Michael Jordan’s Steak House in ilani stands as one of Clark County’s premier restaurants. During my recent visit, that reputation was confirmed by the service, ambiance — and most importantly — by the quality and diversity of the menu.
Steak, to be sure, is the mainstay. But every aspect of the menu has shining stars that go way beyond the usual. The place is pricey, but my own preference is to pay more for quality. On this visit, quality stood out in almost every dish and in the smooth, efficient and extremely professional service.
We began with the garlic bread ($9), which comes stacked on a plate and liberally bathed in a fondue made of Rogue Creamery blue cheese, which was recently voted the world’s best cheese. No one should dine here without indulging in this decadent delight.
Hot appetizers include King Crab Legs, Waygu Meatballs, Double Smoked Bacon, Colossal Crab Cake, Steakhouse Bruschetta and Battered Onion Rings. Prices range from $12 to $74. On the frigid side: Shrimp Cocktail, Ahi Tuna Poke, Oysters on the Half Shell, Chilled Shellfish Platter, with prices from $16 to $49.
The crab cake ($28) is large, loaded with its namesake, and nicely touched with a Meyer lemon aioli, and as good as we’ve ever enjoyed. The onion rings ($9), however, could have been better. We were disappointed as they seemed greasy and several were a bit overcooked.
Steaks, of course, are the restaurant’s whole reason for being. Protein offerings are center court, from the 8-ounce Steak Frites ($37) to the 34-ounce Dry Aged Porterhouse.
I opted for the 24-ounce Bone-In Ribeye ($69), aged for 28 days and garnished with cute curls of pickled red onions. It filled the plate, and was nicely charred, sizzling with juices, and so tender I didn’t get to use the supplied sabrelike steak knife. Every bite was a steak-eater’s fantasy.
My dining partner, not an avid eater of, as she puts it, “dead cow,” dipped into maritime fare by ordering the Seared Sea Scallop ($36). The mollusks floated on a parsnip puree, surrounded by a bacon, mushroom and corn ragu. An “agrodolce of golden raisins and sunflower seeds” dotted the tops. I had to look it up too: “agrodolce” is the Italian term for a sweet and sour dish.
I traded a lovely golden brown, buttery soft scallop for a generous slice of deceased bovine. For a meat-centered kitchen, the deft preparation of this marine creature was flawless.
But perhaps the most mind-blowing dish was, of all things, vegetative. The Trio of Mashed Potato ($16) was the most incredible preparation of the lowly tuber that I have ever experienced. Three large ramekins of potatoes, one infused with a sweet potato and pecan brown butter, the second liberally flavored with roasted garlic and Asiago cheese, the third (wow!) massaged with crab and Old Bay butter. Unreal, unduplicated and worth every penny of an otherwise eye-lifting price for mashed taters.
Despite nine choices, dessert was a no-brainer for us chocolate lovers. Some of the way-over-the-rim 23-Layer Chocolate Cake ($15 and dessert for four to six) left in our stomachs, the rest ended up there several days later.