I'm not sure where they came up with the name, but I imagine that several proprietors of traditional steakhouses are envious of the success this recent arrival has sparked in Las Vegas.
"Where's the beef?"
Bright, airy decor graces Envy.
Of course any decent steak emporium in a competitive market had better come up with some first class meat. No problem here. Bone-in Ribeyes, Filets and New York cuts compete for attention with the Black Angus Filet Mignon. Then there's a 44 oz. Prime Porterhouse for Two (very big appetites).
But a number of things distinguish "Envy" from the average Vegas steakhouse. The first difference you'll notice is bright and airy decor: panoramic windows and lofty ceilings, combined with the open kitchen and rich stonework interiors, help create a relaxed atmosphere quite the antithesis of the murky, plush confines of the old-time chop house.
Next, since you'll enter the restaurant by way of the bar, is the impressive wall of wines and walk-in wine cellar which reveals an absolutely serious commitment to the pleasures of the vine. "Envy" has thrice been cited with its Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator and no wonder. The cellar features more than 1500 bottles. The restaurant's Epicurean Adventure pairs great food and wines from around the globe for a full week of each month.
Envy's Wall of Wine.
But most important at "Envy", as at any fine hostelry, are the victuals themselves. In many a heralded steakhouse you get steak. Period. Or perhaps a passing nod toward those who might (sniff) prefer a piece of fish or a bit of chicken. Then there are customers who can be thrown into ecstasy simply watching the salad bowl spin.
At "Envy", however, the sturdy beef menu is complemented by an extraordinary variety of excellent seafood entrees, truly creative appetizers and salads, plus an extensive choice of side dishes that go far beyond the usual "baked, mashed or fried" rigmarole.
Chef Stefan Kauth.
I had the Sea Bass with Wild Mushrooms and Crabmeat Victoria--fantastic!--and ventured into just a taste of a few other entrees--a Tuscan Veal Chop with Lemon, Garlic, Olives, Roasted Tomatoes and Capers; Australian Lobster Tail; the Bone-In New York Filet. The impression was one of variety, ingenuity and an attentive service to match.
Among the starters and sides to note are a popular Split Pea Soup with Vermont Cheddar and Prosciutto; a Tuna and Crab Meat Dynamite which is, well, pleasantly explosive, and perfect greens like Steamed Broccolini and Grilled Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce. Want some spuds with your steak? Try the Bacon and Gruyere Cheese mashers or Truffle Reggiano Fries.
The responsible party for all this abundance is Stefan Kauth, an engaging young German chef who has come to Las Vegas after stints at a pair of Ritz-Carltons in south Florida and before that a thorough grounding in Europe under the tutelage of renowned mentors like Eckard Witzigmann and Harald Wolfarth.
The chic and colorful bar at Envy.
Appropriate to a steakhouse, Kauth puts a premium on "the freshest ingredients cooked as quickly as possible". Yet as a European romancer of the palate he also emphasizes the lento rhythms which enhance any fine meal. "The dining experience should progress like a finely staged opera," he intones with just the bit of a wink. "It offers a personal and memorable experience."
As an enthusiastic frequenter of restaurants I'd say that my dining experiences are always highly personal, but this one at "Envy" was certainly more memorable than most.
Notes on "Envy":
Lunch served daily from 11-3, Dinner from 5:30-11 p.m.
The dining room also offers breakfast from 6 a.m. Cool jazz Sunday brunch from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Bar remains open until 1a.m.
The restaurant is located in the off-Strip Renaissance Hotel (a four star Marriott hotel) at 3400 Paradise Road, adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center. Free valet parking is available in the hotel lot.
For reservations call 702-784-5716 or toll free 1-800-750-0980. For further information, access www.envysteakhouse.com.
— Feature by Jerry Nemanic, Jetsetters Magazine Editor.