Jan 09

Gallagher’s Steakhouse – Las Vegas, NV

3790 Las Vegas Blvd S

Las Vegas, NV 89109

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Located inside New York New York Hotel and Casino, Gallagher’s Steakhouse travels all the way from New York City to provide their signature cuts of beef to visitors of Las Vegas. Just in case, we made reservations the day before via OpenTable. We arrived a few minutes early, so our table was not ready yet. Just outside the restaurant, you see large chunks of beef going through their own dry-aging process behind glass windows. After a few minutes of waiting, a hostess brought us to our table with menus. One of the runners provided us with water before being greeted by our server. After reviewing the menu, we were ready to order.

Today, we decided to order the Maryland crab cakes, Parmesan & truffle steak fries, dry-aged New York strip, and the cowboy rib-eye. The meal began with some fresh bread and whipped butter. The sourdough had a fairly tough crust, but was flavorful. The other bread was a chewy yet fluffy cranberry or raspberry bread that was delicious. The large crab cakes came next with a deliciously creamy dipping sauce. Each crab cake was loaded with fresh crab with a nice crispy crust on the outside. The crab cake went well with and without the dipping sauce. Each bite tasted fresh like it just came out of the ocean. I would say this was one of the best crab cakes I have ever ate. The steak fries were huge and it looked like it came from a whole potato. You can taste the truffle oil with the Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. The fries went well with ketchup. The dry-aged New York strip tasted tender and was cooked to medium as requested. There was not a lot of fat in the steak, so there were times where it got a bit chewy. The steak did taste good and had a nice char on the outside. However, the cowboy rib-eye was the better steak tonight. The rib-eye cooked medium was a whole lot more tender without having too much added fat. Each bite tasted delicious and you could really taste the high quality meat. As we neared the end of the meal, we realized that we may have over-ordered since we underestimated the size of the steaks.

Overall, Gallagher’s serves up delicious tasting beef with high quality ingredients. The star of the show was really the cowboy rib-eye and not the New York strip as expected. Although the meal was quite tasty, it was very expensive as expected from a high-end steakhouse with a lot of hype. We could have probably shared a porterhouse steak and saved some money and still get an excellent cut of beef. Service was excellent as runners consistently refilled water and the server checked on us often. If you are in Vegas and want a good steak, you can’t really go wrong with Gallagher’s, but just don’t be surprised with the prices.

Jan 05

Lemongrass – Las Vegas, NV

3730 S Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas, NV 89109

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Located inside ARIA Resort & Casino, Lemongrass claims to serve authentic Thai cuisine to those visiting the resort. Prior to actually coming to the restaurant, we reviewed the menu and were surprised to find dim sum on the menu for a Thai restaurant. When we approached the main desk, the hostess was not there. We had to wait for a couple of minutes before the hostess came and sat us at an available table. We were provided with menus, and our server came by to take our drink order. The restaurant ambiance is quite fancy and dim, and that is reflected in the menu prices. After reviewing the menu some more, we were ready to order.

Today, we decided to order the phad Thai with chicken, red curry with beef, and a side of steamed rice. We attempted to order dim sum, but the server actually said that the dim sum is pushed in a cart that will be brought around shortly. Not too long after ordering, another server pushed the expensive dim sum cart to our table, and we decided to order the har gow, sui mai, and sticky rice wrap. Both the har gow and sui mai actually come with three pieces instead of the traditional four in each order. The har gow actually contained a very large dense chunk of delicious shrimp and the wrapper was not too thick. The sui mai was quite meaty and savory and had more flavor than most dim sum restaurants. The sticky rice wrap actually contained quite a few different toppings including tender meats and even shrimp, which was quite tasty. Not long after finishing the dim sum, our entrees arrived. The red curry with beef came with a decent amount of beef, but the rice was not included. The curry was ordered hot, and they did not disappoint. The spiciness was perfect and went well with the rice and beef. After digging around the curry bowl some more, we found that there could have been more beef inside, but the beef itself was very good and tender. The phad Thai was ordered without any veggies or peanuts because I was being picky. There was a good quantity of Chicken and egg with the noodles, but the sauce was a bit overly sweet.

Overall, Lemongrass serves up decent tasting food, but the authenticity of the Thai dishes were a bit borderline, and serving dim sum at all was odd since that is a Cantonese specialty. With that said, the expensive dim sum did taste quite good. The Thai dishes didn’t taste bad, but they could have tasted more authentic. Service was pretty good as the server did check on us often and the dim sum cart came around more than once. The value for any of the food was not really there, but that is expected when you dine at the resort. If you have some resort credit or comps, then Lemongrass would be a nice restaurant experience, but I would not want to pay full price for a meal here.

Jan 02

Brodard Restaurant – Garden Grove, CA

9892 Westminster Blvd R

Garden Grove, CA 92844

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Located in the heart of Little Saigon in Garden Grove, Brodard Restaurant serves up popular Vietnamese dishes inside a small shopping plaza. As one of the most well-known Vietnamese restaurants in all of Orange County, we felt we had to give Brodard a try. After reaching the restaurant, we realized you could park in front and behind the building to reach the restaurant. When we entered the restaurant, we signed in on a sheet of paper and waited a couple of minutes to be called to an available table in the busy restaurant. We were seated at the far end of the restaurant and provided with menus. After reviewing the large menu, we were ready to order.

After realizing that Brodard did not serve any pho, we decided to order the pork spring rolls, luna rice cakes, wonton and BBQ pork soup noodles, and dry noodles with BBQ pork. Brodard is known most for their spring rolls, and they did not disappoint. There is a delicious savory flavor that is complimented by the special sauce, but it is odd that they do not add any rice noodles inside. The luna rice cakes are another one of Brodard’s popular items, but they were not one of my favorites because you can really taste the mung beans. Dipping the rice cakes in the sauce does add some savory flavor though. The wonton and BBQ pork soup noodles tasted good, but it just tasted like the Chinese variant. The pork in the dry noodle dishes was delicious and you can really taste the marinade penetrated in the meat. A common theme in all of the dishes was the excessive use of black pepper. You can really taste it in the spring rolls and wontons, but it is evident everywhere, which was a bit odd.

Overall, Brodard does serve up some tasty spring rolls, but if you want to eat pho, you would need to look elsewhere. The other highlight of the meal was the marinated pork in the dry noodle dish. Unfortunately, there was an excessive use of black pepper in the dishes. Prices are affordable, and service is mediocre as expected. However, it feels weird to ask for the check, be given the check, have the server wait over you as you locate your credit card, have the server bring the card and receipt back, and have the server wait while you add the tip and take the folio away. Other than that odd situation, the food tasted good for the most part, and the restaurant lives up to its hype for the spring rolls. Give them a try if you like their way of doing business.

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