Monday, Jan. 9, 2023 | 2 a.m.
Delmonico Steakhouse was packed this Thursday night, with barely an empty seat to be found as food servers scurried from table to table.
In the kitchen, a chef used a microphone to call out orders to the cooks — a 20-ounce bone-in ribeye, a choice-cut filet mignon steak.
Nothing is written down on paper tickets or on a digital display. The cooks — eight of them on the line this night — must remember every detail of the orders called out from the speaker.
The food isn’t cheap — a six-ounce Wagyu beef filet mignon costs $185 — but that’s to be expected at one of the top steakhouses in America.
Delmonico was one of 10 Las Vegas restaurants on OpenTable’s list of the top 100 eateries of 2022. Only Chicago — with a dozen — boasted more entries on the list.
OpenTable is a popular San Francisco-based restaurant reservation service.
While achieving a top ranking on such lists is important, Delmonico doesn’t compare itself to anyone else, said Ronnie Rainwater, the restaurant’s chief culinary officer and one of its top chefs.
“We do pay attention. We like to be aware of what’s happening in this city and in the country,” he said. “At the same time, we have a very big focus on what happens within these four walls. I think that’s why we’ve had the success we’ve had.”
Delmonico, which opened in 1999, is owned by celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse. Others star chefs on the list include Gordon Ramsay with Hell’s Kitchen at Caesars Palace and Bobby Flay with Amalfi, also at Caesars.
“People have been watching these chefs on TV for a long time and reading their cookbooks,” said Terrence O’Donnell, assistant general manager of Caesars Palace.
“When people come to Las Vegas, they’re excited to experience the food from these popular chefs. At Caesars, we’re proud of the chef partnerships we have,” he said.
Nobu Las Vegas, a popular Japanese restaurant at Caesars Palace, also made the OpenTable list.
Nobu Matsuhisa, a world-renowned sushi chef, is behind the restaurant.
“We’re proud to be recognized by these types of ratings,” O’Donnell said. “It validates our efforts. We’re striving to always have the best chef and food and beverage lineup in town.”
Las Vegas has evolved from a gambling city to a place also known for its experiences in areas like fine dining, sports and world-class entertainment.
“When people visit Las Vegas, it’s almost universal that some part of their trip will be targeted toward a food and beverage experience,” O’Donnell said. “It’s a very high ratio of visitors who have at least one dining destination in mind when they come to town.”
Another restaurant that made the OpenTable list was the pawnshop-themed Beauty & Essex, a Tao Group Hospitality spot at the Cosmopolitan.
Some of the popular choices there include the restaurant’s signature grilled cheese sandwich with smoked bacon and tomato soup dumplings, as well as its tuna poke wonton tacos.
Beauty & Essex was co-founded by Chris Santos, a celebrity chef who has appeared numerous times on the Food Network.
Santos said restaurantgoers have been busy making up for lost time following the shutdowns of the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
“All of the Tao Group restaurants across Vegas are thriving,” Santos said. “We find that guests have been thrilled to make up for lost time. They want to gather with friends and family again to make new memories.”
Rainwater, who has been with Delmonico since the year it opened, said close to 70 people work at the restaurant on any given night.
Delmonico typically serves between 450 and 500 meals per night, he said.
“It’s a large operation,” Rainwater said. “We’re always looking at how we can be a little bit better. We’re always looking to enhance the experience we provide, partly because we’re in such a dynamic city.”
Rounding out the 10 Las Vegas restaurants that made the OpenTable list were the Eiffel Tower Restaurant at Paris Las Vegas, the Golden Steer Steakhouse, Javier’s Restaurant, the Tao Asian Bistro at the Venetian, and Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab at the Forum Shops.