Last night, Devin and I went to Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak at MGM Grand. It’s nearly the end of Restaurant Week, and this was our only stop!
We were excited by the menu, and had wanted to try the place for a while, so it seemed like the perfect time. We booked an early dinner, which meant that we got a great booth where we could sit next to each other and share food.
After we sat down, they brought us the most amazing fresh-baked bread. Think King’s Hawaiian rolls, but homemade in a cast iron pan and way more buttery. I’m not ashamed to say that we finished the first six rolls and asked for more.
Our drink orders were easy: Two Chimay Reds at $10 apiece. Chimay is pricey anyway, so this wasn’t a bad deal, plus this beer goes with absolutely everything! Dev isn’t a wine drinker, and I prefer beer as well, plus the wine list was really pricey, so we figured Chimay would serve us well.
The best part was when the waiter came to take our order. There was a choice of four appetizers, three entrees, and three sides, or so I thought. The waiter asked how we would like our steak cooked. Confused, I looked at him and said, “Oh, I’ll have the scallops.” He said, “You get everything.” That’s right, for Restaurant Week at Craftsteak, you get four appetizers, three entrees, three sides, plus two desserts, for $50 a person. Deal. So we said we’d like our steak medium rare.
Our four appetizers came out very quickly. I like quick service. The fennel salad was great; it was raw shaved fennel with a citrusy dressing. It’s not for everyone but I love fennel, so I finished the plate. The other salad, a cucumber-arugula affair, was good for me and not good for Dev. I think he had a problem with the flavor of the arugula, and he also dislikes cucumber. I love both, so I liked it. The roasted quail was amazing; even the grapes that were served with it tasted as if they had been fire-roasted. The buffalo mozzarella was also delicious. It was topped with a sort of bell pepper “tapenade.” I don’t like bell peppers, but these were roasted, and it tasted really great.
I’ll move on to the side dishes before the entrees. The side dishes were a sweet corn warm salad, a dish of shiitake mushrooms, and a potato puree. The corn dish was the best corn I’ve ever had. I’m not even normally a fan of corn, but I had seconds. The mushrooms, well, they were fantastic. I love mushrooms in almost any form, but the flavor of these mushrooms was perfect, just earthy and great. The potato puree was just about as good as the one I had at Robuchon, meaning that it’s about half heavy cream and half potato. The chives were a nice touch.
The entrees. Here is where we said medium-rare on the steak. We had both skirt steak and a prime beef flat iron steak. The skirt steak was perfect at a med-rare, but I think looking back I would have ordered the flat iron at a medium, since it was cut thicker. Both steaks were seasoned and cooked perfectly. The scallop dish was two sea scallops in a lemon cream sauce with some shaved fennel on top. I lucked out because Devin only wanted a taste, so I got to eat almost the whole dish. They were cooked perfectly, which you don’t always see with restaurant scallops.
The dessert course was more than I expected. The “Pastry Chef’s Selection of Confections, Ice Cream, and Sorbet,” turned out to be two composed dishes. One was a chocolate panna cotta with a caramel sauce, and the other was a peach concoction, with meringue, whipped cream, fresh peaches, and peach sorbet. I was surprised by how great the peach sorbet was. Not being much of a dessert person (unless it’s bread pudding!), I don’t usually judge places on their desserts. If desserts were very important to me, these two would have more than passed the test.
The service was impeccable, professional, and efficient. The layout of the restaurant is interesting. I’m glad we were among the first reservations, because we got a great booth in the back. I suspect they give the walk-ins the tables in the front that are open to the rest of the casino, including tacky people walking in from the pool in just their swimsuits.
Last year for Restaurant Week we went to three restaurants: L’Atelier by Joel Robuchon, Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, and Bradley Ogden. I have to say that Bradley Ogden was by far my favorite last year, although we later went to Robuchon itself, the fancy one, and that was one of the best meals of my life. L’Atelier is like a teaser for the real Robuchon.