Dining beyond Las Vegas’ glitzy gourmet.
Las Vegas has been reimagined and rebuilt more than once since gangster Bugsy Siegel turned a patch of Nevada desert into the Flamingo Hotel. But if you look hard enough, you can still find a few classic dining spots from the city’s Rat Pack-era glory days. And if you’re lucky, you might get to enjoy a meal there before the next round of implosions.
Piero’s Italian Cuisine
Piero’s, located just off the Las Vegas Strip, served its first scrumptious osso buco in 1982. Not that long ago by most city’s standards, but in Vegas that’s the equivalent of the salon in London that’s been serving afternoon tea since 1707.
If you’ve seen the movie Casino, you’ve already had a glimpse inside this dark and intimate haven for Northern Italian cuisine. Owner Freddie Glusman has served U.S. presidents, celebrities from Frank Sinatra to Robert DeNiro, and a few folks whose portraits now hang in the city’s Mob Museum. pieroscuisine.com
The Golden Steer Steakhouse
Las Vegas’ oldest steakhouse opened in 1958, in a rundown strip mall just west of the Strip near what used to be the Sahara Hotel. Despite numerous expansions, the place hasn’t changed significantly from the days when reservations were being made for Frank Sinatra (always in booth No. 22), Nat “King” Cole, and Elvis Presley.
It’s easy to spot from the road because there’s a big cow on the roof. Clearly, this isn’t the type of place featured in those slick TV ads for Vegas featuring millennials partying at a trendy resort nightclub. Let them have their blueberry martinis and Pink Flamingo Punch — we’d rather slip into one of the Steer’s comfy red leather booths and enjoy a rib-eye from heaven. goldensteerlasvegas.com
If you look hard enough, you can still find a few classic dining spots from the city’s Rat Pack-era glory days.
Bob Taylor’s Original Ranch House
It doesn’t get much more original than one of the city’s oldest restaurants. Bob Taylor’s staked out its place in a former home in the boonies in 1955 and has ridden its cowboy theme ever since — even as the bright lights encroached ever closer. You still enter through a rustic ranch gate, maybe grab a drink in the big cocktail lounge/bar, and then order one of their thick aged steaks straight off the exhibition mesquite grill.
If you eat a whole 32-ounce New York cut, dessert’s free (tiramisu and Key lime pie come recommended). Or just sit back and digest amid the John Wayne posters, saddles, and collection of Hollywood-cowboy spurs. bobtaylorsranchhouse.com
Photography: Courtesy Piero’s Italian Cuisine, Sam Morris/Courtesy Las Vegas News Bureau
From the October 2019 issue