It’s not common for me to write about a semi-local restaurant I’ve only visited twice, but when you have such memorable experiences, it deserves acknowledgment. Plus, any excuse to talk great steak, why not?
This really does feel like a Steak Oasis in the Desert. In general, an oasis is a bit of paradise that pops up in a dry and barren unexpected place. So finding a great Steakhouse in the desert isn’t always the easiest, however, luckily in places like the Las Vegas and the Palm Springs area, there are a few. That said, again, finding a great one in let’s say, a casino, isn’t always easy either and somewhat unexpected. Except when it comes to The Steakhouse at Agua Caliente Casino and Spa at Rancho Mirage.
Now for the record, this is just on my personal experience at this “Steakhouse,” as there is also another restaurant at the Agua Caliente Palm Springs Casino as well.
Our first visit, which was on Memorial Day night happened to be for an Anniversary of ours. We had been staying at the Agua Caliente Hotel for the night to celebrate, dressed up a tad, doing a little gambling in the casino and then, of course, wanting a nice dinner. With so many choices nearby in Rancho Mirage, let alone the Palm Desert and Palm Springs area, we decide to finally give The Steakhouse a try.
We’ve always glanced at the menu, me, the carnivore, highly interested and the vegetarian wife, warm to the idea. But this time, it felt right. The Maitre D’ seated us and right away we loved the menus.
Not just the selections which I’ll get back to, but the actual menus which are backlit when you open them. From the wine list to the end of the meal check presented. A subtle, great little touch!
As in true, traditional steakhouse style, the restaurant is dark and warm. Booths against the walls, tables in the center, dimly lit, rich, masculine dark hardwood mixed with yellow and red shades on the walls, plus artistic fabrics for a splash of contemporary decor. Slightly modern though yet still very old school, nice and upscale. There’s a nice bar connected to the restaurant and even patio dining seating that puts you on the edge of the casino floor with a new piano player for ambiance.
Now, going out to eat isn’t always the easiest for us, between food allergies, preferences and meat versus veggies. But, this was a special occasion and there were quite the choices available too. Also, as with most nice restaurants, you’ll notice they will always do their best to cater to your needs and The Steakhouse surely does just that.
Nicole was easily able to piece a few things together rather quickly, where I was truly stumped. The steak choices were abundant! Not many steakhouses carry true Wagyu steak on the menu, so when I spotted an MS7 Australian Wagyu New York Strip and Lobster Tail, the scales tipped a bit. MS to fill you in is the Marble Score, and finding a reputable Kobe or Wagyu steak can be tough, but The Steakhouse was the place to trust. Thus, it was my entree!
Starting our meal off and though neither of us is drinking much these days, it was a special occasion. So Nicole ordered a glass of the Justin Cabernet and I was very pleased they carried a favorite Prosecco of mine by the split, Da Luca. An inexpensive Prosecco from the Veneto region of Italy, that is rich and refreshing in taste, however.
As our food courses slowly arrived, I was instantly infatuated with of all things the first arrival, their Steakhouse Salad which we decided to split. Almost a take on a Cobb, simple with my favorite, butter lettuce, plus bacon, egg, tomato, blue cheese, and avocado. But what makes this salad truly addictive? Their house-made, signature Herb-Honey Dressing! If we lived near the Palm Springs area I would be dropping by for lunch for that salad thanks to that unique dressing, at least once a week.
With our palates stimulated out came our dinner. For Nicole, out came a table-side cart for her baked potato. It’s called “The Works.” They cut open a mammoth Idaho potato, and have numerous toppings they’ll put together for you and anytime we’re in a steakhouse Nicole always asks for a side of horseradish cream to give it an added kick. So old school and just great. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture. But it was a meal in itself. Perfect for her after eating half that salad plus sharing my side of the Three Cheese Sweet Potato Gratin. As it says, a tasty gratin made up of a mix of aged Cheddar, Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses baked with caramelized onions. A great accompaniment to my main.
Ah, my main… Surf and Turf time! As a carnivore, it’s hard to go wrong with Steak and Lobster. Let alone Wagyu. The only problem usually going with Wagyu is you sacrifice size due to its cost. Thus, this was a 5-ounce cut accompanied by a 7-ounce lobster tail for $85.00. I never mind spending money on top-quality meat, so this was the norm. Though I have to admit, maybe since served sliced, it didn’t have that sheer mouthwatering taste and tenderness I was expecting, yet still quite the meal. The lobster certainly was delicious and I was glad to have had the salad and side to help fill me up but was definitely in need of dessert.
