The Light Group is making an impact on the Strip this year with splashy new venues at Mandalay Bay, especially the new Light Nightclub and Daylight beach club. It’s hard to say if this devotion to the new is affecting established Light destinations in other casinos, but a recent visit to the understated Brand Steakhouse at Monte Carlo proved Light’s culinary team—led by chef Brian Massie—hasn’t lost focus. This surefire modern chophouse menu still brings bold flavor and fun twists.
Many diners opt for the expertly charred Anton’s tomahawk ribeye ($51), a massive, juicy steak with a long bone jutting out, making it look like your dinner was the slab that tipped over Fred Flintstone’s car. Brand’s “Ultimate Steak” deal, served for two, four or six, is also very popular, a sharable porterhouse that comes with a side dish and two sauces. I prefer the Brooklyn filet ($50), a 12-ounce bone-in tenderloin portion with remarkable texture and flavor.
Light restaurants created in Brand’s era are known for fun appetizers and whimsical desserts, and here those concepts manifest in crispy rock shrimp ($17), sweet sea bites lightly fried and smothered in a creamy, spicy sauce, and the “munchkin” donut bites—Nutella-filled, sugar-dusted fried dough balls served with strawberry and peanut butter dipping sauces. They sound overwhelming, and they are, but don’t skip ’em.
Brand Steakhouse Monte Carlo, 730-6700. Daily, 5-10 p.m.