Ellis Island Cafe: The Best Steak Special in Las Vegas

Steak Special Receipt $8.82Ellis Island Casino and Microbrewery at 4178 Koval Lane is both as close (less than ½  a mile from Bally’s) and as far (it’s small, low brow, full of locals and attached to a Super 8) from the strip as you can be. They are known for their Italian style pizza joint (Metro), bbq, low limit gambling and the off-menu steak special in the cafe.

If you’re in the know (and now you will be,) you can get a soup or salad with rolls and butter, a steak, a vegetable and a starch, and a microbrewed beer for $7.99. That’s right. For $8.82 including tax, you can have a two course steak dinner with sides and a beer. This special is not on their menu, but it is available for the asking 24/7.

Steak Fries and Green BeansThe cafe is like a nicer version of Denny’s, with formica tables and paper placemats. The waitstaff is curt but efficient, and the food, especially the steak, is far better than expected. They give you a ten ounce cut of sirloin, at least an inch thick in the center, and cooked exactly to your order. My steak was lean and tender, with none of the gristle and fat that you need to cut away from the other steak specials in Las Vegas. I would have a hard time getting the meat alone at my local butcher shop for less than I paid for this whole meal.

Salad, Roll and BeerThe salad was average, mostly iceburg lettuce with a cherry tomato and a bunch of croutons. The rolls and butter were cold, but tasted okay. With my steak came green beans cooked with chunks of garlic – very good, and a good portion of steak fries. For my beer I chose their dark lager, which was brown and tasty and fresh. If you’ve ever had a Yuengling Black and Tan, then you’ve got the idea.

I have tried every steak special I can find in Vegas and this one tops them all. Ellis Island is practically giving away a fantastic steak dinner, just to get you in the door. This is one of the reasons I love Vegas. Don’t miss it!

Tips:

  • This place can get busy on weekend nights. Expect a wait Thu-Sat.
  • If you prefer, you can substitute a craft brewed root beer for your beer.
  • Call ahead to book a free brewery tour. Details at the website below.

Website: www.ellisislandcasino.com
Ellis Island Brewery on Urbanspoon
Update: December 22, 2012
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Bachi Burger: Gourmet Burgers with Asian Flair

Bachi Burger EntranceNow that you’ve got your rental car, it’s time for some eating adventures. The rental center will instruct you “three rights to the Strip and I-215.” I’ve got a better idea. It’s been a long, tiring day of flying and it’s about time you got something to eat that doesn’t come in a little foil packet. Off to Bachi Burger!

Less that 10 minutes drive from the McCarran Car Rental Center at 470 East Windmill Lane lies one of the best places to get a gourmet burger in Las Vegas. It’s in the corner of a strip mall, and I’m told it was once a Dunkin’ Donuts, but don’t let that put you off. Lots of great things in Vegas are found in strip malls, and lots of great things used to be something else. That’s how this city rolls.

Bachi Burger takes the pan-asian influences of Hawaii and inflicts them on the all american burger, using high quality ingredients. Meats are angus and wagyu. Buns are delicious fresh Taiwanese sweet buns – light and slightly sweet, but with a chewy crust strong enough that it won’t fall apart as you eat. Marinades and toppings from the varied cultures of Northeast and Southeast Asia take each burger to new heights.

I arrived at Bachi Burger at noon on a Tuesday afternoon and waited 15 minutes for a table. Service was good, but perhaps not quite as friendly and efficient as I am used to in Las Vegas. My first test of Bachi was my drink. I’m a big fan of Vietnamese iced coffee, but find that only Vietnamese restaurants tend to get it right, so I was a little surprised to see it on the menu here. Bachi delivered: a nice rich brew dripping onto a cup of sweetened condensed milk from a metal coffee press and a glass of ice – perfect.

For my main I went with the Ronin burger – angus beef, caramelized onions, Japanese coleslaw, miso goma dressing, katzu bbq, yuzu citrus aioli, topped with a fried egg. It’s big, it’s messy, and all the flavors mesh perfectly. Crispy truffle parmesan fries in a wax paper cone put the final touch on a fantastic meal for under 25 bucks including tip.

Ronin Burger

Yes, the Ronin burger is a little over the top, but that’s par for the course at Bachi. Other burgers on their menu include such ingredients as nuoc mam (fish sauce) [Banh Mi Burger], kim chee [Kalbi Burger], and enoki mushrooms [Kiki Burger]. All are $10 or less. For the big spenders there’s the Shogun Burger with wagyu beef, unagi (freshwater eel), foie gras, asian pear, miso butter and yamamomo peach for $25. It sounds just crazy enough that I might try it next time I’m there. I’ll be sure to write an update if I do.

Some other specialties of Bachi Burger include house made pickled vegetables, oxtail chili fries, and grilled cheese for the kids. To drink they offer wide selection of beers, sake, house made sodas, bubble and milk teas. Desserts include poached pears and malasadas.

Las Vegas has many Asian restaurants to satisfy your taste for eating adventure, however none that I have found does as good a job of fusing American fare with the varied cuisines of Northeast and Southeast Asia. Actually, my Ronin burger was not only the best Asian influenced burger that I’ve had in Las Vegas, it was simply the best.

Tips:

  • Bachi Burger was recently featured on “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” Expect a wait.
  • For those on the western side of town, Bachi Burger has another location at 9410 West Sahara Avenue.

Website: www.bachiburger.com
Bachi Burger on Urbanspoon
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