October 2017 Magazines 89012 - Page 66

Haute Spot A Facelift for the Modern Age Sonoma Cellar Steak House By Aly Wagonseller IT’S BEEN SOME TIME SINCE I WANDERED OVER TO Sunset Station near the Galleria Mall. Really, since the District and GVR arrived on the scene, I all but forgot about the days of dining at Sonoma Cellars Steakhouse. Back 20 years ago it was one of very few nice steakhouses in the area, a go to when com- pany was in town, you wanted to impress a date, or simply craved a nice dinner with upscale ambiance and a decent wine list. Over the years, though, trends have changed. People tired of the dark and somewhat fussy look the 90s found so appealing. A more casual vibe is where it’s at, with a bar, TVs, and even small plate selections to choose from while sipping not only wine from one of the Las Vegas Valley’s largest wine lists, but signature cocktails and premium whiskey, scotch and rye. Sonoma Cellar heeded the call, reopening after a much needed facelift that’s sure to appeal to the masses. Light and bright with bold modern lighting, splashes of color and a large bar and lounge area, Sonoma feels upscale, yet casu- al. The dining room is intimate, yet airy, quieter than the adja- cent bar but still lively, with old school Vegas music and the buzz of servers ready to provide attentive service. The expanded lounge is fitted with plenty of “belly up to the bar” seating as well as private tables all positioned for watching the game, sip- ping craft beers and enjoying an extensive menu designed to share. Both the dining room and bar menus have undergone changes as well, thanks to Executive Chef Britt Beeland, a Louisiana transplant who places a Cajun spin on many of the dishes served. 66 We started with Buffalo Frogs Legs and Fried Green Tomatoes– bar menu options that pay homage to the chef’s roots in southern cuisine. Frog legs were meaty and juicy, breaded in a crunchy corn flake topping void of grease, and served with dill forward crème fraîche dipping sauce. Tomatoes were firm and also quite crunchy, though problems with the breading falling off made for a challenging bite when using a fork. Still, they’re a respectable taste from the south that’s worth ordering. From the dining room appetizer menu we opted for Bacon Wrapped Shrimp and Smoked Pork Belly. Wrapping shrimp in bacon is not always executed properly, with the shrimp becoming overdone while October/November 2017 limp bacon leaves a distasteful, under rendered hunk of fat in your mouth. This version was nicely done, using huge Mexican white shrimp that maintained their juiciness, and thin pieces of bacon which formed a crispy blanket of flavor. Crunchy fried onions and a sweet and savory mustard mar- malade sauce were nice accompaniments. Pork belly was also nicely executed, served with creamy grits and the bite of country greens that added the necessary acidity for this deca- dent dish. Meat offered is what you’d expect, from a 16 oz. Prime Aged New York cut to several bone-in and boneless versions of Rib Eye, Porterhouse, Filet, Veal and Lamb Chops. For those less inclined to eat the red stuff, seafood options included Salmon, Scallops, Lobster and Crab Legs, as well as the ever so popular Brick Chicken. We opted for the Sonoma Classic, a 20 oz. slab of Rib Eye goodness, and King Salmon served with pea puree. The steak was caramelized and served to desired temperature, with hints of tomato, garlic and cilantro and, while the salmon was also perfectly cooked, the pea puree had an unfortunate raw, starchy quality due to the undercooking of the peas. Side dishes of roasted corn cut off the cob and served with a delicious chipotle aioli, as well as asparagus accompanied by a pine nut gremolata and charred lemon hollandaise sauce were nice, the vegetables again teetering on being slightly under- done. In my book, it’s better than the alternative. Finishing with playful desserts of Peanut Butter Pie, a nod to peanut butter and jelly sprinkled with honey roasted peanuts, as well as Coffee and Donuts, a take on bread pudding served with cappuccino gelato, the meal brought back sweet memories of the old days at Sonoma Cellars, only now, with a modern touch. For reservations or information, call them at 702 -547-7777. ◆