Steakhouse at Circus Circus
At a Glance
What is it?
A classic clubhouse style steak joint serving terrific traditional beef.
Where is it?
At Circus Circus on the North Strip.
What kind of food is served?
Strictly steakhouse fare with the prerequisite steaks, filets, and prime rib mixed in with a couple of chicken and seafood offerings.
What is the atmosphere like?
Your father’s steakhouse with a dimly lit, country club feel complete with dark woods, tapestries, and a few (fake) animal heads looking down on their brethren being consumed.
How is the service?
Excellent team-based service that was friendly and attentive without being too overbearing or intrusive.
What are the prices like?
Comparably a good bargain.
What else do I need to know?
They have been serving Las Vegas for more than three decades.
What’s the bottom line?
If you’re looking for a traditional steakhouse experience, go no further.
My memories of my childhood are sketchy at best, but when it comes to food my recall abilities are much stronger. I also use food as direction – turn left at the Jack in the Box. But I digress.
One of the restaurants I remember fondly growing up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa was the Flame Room, the small city’s only real steakhouse. It was a traditional steakhouse in the best sense of the term, dimly lit (and not just because it was in the basement of a downtown building), white table cloths, fine service, and juicy, flame-broiled steaks.
Those kinds of places don’t exist much anymore. The Flame Room is long gone. The last time I was in the neighborhood there was a gay bar in the space above where it used to be, as if you needed proof that times, they are a-changing.
Even in Vegas, the traditional steakhouse has mostly given way to more upscale, fancier versions of the breed. Although some still evoke the old-world style, in general the restaurants are lighter and brighter, menus are bigger and more continental, and you’ll now find words like Kobe adjacent to what used to just be “steak.”
But the Steakhouse at Circus Circus has eschewed that kind of “progress” and instead delights and celebrates its tradition, doing basically the same thing for the last three decades. Fans of steak may celebrate also.
The room is a dark, warm, green-walled space with clubby booths and white-clothed tables. Fake animal heads and generous use of wood complete the den-like environment and the exhibition kitchen adds a fiery flair.
The menu is as steakhouse basic as you can get. A few mostly seafood based appetizers, a soup and salad or three, and then the meat – several different cuts of steak, lobster and a few other fishy options, a lamb chop thrown in for good measure, your usual side dishes (veggies, baked potatoes, etc.), and that’s it. But what they may lack in extensive options, they more than make up for in quality and execution.
The filet I had was as near to perfect as one can get, not needing any of the accompanying sauces that come with it. Flavorfully smoky, with the juices flowing, it was the kind of steak I find myself craving at moments like this one when I’m writing up this review.
Prices are higher than what you’ll pay at your neighborhood Outback but nowhere near as expensive as most of the high-end steakhouses on The Strip. Steaks are in the $40 range but that includes soup or salad and a side dish whereas at other restaurants you’ll usually pay at least that much and just get your steak ala carte. Figure $50-75 per person once you factor in a glass of wine, dessert, tax, and tip.
Service, as you would expect, is almost flawless – a perfect blend of knowledge, deference, speed, and efficiency.
Times change and many of the newer steakhouses in Las Vegas are better overall restaurants, but if you are looking for a traditional steakhouse experience, you can’t do any better than this one.