By: Keith Bennett
Review Date: 07-31-14
STAFF REVIEW: Thursday evening, July 31st, 2014, it was a scorcher of a day in Laughlin hitting 118 degrees. It was too hot to go walking up and down the Laughlin Strip so we decided to visit an old favorite: Hickory Pit Steakhouse. Omar was our server, and we knew him from “outside” of work. Small world. Excellent young man with a chef for a wife who works at another famous Laughlin Strip Steakhouse!
Is the thought of another Laughlin Buffet leaving you Unsatisfied?
If you are at the Aquarius – Edgewater – Colorado Belle or Pioneer and don’t feel like hitting up another Laughlin Strip buffet, the Hickory Pit Steakhouse is a hidden jewel. The Hickory Pit Steakhouse is inside the of the Edgewater Hotel/Casino, and regulars will understand the list of 4 hotels in my list. The Aquarius is a fast walk down the River Walk, the Colorado Belle is the sister property to the Edgewater, and the relatively tiny Pioneer (lacking food choices beyond Bumbleberry Flats) is likewise a short walk across the Colorado Belle’s parking lot. As to “hidden jewel,” if you are not an Edgewater regular, you may not even know that there are 3 restaurants and a sports bar one story lower – level with the river – under the main casino.
You will most likely spend $20-$30 a head but the better (edible) buffets with any assortment of food are $20 bucks a head –so if the buffet atmosphere is getting you down – head for this smaller steakhouse for some Fine Dining.
Fine Dining? – The name is deceptive. “Hickory Pit” conjures up visions of BBQ joints with open fires, charcoal, hickory chips, with everything slathered in BBQ sauce. On the contrary, the Hickory Pit Steakhouse actually delivers ‘Fine Dining’ in an atmosphere that some may say is “dated,” but others, like me, may say it is a casual western/cowboy theme with some interesting western carvings. The ‘fine dining’ ambiance is supported by subdued lighting, plush & comfy booths, over-sized chairs at tables, red & white layered linen table cloths, red linen napkins, followed up with table side salad, potato and entree preparation. At the table level, the setting is elegant and the food (appetizers – entrees – desserts) definitely live up to the definition of Fine Dining. That said, this IS Laughlin, and some may inadvertently overdress — so be warned. On the other hand, please don’t under dress — while a suit coat and ties are way too dressy for this establishment 100 feet from feeding a pocketful of your bread basket to feral cats, raccoon and ducks at the shore following your meal, I would leave the shorts and bathing suits in your room and be respectful of other upscale-seeking diners.
Atmosphere is Great – If you had recently eaten at Coco’s to the north or the Grand Buffet to the south, once seated inside the Hickory Pit you will relax and unwind in a cozy world that is private, quiet, and dimly-lighted where the noise of the casino, noisy kids, and racing jet skis are a distant memory.
The Bread Basket – like any place where you experience decades of always-wonderful bread-baskets is excellent here. The sliced white bread is like a sourdough bread and there is a signature “cheesy bread” that the Hickory Pit Steakhouse is known for. Ample miniature crocks of soft butter accompany the excellent bread.
The Dinner Salad – is included with entrees as are the sides that keep the prices here in the $25-$30 per person range. My dinner salad was yummy and the Blue Cheese Dressing hasn’t changed in years – characteristically better than most. If not offered, ask for the Blue Cheese Crumbles that they have available.
Chef’s Soup du Jour – One of our party of four deviated from the salad and had the Soup du Jour which was a potato and beef brew that was more like a meal or stew than “soup.” We ALL tried it and it was terrific. The meat was hand cut fillet with no need to reach for reading glasses and a flashlight if you’ve ever known where I am coming from. Excellent.
Veal Marsala – (Menu description: Tender cutlets of veal sautéed with mushrooms, garlic and marsala wine) – My wife chose this entrée and sure enough it came with large mushroom pieces in a velvety and tasty Marsala Wine Sauce that was then bejeweled with hand-grated Parmesan Cheese – Thank you Omar! It was perfectly cooked, tender and delicious. The accompanying Angel Hair Pasta with Pasta with Garlic Butter Sauce was a sweet touch, while the small ice cream scoop ball of dark green spinach was a nice side visually and for a bold veggie taste.
New York Steak – (Menu description: A center cut flavorful strip) – Our poker player, who by the way, had $80 of “comps” thanks to his slaving away at in the Colorado Belle’s Poker Room, chose the New York cut and claimed it was excellent. Tender, cooked to perfection and flavorful. He matched his steak with a baked potato with all the toppings: butter, sour cream, and bacon bits. Accompanying his entree was spinach and the cupcake-sized blob of cornmeal that remains a mystery to me as to WHY?
Eggplant Parmigiana – (Menu description: Breaded and fried topped with provolone cheese and marinara sauce) – The Queen of Slots (the only person I know who consistently betters the “house”), ordered the eggplant which to my chagrin, she did not finish allowing me and my wife to enjoy a great dish. I loved it (my entrée was about to go in the trash – no fault of Hickory Pit). It was perfect!
Rack of Lamb Provencal – (Menu description: Honey mustard basted and encrusted with seasoned parsley bread crumbs) – I chose to try something out of my wheelhouse by ordering the lamb, and I am sorry I did. Oh crap! I had experienced an interesting roasted lamb sandwich at a middle-eastern sandwich shop that was amazing. It did NOT translate over for me with this menu selection! It looked fantastic, but the gamey taste, way too much fat and yucky stuff, difficulty in separating any un-fatty meat from the bone was a huge disappointment. I gave it the old “college try” but could not stomach the taste nor slice off any non-gross slices of meat without pulling out reading glasses and a flashlight. I gladly left 75% of it to end up in the waste bin. The corn meal molded-blob was “meh” to be kind, and a wonderment to me as to WHY they put it on the plate at all. The spinach was tasty. If not for the scrumptious Blue Cheese salad, my baked potato with butter, sour cream and bacon bits, and the Queen of Slot’s donated section of Eggplant Parmigiana, it would have been an unfulfilled dining experience for me.
Four Layer Chocolate Cake – Tasty. Four of us took stabs at it. Nothing special when compared to any other similar restaurants’s desserts. If you like to finish a meal with a cup of coffee, this selection would be highly recommended.
Reservations Suggested – If it is a weekend night (Fri-Sat) or Sun (if Mon is a holiday) you really need to call and make a reservation. The place is small and I’ve heard many people waiting outside of the place “whining” about the long 1-2 hours waits. If you forgot to call ahead, and you are a gambler, leave your cell number and head upstairs for some gambling or partying while you wait for your table.
Upshot – The restaurant has the word “steakhouse” in the name. To that end, the cuts of meat are top quality and generous. The service is attentive without feeling hurried. Couple all of that with the generous comps the Edgewater and Colorado Belle casinos players clubs are known for, and you might consider gambling at the Edge/Belle next time you are in town. For those paying cash, the $25 – $30 per person is super reasonable when you compare the buffet next door on a Friday evening is $20 bucks per person for buffet “prime rib and crab legs night” – but with regular instances of screaming babies and noisy parties killing any ambiance the buffet might attempt to leverage in the larger space.
Hickory Pit Steakhouse – Location, Phone, Website and Menu
Hickory Pit Steakhouse
Inside Edgewater Casino Resort
2020 S Casino Dr
Laughlin, NV 89029
Phone: Reservations are available at 702-298-2453 ext. 3716 after 4 pm
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