The Gambler’s Special at Mr. Lucky’s at the Hard Rock Hotel has been available since 1999, but has never been on the 24/7 cafe menu. Still, the special is one of the best sellers at Mr. Lucky’s, the restaurant serving 2,500 a month.
It’s known as a secret or off the menu item, and it’s far from unusual in Las Vegas. But if it’s a secret, how do so many people find out?
âI think people are telling people that,â said Marcus O’Brien, executive chef of Hard Rock. âYou will hear some servers divulge it. You will hear the table next to them say, âWhat is this? Or someone says, ‘Hey, I heard about this special.’ “
O’Brien said he thinks the âsecretâ cachet is part of the appeal, but so is the price. The Gambler’s Special is a sirloin steak, three grilled shrimp, mashed potatoes and a salad for $ 7.77.
The Circus in Bellagio also has a secret dish, but it’s unlikely to be worth the draw there. The Ultimate Surf and Turf begins with a Japanese wagyu steak stacked with truffles and foie gras and served with a 2 pound Maine lobster tail with caviar and gold leaf and a marrow bone with fondant balanced fried potato on top. The price depends on the amount of wagyu beef and the type of caviar the customer wants, but it starts at around $ 325.
Wilfried Bergerhausen, executive chef of the Circus, said he imagined the Ultimate Surf and Turf in response to customer requests.
âWhen we get special requests, we try to catch up with them,â Bergerhausen said. âWe always talked about surf and turf on the menu, but if we were to do a surf and turf, we were just going to do it all and do something more, take the more prestigious items that are on the menu. “
He said the dish was only available on request, and the restaurant typically sold five to 10 per month, although 23 to 25 people ordered it for a week last year.
Like these two, the other secret dishes served in Las Vegas restaurants seem to be driven by one of two things: value or popular demand. Rao’s at Caesars Palace, for example, cooks off-menu options including Italian classics like aglio olio pasta, chicken cacciatore, veal Marsala, and sausage with peppers and onions. Center Cut at the Flamingo is offering a $ 35 special of a 12-ounce salt-crusted prime rib with a Caesar salad or onion soup. It’s only available Sunday through Thursday and known mostly through word of mouth, although there is a small sign outside the restaurant.
Charlie Palmer Steak at the Four Seasons has been offering its Cup of the Week, three course meal with shared sides and unlimited wine pairing for several years for $ 58, but patrons should know how to ask for it when they’re seated.
Rivea au Delano has a secret grilled lobster with homemade mustard butter. Downstairs at Della’s Kitchen, connoisseurs know how to ask for a bowl of ramen with a cooked pork knuckle, smoked pork bones, veggies, homemade fermented cabbage, and a poached egg.
Those who remember the dishes of old Vegas can request the Milanese lobster at Portofino at the Mirage and will be served the fried lobster tail dish with a white wine, lemon and butter sauce, served with sautÃ©ed spinach in garlic.
At Aria’s Carbone, meatballs based on Mario Carbone’s mom’s recipe aren’t on the menu, although one of the captains might mention them to a customer every now and then.
Beef eaters who aren’t happy with the 12-ounce New York Strip or the 18-ounce bone-in entrecote at Jean Georges Steakhouse can opt for the 26-ounce Wagyu Tomahawk Chop, which isn’t just cooked. on a wood. hot grill but served over smoking coals.
But there’s a secret dish for everyone, it seems: at Tom Colicchio’s Heritage Steak at The Mirage – which specializes, you know, in steaks – savvy vegetarians can get marinated eggplant grilled and topped with Homemade chimichurri and a popcorn and roasted cashew frosting.
And the Steakhouse at Camelot at the Excalibur serves an off-menu side dish of creamy summer corn with applewood-smoked bacon.
O’Brien said he believes the exclusivity of these dishes is fueling their popularity.
âI think sometimes with the biggest special you move it onto the menu and it doesn’t sell as well,â he said. “I don’t know if it’s because it’s something you can have and think that only you can get it.”
But how do you know if a secret dish is available in a restaurant? Well, you can read articles like this, or you can ask if there are any off menu items available. But O’Brien said if you’re looking for something you can’t see on the menu, just ask for it.
âI think every restaurant has something special,â he said. âYou can probably go to Pink Taco (Hard Rock) and ask for a sample tray. We will always do something for the guest because it is our industry.
Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at [email protected] Find more of her stories at www.reviewjournal.com and follow @HKRinella on Twitter.