If you love steakhouses, get prepared for something very special.
Gordon Ramsay Steak recently opened at Harrah’s Resort and once again proved that the most famous chef in the world is a chef first, celebrity second.
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Ramsay, whose “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Master Chef” series have made him a household name around the world, expands his culinary empire with his third steakhouse — others are in Las Vegas and Baltimore — and his second restaurant in Atlantic City, following the success story of Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill, which opened at Caesars Atlantic City in 2015.
Taking over the former, blandly named The Steakhouse at Harrah’s, Gordon Ramsay Steak not only redefines the steakhouse experience at Harrah’s from a menu standpoint, but physically, as well … and is definitely worth the years of waiting since rumors began floating that his steakhouse would come to Harrah’s.
“Like any restaurant, it’s all about timing,” says Ramsay, who took a break from shooting one of his many television shows to answer some questions. “We wanted everything perfect and adjusted the restaurant for Atlantic City, so we’ve been planning for a while now and making sure we blew it out of the water with this location.”
While the bones of the former restaurant remain, you won’t recognize the new creation with its glass-enclosed entrance, huge, gorgeous bar and adjacent raw bar, private rooms — including a very cool nook surrounded by wine cases near the bar — and an overall classic yet modern design that includes bold, gray walls, plush new carpeting, mixed furniture — mostly leather, some blue, some red, some black — to match the Union Jack flag that takes prominence, and, yes, portraits of Ramsay everywhere.
“I’m thrilled with the design,” Ramsay says. “It’s a little bit of home for me with the British-inspired art and décor with Union Jacks on the columns, as well as blue and red leather booths. It has a classic modern feel but with hints of cool Britannia.”
But there’s a reason Ramsay Steak remains a difficult reservation six years after it opened at Paris on the Las Vegas strip: the food. And the star, of course, is the meat.
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“Vegas is a town full of flash and sexiness, and Gordon Ramsay Steak Vegas has that,” Ramsay says. “From its beautiful dining room where it serves some of the best steaks on the strip, it’s really elevated the game there.”
Unlike Vegas, where diners are treated to prime steaks dry aged for weeks, Atlantic City’s Ramsay offers prime steaks wet-aged for at least 40 days, which seems to be the preference for many Atlantic City diners who don’t enjoy the slight funkiness of long-term, dry-aged meat.
And while we can agree to disagree on wet-aged being better than dry-aged, the steak from the multi-Michelin star chef — executed nightly by Gordon Ramsay Steak Atlantic City Executive Chef Georgeann Leaming — who previously worked at Ramsay’s Pub at Caesars — is absolutely stellar, particularly the Royal Long-Bone Chop ($150) that weighs in at a hefty 40 ounces, with perhaps the biggest long bone ever individually served in an Atlantic City restaurant.
Other great cuts include a 12-ounce bone-in filet ($70) and a 24-ounce ribeye ($75), but if you have some extra bucks, head to the wagyu section.
The American wagyu, with a beef marbling score of 9 or higher, can be found in two glorious cuts: the 8-ounce rib cap ($68) and the 8-ounce filet ($79). But if you’re really feeling indulgent, try the triple-seared Japanese A5 — the best steak I ever had — that is served by the ounce ($35) with a four ounce minimum. Yep, four ounces will set you back $140, but once you have this you will rather have four ounces of this than 20 ounces of anything else.
“I wanted to bring a quality steakhouse to A.C., and with quality comes cost,” Ramsay says. “My hope is that, like my customers in Vegas, customers in Atlantic City walking out of Gordon Ramsay Steak will be saying it’s some of the best food they’ve had in years.”
Other meats include a Kurobuta double pork chop ($40) and a duet of lamb ($58) — Colorado lamb chop and shepherd’s pie — as well as beef short rib ($45) with celery root puree and Swiss chard and Ramsay’s famous roasted beef Wellington ($59) served medium rare with glazed root veggies, potato puree and a red wine demi.
Seafood plays a major part of Gordon Ramsay Steak, starting with the raw bar that is available as a shellfish tower for two ($89) featuring tiger prawns, king crab, lobster, jumbo lump crab, oysters and clams; as an Ultimate Raw Bar Experience ($80 per person) with everything above plus caviar, sashimi and wagyu tartare, or in less expensive ways such as shrimp cocktail ($24) or the must-try hamachi ceviche ($19) with grapefruit, avocado, cilantro and jalapeno.
“We are offering a stunning selection of local seafood with an amazing eight-seat raw bar that guests can dine at,” Ramsay says. “Like any Gordon Ramsay Steak, diners can expect great service, great steaks and a splash of Britain. Having the Atlantic Ocean at your doorstep and the fantastic providers up and down the East Coast, we will of course evolve and make subtle seasonal changes to reflect everything the East Coast has to offer.”
The Market Wedge ($14) salad is one of the best you will ever devour thanks to its crisp applewood smoked bacon, fresh heirloom tomatoes, English cucumber, shaved onion and a palate pleasing Stilton blue cheese dressing.
So many appetizers stand out — there’s not a bad one in the bunch — but it is essential to try the smoked wagyu beef tartare ($22) with red onion, capers, white anchovies and quail egg yolk that is served under a glass dome that is removed to unleash the smoke, then served with Yukon Gold herb chips; and the short rib agnolotti ($21), homemade pasta pouches stuffed with a cheese mixture and then served in a simple yet perfect hazelnut brown butter and truffle tremor cream and topped with cherry confit for just a touch of tartness.
Even the sides are worth the visit, especially the Yukon Gold potato puree with crème fraiche and chives, the baked potato loaded with smoked Gouda béchamel, sour cream, bacon and chives; and creamy, fire-roasted corn with chili, lime, poblano peppers and corn crema.
Most steak lovers are curious about the house steak sauce, and the GR steak sauce is worthy of bottling — if it isn’t already — with its tomato base, BBQ tang and perfect acidity reminiscent of Peter Luger’s but a little bolder.
Desserts include Ramsay’s famous sticky toffee pudding with sticky toffee sauce and brown butter ice cream and the chocolate peanut butter bar with crisp chocolate, peanut butter and milk chocolate mousse, chocolate glaze, roasted candied peanuts, chocolate crunchies and raspberry ice cream. The latter is as good as it sounds — a peanut butter lover’s dream.
A great wine list is accented by a very fun cocktail list procured by Regional Bar Operations Manager Cera Fairhurst, including the Supersonic G&T that will convert any gin and tonic hater into a believer, and the Ramsay New-Fashioned with Patron Select Barrel tequila, Demerara syrup and lavender bitters.
While Ramsay says he and his staff need a vacation after all of its recent openings and TV shoots, he’s excited to have another brand with Caesars Entertainment and is bullish about A.C.
“We’ve had great success at Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill, we’re just into our third year at Pub & Grill,” Ramsay says. “Just in the last few years, the dining scene in Atlantic City has evolved so much, especially with the recent enhancements of Caesars Atlantic City resorts. For me it’s been exciting to be a part of making Atlantic City a true dining destination again. Gordon Ramsay Steak is my first steakhouse in the tri-state region and we are offering diners a first-class experience in a high-energy dining environment.”
It is difficult to have more than 30 restaurants globally, like Ramsay does, and maintain quality. But Ramsay’s drive for perfection, fame and fortune has made his brand one that you can not only count on but one that you can look forward to. Gordon Ramsay Steak may be pricey, but its superb service, incredibly creative yet classic steakhouse fare and overall experience make it a contender for the best steakhouse in a town that already had too many before Ramsay arrived.
A welcome addition indeed. Or as Ramsay would say: “Spot on!”