If you’ve been reading this blog for a couple of months or more, you know I took a solo vacation to Las Vegas during the Christmas holiday. For the most part, it was business as usual in Las Vegas. For me, though, dinner on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were hurdles to get over. It feels a little weird to be dining alone on a holiday like that. To avoid discomfort over dining alone on such an important holiday, my strategy was to distract myself with a view. For Christmas night’s dinner, I chose the Chart House restaurant at the Golden Nugget. The Chart House, located in the Rush Tower, has a 75,000 gallon aquarium full of brightly colored fish and corals for a tranquil viewing experience over dinner.
The service here was excellent and what I would deem “solo-friendly”. My reservation was for 7pm, and I arrived right on time. I only had to wait a minute for two for a table. They did give me the option of sitting at the bar, which I appreciated, but that felt a little too casual for Christmas night, especially with a football game on the TV in the bar area. I asked for a table, and was lucky enough to be seated at a two-top right next to the aquarium. The fish would swim past the glass at eye level, which was a treat for me.
While the restaurant seats 200, the section I dined in curved along the wall of the aquarium and felt very cozy. I could only see a handful of tables from where I sat. The staff were professional, but friendly. When I asked for suggestions for a cocktail before dinner, one waiter suggested the mango mojito, which was a terrific choice. My meal waiter kindly offered to take my photo when he saw my camera out (I was trying to get pictures of the fish in the aquarium). I thought that was a nice touch.
I couldn’t in all good conscience order fish when they were swimming right next to me in the aquarium (and staring at me while I perused the menu, as if to say “You’re not going to order fish, are you?”), so instead I ordered the prime rib. I always have to get prime rib when I go to Las Vegas anyway. To me, it is the quintessential Vegas meal. And I hadn’t had it yet this trip.
The Chart House’s 12 oz. prime rib ($29) came with yukon gold mashed potatoes, au jus, and horseradish cream sauce. All of this would have filled me up on its own, but I just had to order the lobster bisque as a starter and creamed spinach on the side. (I didn’t see any lobsters in the aquarium, so I felt perfectly guilt-free ordering the bisque.) The portion sizes of everything were huge, so naturally I couldn’t eat it all. I felt terrible wasting so much food, and they offered to box it for me, but I didn’t have a refrigerator in my room, so I couldn’t take it.
The food was all very good. I have no complaints. The lobster bisque ($9) was laced with sherry and came with a little pile of lobster meat floating in the center. I liked that. It left no doubt that there was actually lobster meat in the bisque. (With some restaurants, you never know.)
I prefer my red meat cooked medium-rare, but I ordered the 12 oz. prime rib cooked medium, just in case they were one of those restaurants that undercook red meat. But no, it was actually cooked medium. It was still very flavorful. Normally, I lean toward dipping my prime rib in the horseradish sauce, but the au jus here was so good, I used that liberally instead. It was also good with the potatoes. The creamed spinach ($7) was probably meant to be shared; it was very large. The cream sauce tasted slightly cheesy and there was a crumb topping baked over the spinach. This entire meal must have been a thousand calories in one sitting, but it was so good. Naturally, I had no room for dessert at this point.
My total bill came to $59 before tip. The price would have been much more reasonable had I stuck with just the prime rib dinner, no drink, no starter, and no side. But it was Christmas, after all, and I was dining alone, so I decided to treat myself.
I definitely recommend the Chart House for the food, service and unique setting for Vegas. It’s going on my list of favorites. Next time, though, I may have to sit with my back to the aquarium so I can order one of their seafood dishes–they have some that look fabulous, like the macadamia crusted mahi with warm peanut sauce. Mmm.