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OSCAR'S

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The Plaza Las Vegas

1 Main Street

Las Vegas, NV 89101

702-38-OSCAR

website

$50-$75

Daily 5pm-close

Steak/Seafood

B+

AT A GLANCE

What is it?

A steakhouse from the former mayor of the Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman.

Where is it?

In the iconic dome at The Plaza in Downtown Las Vegas.

What kind of food is served?

Most traditional steakhouse fare with big cuts of meat, seafood, and chops.

What is the atmosphere like?

An only in Vegas type experience with great views of the nearby Fremont Street Experience.

How is the service?

Terrific from start to finish.

What are the prices like?

Very reasonable for a Las Vegas steakhouse and certainly much cheaper than those on The Strip.

What else do I need to know?

Try one of the Mayor's signature martinis.

What's the bottom line?

Great views, good food, unique atmosphere. It's a winner in my book.

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FULL REVIEW

Oscar Goodman gained a reputation during his 12 years as Mayor of Las Vegas for being a colorful character. Seemingly unafraid to say whatever was on his mind, Goodman became famous for his straightforward, sometimes ribald comments, and his penchant for showing up at events with a showgirl on each arm. In short, he was the perfect mayor of a city like Las Vegas and was so popular that if it weren't for term limits he'd probably have the job until the day he died.

But no worries for Mr. Goodman - he has enough to do these days as the de factor Las Vegas Ambassador for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and running his own steakhouse and speakeasy at The Plaza in Downtown Las Vegas.

The restaurant is really two different experiences in one. The main restaurant, Oscar's steakhouse, is located in the iconic Plaza dome at the head of Fremont Street, which started life as the hotel's pool but has been a succession of restaurants for the last few decades. It has gotten a makeover and is now a warm space with leather booths, tables, and chandeliers but one thing has not changed: it is still a fantastic place from which to watch the Fremont Street Experience light and sound show happening right across the street.

There's also a big bar that features a wide variety of signature cocktails, including the Mayor's favorite martinis.

The menu at Oscar's is mostly unsurprising steakhouse fare with starters like shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, steak tartare, Caesar salad, and onion soup and a variety of steaks, seafood, and chops for the main courses. There are a few originals thrown into the mix like a seared Ahi tuna appetizer, beef barley soup, a blackened Cajun shrimp entree, and even Oscar's version of "Weiner" Schnitzel, which is a bone-in veal chop topped with radicchio, arugula, and endive.

We started with the onion soup, which was of the sweet variety and kicked up with a sherry infused white veal stock. The presentation was interesting - instead of the typical cheese coated bread on top it had the cheese stuffed into a bready puff, which if nothing else made it easier to eat. I can't say it was my favorite example of the dish ever but it was a more than satisfying way to start the meal.

Prime rib and a small filet were the main course selections along with the seared Ahi tuna, which acted as such for the light eater at the table. The beef was prepared perfectly and both had a rich bodied flavor that didn't necessitate any of the available toppings (which include blue cheese, mushrooms, caramelized onions, and more). The tuna probably could've done with a little bit more searing - it was only a few degrees past raw - but was still deemed a success.

Everything is served ala carte and for sides we tried the mac and cheese, which was baked into a deliciously gooey mess, and the house made latkes, which were like the best hash browned potatoes you will ever eat.

For the food portion of the program I'd give the meal a solid B, but I have to move that up a few notches for a couple of reasons. First is the cost. Those who have gotten used to the insanely priced steakhouses on The Strip will breathe a sigh of relief here, with appetizers all below $15, soups and salads all under $10, entrees topping out at $46 (with many under $30), and sides all in the $5-7 range. Our bill with drinks, tax, tip, and dessert came in at around $200 for three people. Contrast this with the steakhouse on The Strip we ate at the following night were the bill was double that.

The second reason to bump Oscar's up in my estimation is the atmosphere and ambience. Not only is it one of the most interesting dining rooms in town - the view of Fremont Street is killer! - the staff goes out of their way to make eating here a special occasion. It's one of those cool, "only in Vegas" experiences that all visitors look for.

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