Las Vegas is too much city for me to eat through alone. So for this post I’ve enlisted the help of my friend and fellow food enthusiast, Milan, to check out the happenings at ENVY The Steakhouse in the Renaissance hotel. While I’ve never been, they’ve had a solid reputation in town as an alternative to higher priced steakhouses on the Strip. With a new chef, an updated wine list, and a menu with newly added Italian-inspired dishes, ENVY held a tasting event to showcase their offerings.

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Amuse
Warmed Foccacia Crostini, Tellegio Cheese & Bresaola
The bresaola was lean and tender and was a perfect compliment to the buttery tellegio cheese.  The crunchy focaccia crostini was a fitting base to these toppings.

Primi Piatti
Prosciutto with Organic Melon | San Daniel Ham & Fresh Melon, Micro Mint, Aged Balsamic
This interesting combination was a salty and sweet delight.  The sea salt granules and micro mint sprinkled upon this hors d’oeuvre emboldened the contrasting meat and fruit flavors.  This was a surprisingly pleasing treat for the taste buds.

Secondi
Duo Di Frutti Di Mare | Baked Bay Scallops, Creamy Parmesan Spinach, Pancetta & Crab Cake, Roasted Peppers “Agrodolce” and Sarmoriglio Sauce
PAIR WITH: Stellina Di Note Pinto Grigio, Veneto Italy
The baked bay scallop was enveloped by a sea of rich creamy parmesan spinach.  In some seafood dishes, lemon also accompanies the pettine to help minimize a potentially fishy flavor.  Much to my delight, the lemon was not a necessary mask, as this appetizer was a delicacy on it’s own merit.

The crab cake with the roasted peppers and agrodolce and sarmoriglio sauce was out-of-this-world delicious.  These were by far the best crab cakes I’ve ever eaten, and this is coming from an Ogunquit, Maine crab-cake afficinado.

Pasta
Shrimp & Chorizo Raviolo | Squid Ink Pasta, Lemon Cream Sauce, Rapini Coulis
PAIR WITH: Tenuta Di Arcero Chianti Classico, Tuscany Italy
The tenderly prepared shrimp & chorizo ravioli was served in a creamy lemon sauce and was colorful and flavorful. The wine pairing was carefully chosen from a selection of over 75 different wines and made for a deserving compliment to this delectable pasta dish.

Portata Principale
Grilled New York Strip | Potato Ricotta Gnocchi, Romanesco, “Au Poivre” Sauce
PAIR WITH: Seghesio Nebbiolo 2008
The main course was a grilled New York strip that was both lean and savory. The wine pairing was a perfect match as the Seghesio Nebbiolo 2008 was dry and soft with scents of red cherry, mild spices and a hint of smokiness. The expertise of the staff at Envy really shines here and made me feel comfortable leaving my dining choices in their hands. The potato ricotta gnocchi was served in a buttery cream atop the tender little dumplings that seemingly melted in my mouth. The three sides served with the main course were the spaghetti squash carbonara which was prepared al dente, wild mushrooms with focaccia croutons, and the rigatoni braised oxtail and ricotta salata.

Contorni
Spaghetti Squash Carbonara
Wild Mushrooms with Foccacia Croutons
Rigotoni with Braised Oxtail & Ricotta Salata

Dolce
Open Face Canoli | Raspberry Cream Anglaise
PAIR WITH: Samos Sweet Muscat Wine 2010
The final treat was the open-face canoli, putting a little twist on a traditional canoli as the wafer shells sat above the sweetened filling of whipped ricotta and raspberry cream anglaise. The dessert was an artistic ending to a wonderful meal that was paired with a Samos sweet Muscat dessert wine that had a deep golden color and honeyed aromas.

General Impressions
The staff is friendly and well informed about its products. Feel free to ask them questions and recommendations about wine pairings.

The Envy Steakhouse is generally in the $60 price range (per person). However, the new food offerings have bridged the gap between it and The Grill (roughly $20 per person) and now has dining options in the $40 price range.

The private dining room is well suited for presentations and sporting events with a walled LCD television hidden behind a sliding picture.

Chef Derek Gigliotti was very proud of his new menu and it shows in his attention to detail. He was excited when he spoke to us about each dish. His professionalism, creativity, artistry and expertise were evident.

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— Updated 9/14/14 —

I was worried when I walked into this place for dinner because it was empty save for two other diners. As expected with the lack of customers, service was excellent. After checking out the menu my wife and I mentioned that we were going to sample each of the two entrees ordered. What came out from the kitchen was a beautiful, impromptu surf and turf dish with a half order on each of our plates. The 10oz filet ($49) was savory and tender with a flavor enhanced by a trio of specialty salts served on the side. Next to the filet was a pan seared Chilean seabass ($36) coated with a buttery, crunchy truffle flavored crust. The delicate and flakey fish was the highlight of the meal and one of the better fish dishes I’ve had in a while.

As a side we ordered their signature whiskey cream corn ($10). Creamy and full of chunks of bacon, it added to an otherwise rich meal. The restaurant is even kid-friendly even though there isn’t a dedicated kid’s menu. My kid got a massive bowl of buttered spaghetti noodles ($12). To finish up the meal, we shared the warm sticky toffee pudding ($9). While not nearly as good as the mind-blowing version at Gordon Ramsay Steak, the large square brick was decent. However, the grainy brown sugar mouthfeel prevented us from devouring it like we would normally do to a dessert.

This place may not have the sizzle and sex appeal of other steakhouses in town, but it’s a solid, less expensive alternative. The execution was better than expected, plating was thoughtful and meticulous, and service was as friendly and personable as you’ll find anywhere in town.

4 Stars

Renaissance Las Vegas
3400 Paradise Rd
Las Vegas, NV 89169
(702) 784-5716

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