Because I have issues with the massive portion sizes normally served at Las Vegas restaurants, I made up my mind on my most recent trip that I was going to eat off Happy Hour and appetizer menus as much as I could, while still trying to eat somewhat healthy. One of the Happy Hours I chose, based on the menu I found online, was Brand Steakhouse at the Monte Carlo. This was convenient for me, since I was staying at this hotel.
I walked in during Happy Hour on a Monday night, a bit before 7pm. The bar and restaurant were both fairly empty, which was fine with me. Sometimes, I prefer a quieter atmosphere with my dinner. Tip: If you want a quiet dining experience, dine earlier in the evening (5-7pm) at fine dining establishments. They don’t usually get busy until after 8pm.
Service at the bar was great and the drinks were good. Happy Hour drinks are $5 for beer, wine and well drinks, and appetizers are $9. The whiskey and Coke I ordered was terrific. Not too weak, not too strong, just right. (I felt like Goldilocks.) The only thing that would have made it more perfect is if the whiskey they had used was Jack Daniels, but alas, no brand preferences are allowed when you’re talking about Happy Hour drink deals.
When I saw the Hot Rocks on the menu, I knew I had to try it. I’m not normally the type to play with my food, but this was irresistably fun. You simply must try it. (Unless you’re a vegetarian. Then don’t.)
What exactly is “Hot Rocks”? You are brought a large, sizzling hot rock and a dish of thin, raw slices of beef soaked in a marinade with aioli on the side. You cook the meat yourself by placing it on the rock for just a few seconds on each side.
I’ve never done anything like that before in a restaurant and thought that was just the coolest thing ever. Or would that be the “hottest” thing ever? In any case, it rocked. The tangy and delicious aioli was a nice accompaniment.
I decided to supplement my meat and booze with something healthy, a caprese salad off the main menu. Altogether, it was the perfect amount of food for me for dinner. The caprese salad was creative, offering several different varieties of tomatoes, including sweet cherry, yellow cherry, and beefsteak plus chunks of mozzarella in a delicious dressing. It also came with 2 small rounds of buttered toasted bruschetta (which were a little too salty for my taste, but still good).*
The bar here is very long, making it great for solo diners. The bartop is marble and the stools were upholstered and very comfortable. There’s also a comfy-looking tabled seating area in the lounge, with candles on the tables. There are 2 large TVs behind the bar set to sports (yawn, what else is new), as well as flat panel TVs throughout the lounge.
As with so many Vegas restaurants, it’s too dimly lit for me, but I found that by sitting at the end of the bar nearest the casino, there was enough light filtering in from outside the restaurant for me to see the menu and the bill. And of course, it was a great perch from which to people-watch. Overall, I give Brand Steakhouse a big thumbs-up. I’d go back there in a hot second.
*@EastCoastGamblr tweeted to me that they have great mac and cheese, too.
Photo credit: Brand Steakhouse Interior courtesy of MGM Resorts International.