Tropicana’s Biscayne steakhouse falls a bit short
Wed, Oct 13, 2010 (7:55 p.m.)
Photo: Beverly Poppe
The 53-year-old Tropicana is, quite amazingly, on the brink of becoming a relevant Strip destination once again. After riding on top of the "next casino implosion" list for years, the Trop has yielded impressive results with its South Beach-inspired makeover — a pretty casino, better rooms, a soon-to-be-hip pool club and a general re-branding that has some visitors thinking this place might actually be cool.
It's nice to see progress, but what is there to eat? On my last visit, I had a great Cuban sandwich with spicy mustard at a quick café called Havana Go Go, but that place has vanished. Too bad. Then, while menu browsing, I noticed something strange that piqued my interest: lamb eggplant tacos. A paper-thin slice of eggplant breaded and lightly fried, folded into mini-taco shape, packed with a dense filling of savory lamb and topped with tomato jam and goat cheese. It sounds crazy, it tastes good, and it tricked me into thinking the new Biscayne steakhouse might be an interesting restaurant.
But it's not. It's a serene room with white shutters and caramel walls, almost nice enough to believe the ocean is outside. There's nothing wrong with the wonderfully charred steaks, or a huge slab of prime rib with traditional au jus and horseradish. But those crazy tacos, as well as an appetizer of duck, chorizo and potato hash, are just too heavy to be effective openers. The salad options are scant and boring. There are plenty of fish dishes, but my mahimahi in banana leaf was disastrous, overcooked and oddly seasoned. After passing on "mashed potatoes of the moment," which contained Swiss cheese and crab (wha?), I found a regular side of spuds to be painfully salty. Vegas, I love you, but enough with the mediocre casino steakhouses.
Like all the new stuff in this resort, Biscayne is a big improvement on what came before. But back when the Tropicana may have been a hotspot, food wasn't such a big deal. Today, you've gotta bring the tasty if you want the traffic. I'm pulling for you, Trop. You can do better.
Tropicana Las Vegas sits on the south-east corner of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard, an intersection which has the most adjacent hotel rooms in the world, also making it one of the most busy. The hotel has 1,658 rooms, three restaurants, a 62,011-square foot casino and a spa.The Tropicana's five-acre pool complex stretches throughout the center of the the hotel/casino and remains it's most recognizable feature. It features swim-up blackjack during the summer months, a swim-up bar, dining areas and a wedding chapel. The Tropicana is also home to Brad Garrett's Comedy Club. For pre-show dining, take advantage of one the casino’s dinner and a show packages or just head over to Cafe Nikki, Biscayne Steak, Sea & Wine or Bacio Pasta & Vino.