Ask and you shall receive! Oh my, thee item to order is their award-winning Cast Iron Carrot Cake. Created by their chef, they drop a dollop of their home-made batter into a piping hot cast iron skillet that’s been pre-heated in the oven and it bakes on contact, then the quick-baked delight is covered with a Salted Caramel, Vanilla Ice Cream, Vanilla Vodka Cream Cheese and sprinkled with Candied Pecans. Oh My Goodness! This is worth breaking any diet including our health restrictions. You must order this dessert!
All in all, this was a wonderful dining experience from the service, to the ambiance and of course the meal. One I made sure to write the Manager about. In fact, their manager, James “Otto” Moore was beyond grateful for my feedback, we talked about my visit more and how my In-Laws frequent the restaurant, that he wanted us to come back and have me try one of their signature steaks to truly appreciate how great they are.
That was some invite and one we couldn’t refuse, so we planned another dinner, this time with family for our next Palm Springs excursion and stay at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa.
Fast forward to our next Palm Springs visit. With the temperatures over 110 degrees during the summer, cooling only to the high 90s with the sun setting, my In-Laws Marc and Jacqie joined us for another highly anticipated dinner. This time we were greeted by the Manager “Otto” himself, who insisted this time I try one of their most notable steaks, the Bone-In Rib Eye.
I already knew what I was having, what about everyone else? So here we went again, this time, Otto had a nice little amuse-bouche sent out. A homemade cracker with a mix of Golden Beets and Goat cheese.
A pleasant way to kick our off our meal. Justin Cabernet for Nic and Da Luca Prosecco for me but of course and Nicole and I each got our own Steakhouse Salads. No sharing this go around, except for letting the In-Laws trying a bit, getting them hooked with Nicole giving me all her bacon.
Marc started off with their Caramelized Onion Au Gratin Soup. A huge version of the traditional French Onion Soup, bubbling over with a thick mound of cheese.
For dinner, Nicole again went with the “The Works” Table-side Baked Potato and a side of asparagus topped with hollandaise, I didn’t get a picture sadly. Marc went with the day’s Fresh Oysters; a nice selection he enjoyed, yet oddly enough, was never told what type of Oysters they were or where they were from.
Jacqie went with their Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes. Fresh, American caught Wild Blue Crab served with an Avocado Relish, a Grain Mustard Sauce and Lemon. A very vibrant and rich dish.
For me, finally, a Steakhouse signature steak… the Bone-In Rib Eye; 32 ounces of tender, pure American Prime Beef. Thee classic Tomahawk. If this behemoth wasn’t enough, I went all out and ordered a Canadian Cold-Water Lobster Tail to go along with it creating my own surf and turf. A large tail mind you! $75 for the steak and $36 for the added lobster tail… worth it? For the record, in all my travels, this was hands down one of the top five steaks I’ve ever had and that’s saying something! Considering a few of the best ever for me have been in Florence, Italy and London, England. The amount of flavor packed into each bite of this was incredible. This is a true meat eaters dream!
Especially being a bone-in cut, there’s so much extra taste and even myself, I couldn’t finish it all and let me tell you, I tried. I made sure Marc and Jacqie each got a chunk, Nicole shot me down as always and I still had a large portion left over. The lobster? That too was exceptionally good. Not a cheap main course to many, but when you want a memorable choice to splurge on, this is one to do it with.
Our tummies seemed to be all filled and happy, but we found just enough room for… you guessed it, that delectable Cast Iron Carrot Cake. At least the four of us shared one. But Otto wasn’t done taking special care of us, sending out a small plate of various chocolates. Seriously? You just don’t get old school, steakhouse food and service like this anymore. Well, you do at The Steakhouse.
Not only can’t we wait to return, but I’ve been told they’re carrying a new upgraded Wagyu Steak from a new farm which is great news as we have reservations for a couple of weeks from now. Stay tuned for an update! Thanks so much again to “Otto” and the entire staff at The Steakhouse. On your next trip out to the desert, make sure you stop by for a great dining experience.
The Steakhouse at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage
32-250 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270