Longtime Las Vegas visitors may know the name Barry S. Dakake. Back in the heyday of the Palms, signing his door after dinner was a sign you really were a celebrity. Nowadays, you can find the chef at Barry’s Downtown Prime at Circa Resort & Casino, where he and the other members of Make It Happen Hospitality, Yassine Lyoubi, Marco Cicione and Donnie Rihn, have created a chill environment that channels the welcoming nature of an old-school steak joint, combining in modern sensibilities.
And what is neat about Make It Happen Hospitality is that each member has strengths that mesh with the others—for instance, director of operations Lyoubi has held similar posts at several Strip restaurants, director of wine Cicione is a sommelier, and Rihn is a successful businessman in many arenas other than restaurants. Other key team members have also worked in Dakake restaurants, and all of that experience allows Barry’s to operate like a well-oiled machine.
The décor here channels that vintage steakhouse feel, with cushy booths, wooden tabletops and leather chairs. But pendant lighting overhead seems distinctly modern, while chandeliers strike a balance between the eras. The menu itself does much of the same thing, serving up classic cocktails like the Aviation and Bee’s Knees, originals with a twist, like the Queen’s Mule, which has a rose syrup kicking around in there, and a cocktail cart that lets you get your Manhattan right at your table.
Appetizers include a chilled shellfish platter and steak tartare alongside the signature bone marrow luge. Salads are fine, too, with the iceberg wedge keeping company with the “Real” Garbage salad, roasted beet salad and tomato panzanella salad.
At Barry’s, the beef is currently sourced from Midwest supplier Creekstone Farms, a well-respected name. Filet mignon and New York sirloin comes from family-owned brand Revier Cattle Company. Accent those cuts with shrimp, crab lobster, truffles or a variety of sauces. Surf & turf consists of filet medallions and Maine lobster in a red wine sauce. A newer addition to the menu, fire chicken, lives up to its name, with Fresno chilis and jalapeños. And Colorado lamb chops are served with Parmesan, pine nut crust and rosemary red wine sauce.
For a total surprise that definitely ropes in modern sensibilities, look to the vegan menu, something that’s becoming available at more and more restaurants, even straightforward steakhouses. From the beet salad referenced earlier to roasted heirloom cauliflower with watercress pesto, vegans will dine well. A vegetable “meatloaf” even ensures a “tradition-style” entrée will satisfy. It’s even served with fingerling potatoes and mushroom gravy.
Desserts range from luscious carrot cake to crème brûlée, but to cap off that real steakhouse meal, go for the Baked Alaska. No matter how many times you have had a dish where fire is a main component, it’s always impressive. Ice cream, chocolate, merengue, brandy—you can’t go wrong!
Circa Resort & Casino, 702.726.5504
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