Thursday, September 02, 2010

Review – Brand Steakhouse in LV

I dined at Brand on Monday night. It’s a steakhouse in the Monte Carlo Hotel in Las Vegas. I will not bestow Mojoey’s foodgasm on this restaurant. It came close, but missed in a few key areas.

The ambiance is nice from the outside. It’s an open seating area which is furnished in a modern elegant style. The lighting is subdued, but that does not matter because one side is left open to the casino, so outside light pours in. We were seated along the outside edge in seats with a view of the action. What that really meant was the a 2.5 foot wall table level wall separated us from Casino foot traffic. It’s a great arrangement for people watching, but not so good for romantic dinning.

Did I mention it was loud? the casino has flat screen televisions above each gaming table. The broadcast noise, coupled with the noise from the craps tables, coupled with the comments from casino traffic and then music piped in over the top of it all, made for an wall of noise. At times I had trouble hearing the serving staff talk.

I spent $200 on dinner for two. That’s an appetizers, a main course, desert and a bottle of wine for two people. It’s what I expected to spend, but the value for food based on similar dinning experiences was weak. For example, the wine list was nice, but completely priced out of my range. I paid $35 for a bottle of 2007 “The Cab”. It was the lowest price option on the wine list, but I know it retails for $12. The average was $100 for something that retails at $25. I felt abused.

We both had shrimp cocktails ($13). The were four large prawns, but trimmed so they were straight instead of curved. The prawns were large and delicious. Based no similar dining experiences I would say the dish was $2 too expensive or one prawn short.

I ordered the large cut of prime rib ($37). My cut was small and over priced. I would have felt comfortable with a $25 price. There was no $12 worth of extra goodness to be had. It was just over priced meat. It was cooked perfectly and tender. I enjoyed the meal. My wife had the short rib, which was served with fried potatoes and delicious.

The sides are served extra and averaged $9. Our waiter gave use the typical Steakhouse spiel, that the sides are big enough for two and meant to share. I took her at her word and ordered asparagus and corn. I figured that I’m 18 dollars in on side dishes, they had better live up to their billing. What arrived was five trimmed asparagus stalks cut into ten 1.5 inch pieces. I figure it was short 10 pieces as a single serving and far short of something that could be shared.  The corn was buttery goodness, but no better in size. My guess is three or maybe four large table spoons worth. Both were good, but not sufficient to share, and totally over priced.

Desserts were outstanding and reasonably priced, but their selection was limited. My wife lived off hers for two days.

Were were celebrating a special occasion, it was our wedding anniversary. When we made reservations they were careful to ask about our reason for dinning at Brand. Our special event was never mentioned while we dined. I overheard the staff congratulating another couple, so my guess is that the staff is inconstant with the application of this service. The restaurant also stresses a dress code. They are careful to tell you about it when you make a reservation. yet they were serving a man is shorts at one table and a dirty looking hustler at another.

Despite all this, my wife an I enjoyed our meal. This was due chiefly to the quality of the food. It was a good meal. Plus, the staff did not bother you while you are dinning. We enjoyed the privacy.

If you are looking for a romantic dining experience, go to another restaurant. Las Vegas is full of options. If you are looking for good value, don’t bother eating at Brand. I felt ripped off. If you’ve got money to burn, by all means, enjoy.

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