepared expertly. You could opt for the best-of-both-worlds T-bone, equally large, and get the flavorful strip and the tenderloin all on one plate. But most impressive is the plain old 8-ounce filet mignon, certified Black Angus and almost certainly bigger than advertised. Envy serves a larger filet with the bone in, maybe my favorite cut, but this boneless baby steak goes above and beyond with its silken texture and rich, intense beefy flavor.
- In the Renaissance, 3400 Paradise Road, 784-5716.
- Monday-Saturday, 6:30 a.m.-2 p.m., 5-10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 5-10 p.m.
- Suggested dishes: prime bone-in rib eye, $42; red-curry seared ahi tuna, $32; bone-in filet, $49.
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- Envy: So good it's a sin (2/10/05)
Envy can be a quiet and interesting place. The menu and décor haven’t changed much in nearly five years, although chef Richard Chamberlain is no longer in the kitchen, as he was for the Weekly’s first review in 2005. The room is much nicer than it needs to be, with red cloth-backed chairs, studded booths and a red ceiling, long curtains separating spaces and oversized golden lamps lighting softly. The restaurant, which dangles from the Renaissance Hotel adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center, is also open for a somewhat generic breakfast and lunch (is a gourmet $14 burger with $3 fries the midday meal of choice for convention folk?). Great steaks and creative seafood and side dishes once singled Envy out as a tourist joint worth your local time, and that is still the case, even as our city becomes more and more inundated with similar steakhouses.
Not sure why Chilean sea bass is still on the menu, but a red-curry seared ahi tuna and seared scallops with lobster and tarragon ravioli certainly fit the seafood bill. As for those side dishes, it’s a so-so offering: Bourbon creamed corn is inventive, but skip the truffle mash in favor of bacon and Gruyere-laden spuds. The five salad options are the same as at every other steak restaurant in town, so play it safe with a BLT-themed wedge of iceberg lettuce with blue cheese dressing. A gnocchi with sweet peas and Black Angus carpaccio jump off the appetizers listing, but I tried the lightly fried black-pepper calamari and rock shrimp, and the tastiest part of the dish was the garlic and herb aioli dipping sauce.
Envy very efficiently serves Strip steakhouse fare at Strip steakhouse prices, in a setting nice enough to be on the Strip. So for those of us suburban Las Vegans craving this experience with a bit more convenience, definitely check this out. Or, if you’re tired of marbled cow talk and just want a terrific steak, this’ll work.