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HERITAGE STEAKHOUSE

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The Mirage

3400 Las Vegas Blvd. S.

Las Vegas, NV 89109

702-791-7111

website

$75-$100

Sun-Thu 5-11pm

Fri-Sat 5-11:30pm

Steak/Seafood

C+

AT A GLANCE

What is it?

A steakhouse from celebrity chef Tom Colicchio.

Where is it?

At The Mirage on the Center Strip.

What kind of food is served?

Steak, mostly, but some other chicken, seafood, and the like dishes.

What is the atmosphere like?

A beautiful space under the Mirage dome.

How is the service?

Very good.

What are the prices like?

Very expensive.

What else do I need to know?

Tom Colicchio has another steakhouse in town, Craftsteak at MGM Grand.

What's the bottom line?

If you want a steak from Tom Colicchio, Craftsteak is better.

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FULL REVIEW

It seems odd to suggest that a celebrity chef opening a steakhouse in Vegas is a risky endeavor. On the surface you'd think it would be a sure bet - famous name + meat + Sin City = jackpot. But there are a bunch of factors that make that puts some additional hurdles in front of this particular celebrity chef steakhouse.

The celebrity chef in question is Tom Colicchio, best known for his appearances on Top Chef as a head judge and recipient of virtually every major cooking award known to man. That alone sets up a level of expectation that is higher than your run of the mill star food slinger but then add in the fact that Colicchio already has a well-regarded steakhouse here in Vegas (Craftsteak at MGM Grand) and the bar this one has to get over is even higher.

Plus, there are about nine bazillion steakhouses in Vegas and several of them are flat out fantastic.

Sure bet? There is no such thing in Vegas and Heritage Steak, unfortunately, is a great example of that.

The meal started off well, with a pork belly appetizer that was so bacon-fat good that it almost took my breath away. Served with fried oysters and a tomato molasses, it was the kind of thing you want to savor but wind up devouring quickly and wishing there were more of.

Other appetizers mostly fall into the adventurous category for most diners with things like the French Onion soup including escargot, charred octopus, and ash roasted bone marrow as examples.

Main courses include a few chicken, seafood, duck, and lamb options but the bulk of the offerings are, unsurprisingly, steaks.

The differentiator here is that all of the meats are heritage breeds, hormone and antibiotic free, and prepared over an open flame, wood-burning oven or charcoal grill. You'd think that would make them robust and flavorful but the steaks we tried were surprisingly bland, deriving most of their flavor from the toppings and accompaniments. There's nothing wrong with really good toppings and accompaniments - give me grilled onions, blue cheese, bacon, and the like any day, but they should compliment the flavors of a really good piece of meat, not replace them.

Such was the case with the grilled ribeye with onion relish and roasted onions (that's a lot of onion) and the New York strip with pepper chutney. Both were perfectly fine but not memorable in any significant way. Perhaps we should have gone for the unadorned steaks like the traditional filet, porterhouse, or Kobe.

The one beef alternative we sampled was the roasted chicken, which also fell into the "fine" category with the exception of the accompanying beer-battered squash, which looked like onion rings but were spiced to a fiery hotness that was unexpected and not in a good way.

Service was great and the restaurant itself, under the big rain forest dome at The Mirage, is lovely (dig the suede walls and use of fire wood as decor).

But it all comes back to the food, which I expected to be more special, or at least better than it was, especially for the prices they charge. With a cocktail, appetizer, main course, dessert, tax, and tip, figure at least $75 per person without breaking a sweat; more if you go for the crazy expensive Wagyu or Kobe steaks.

If you are after a good steak, there are better places to find them in Las Vegas.

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