Classic Steakhouse with Desirable Twists | Scotch 80 Prime, Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas, NV

By Bob Barnes

Las Vegas, NV, August 2022

• GAYOT’s Rating: 14/20
• CuisineSteakhouse / Seafood
• Open: Dinner Thurs.-Mon. 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Live entertainment Wed. & Sat. 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Reservations required.
Scotch 80 Prime is on GAYOT’s:
Las Vegas Best Romantic Restaurants
Las Vegas Best Sexy Restaurants
Las Vegas Best Special Occasion Restaurants
Las Vegas Best Steakhouses

After being closed since March 2020 and being sold to the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians in 2021, Palms Casino Resort Las Vegas officially re-opened in late April 2022. Along with the opening comes the return of the popular Scotch 80 Prime steakhouse.

The restaurant’s name is in homage to the Scotch 80 neighborhood, an 80-acre plot of land north of Palms Casino Resort that was purchased in the early 1900s by the city’s first mayor, Peter Buol, and also the Prime steaks it offers. The décor exudes luxury, with a marble bar top; rich tones of camel, tan, gold and ivory; and world-class artwork.

The kitchen is helmed by executive chef Marty Lopez, a gifted chef who has more than two decades of experience working for high-profile Las Vegas restaurants. Having been born in the Philippines and living with his family in Oman before moving to Las Vegas at the age of 12, he picked up influences from various cuisines and cultures, which shows in his creative menu. Chef relates he began cooking at the young age of 5 and frequently went with his grandpa to the market, learning how to pick produce and seafood. He quips that as a child: “Cooking was my baseball and football.

Earlier in his career, Lopez was mentored by legendary chef André Rochat (Las Vegas’ first celebrity chef) while he worked at Mistral, Andre’s Restaurant & Lounge at Monte Carlo, Alizé at the Top of the Palms and Andre’s Bistro. He also was part of the opening team for Bacchanal Buffet and Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace in 2012 and gained valuable experience working in the kitchens of several noteworthy Vegas restaurants including The Capital Grille at Fashion Show Mall, P.J. Clarke’s at Caesars Palace, 35 Steaks + Martinis at the former Hard Rock Hotel and Herringbone at Aria.

Speaking of his outlook for the reopened steakhouse, chef Lopez said, “Steakhouses are pretty straightforward and have the same things, but we wanted to add more fun, be more creative and be unassuming but unexpected. We are doing classic dishes but adding our own touches, like yuzu kosho Japanese chili paste that goes on top of our lobster thermidor, and steak garnishes like onion jam and garlic confit.”

This philosophy as well as his varied culinary experiences in different parts of the world comes through in some unique and unexpected menu items. The Rainbow Tiradito (bluefin tuna, Japanese Hamachi and Faroe Islands salmon) has a Filipino touch with the addition of pickled green papaya salad, taro chips and jackfruit leche de tigre. There’s a Japanese take through the Karaage Shrimp with gochujang aioli and the Chilean Sea Bass comes with tempura matsutake and tobiko and is roasted in and served with a steamed shiitake mushroom-flavored dashi broth. A Middle Eastern and Indian influence can be found in the Colorado Lamb Chops, which are vadouvan curry-spiced and served with tamarind samosa and cucumber raita.

The diversity of flavors continues to shine in the sides. The Fried Rice topped with a farm egg contains lobster, Japanese sushi rice, lap cheong (Chinese sausage), fish sauce and tamari. The Millionaire’s Maccheroni is a colorful dish with prosciutto, black truffle, poached egg, Parmiagiano-Reggiano cream and gold leaf.

The amuse-bouche changes nightly, but if you’re lucky like I was, you may be treated to a rolled slice of grilled A5 with white soy and black truffle sauce topped with caviar and shiny leaves of edible gold.

Now, on to the Prime cuts. There are the usual ultra-crowd-pleasing filet mignon, dry-aged bone-in rib-eye and New York strip. But this restaurant is only one of five in Las Vegas and less than 50 in the U.S. to have obtained certification from the KOBE Beef Marketing & Distribution Promotion Association to serve real Kobe Beef that comes from Tajima black cattle that are born, raised and harvested in the Hyogo Prefecture of Japan. A special menu is dedicated to the restaurant’s Japanese Wagyu Collection.

If you want to dress up your steak you have add-on options of King crab, lobster tail, Hudson Valley foie gras, garlic butter shrimp and Rogue Creamery blue cheese crust; and au poivre, bearnaise, black garlic butter, red wine bone marrow Bordelaise, Argentinian chimichurri and the house-made 80 steak sauces.

You can finish your dinner with a show if you indulge in the Fireball Smores, which arrives in a chocolate sphere and is flamed tableside. As it melts it exposes a warm chocolate cake and toasted marshmallows inside and it’s served with a side of graham cracker ice cream. There’s also a delicious lemon lime pavlova—citrus custard, French meringue and zested yuzu; and Basque cheesecake with brown butter pretzel crust and local berries. The desserts are the creation of pastry chef Tammy Alana Purdy, who chef Lopez asserts is one of the best he has worked with.

The wine list currently contains 200 labels mainly from France, Italy, Spain, Napa and Sonoma and is dominated by Cabernet, which complements the cuisine. Plans are to double the list to about 450 as supply issues continue to smooth out.

> Bob’s tips;
The Scotch in the name of this restaurant also suggests an affinity for the coveted spirit, and while the former version of this restaurant once had a selection worth more than $3 million, the previous owners deemed it too valuable to leave behind. While the current list is not nearly as extensive, it is respectable and varied, with about 50 single malt and blended Scotch; high-quality choices like Angel’s Envy, the Nevada-distilled Frey Ranch, the Japanese Yamazaki 12-year whisky, Whistle Pig 10-year; and a collection of Pappy Rip Van Winkle 10-, 12-, 15-, 20- and 23-year.
Live music happens Friday and Saturday nights from 6-10 p.m.; it’s soothing piano stylings, which contributes to a mellow and elegant mood.
If you want to splurge before diving into dinner you can indulge in the seafood tower. It’s an impressive assortment of Maine lobster, King crab legs, jumbo shrimp and oysters served with saffron tartar, sambal cocktail sauce and Hendrick’s gin-cucumber mignonette.
Unlike most Las Vegas mega-resorts, both valet and self-parking are free at the Palms. The closest parking to the restaurant is the self-parking garage on the east side of the property next to Hugh Hefner Dr. or the casino valet facing Flamingo.

Scotch 80 PrimeGAYOT’s Rating: 14/20
Palms Casino Resort
4321 W. Flamingo Rd.
Las Vegas, NV 89103
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