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Joe Vicari's Andiamo in The D downtown. Solid but not destination worthy.

LVI | Mar 26, 201511:26 AM

After consulting with QAW and reading various other posts and sites I decided to give Joe Vicaris Andiamo's in the D a try. My party was looking for a good steak as well as some non-steak alternatives and Andiamo's looked like the natural fit. Along with good food we were also looking to find some lower limit craps tables to throw the bones after dinner and the downtown area seemed like a good fit (not true).

I noticed on Andiamo's website that they proudly served Pat LaFrieda meats and I was instantly excited. However none of the descriptions indicated the beef was prime, which to me is critical. So before making my reservation I called and asked. I was assured that not only do they have Pat LaFrieda meats they also carry Chicago Stockyard Meats and yes they were prime. Psyched.

Upon arriving, just to double check (my OCD in hyperdrive) I asked the maitre d' if indeed their steaks were prime and if they carry Pat LaFrieda beef. His answer was that yes they carry Pat LaFrieda meats along with Chicago Stockyard beef but they do not always have prime, but he would check with the chef (fwiw, I never heard back). After being seated our waiter proceeds to tell us that Andiamo's is proud to serve all Prime Pat LaFrieda and Chicago Stockyard beef dry aged in their own meat lockers.

The dining room itself is nice, tables spaced well and the decor inviting, which is surprising given the madhouse you have to walk through to get there! The bread service is good with the complementary caponata surprisingly good. Our table of eight ordered two tomahawk ribeye steaks, cedar planked salmon, free range brick chicken, fruitti da mare, one of the daily special pasta, a tortellaci, the homemade sausage with banana peppers, the signature meatball, lobster bisque, two salads (Ceasar and Iceburg), sauteed spinach and mashed potatoes.

Everything was at least very good with some real standouts. First off the homemade sausage and peppers was simply outstanding. Everyone thought it was the best of the meal. The pastas were just as advertised, perfectly cooked and the sauces were excellent. The Ceasar was also excellent with just the perfect amount of dressing and well portioned. The lobster bisque was a very nicely sized portion, good tempature (could have been a smidge hotter) and flavor was very good, not great. Their signature meatball had good flavor, good portion size and was good all around. (Maybe they should consider making their sausages their signature rather than the meatball.) The fruit to da mare, chicken and salmon were all very good and each person who ordered them said they would order it again. The sautéed spinach was a bit better than standard and the truffled mashed potatoes were disappointing.

Now onto the steak. The restaurant did an excellent job of portioning the steaks for those that ordered them. They were cooked PERFECTLY and each was seasoned well. They did have a garlicky butter sauce on the bottom of each plate that I thought had very good flavor however I am not sure it elevated the steak. The steak is advertised as dry aged and I could detect a good funk (funk in dry aged steak is a good thing, until it's goes too far) and a very good flavor. It was, however, not the tenderest piece of meat I have had nor was the marbling typical of a prime steak. And to belabor the point a bit more, I suspect because of the lack of tenderness, it was not prime.

Pardon the expression and rant but this is one of my big "beefs" with many steak houses, and not just in Vegas. If it's prime, advertise that (to Andiamo's credit, the website and menu do not indicate prime. To their detriment, the waiters need not falsely advertise that it is.). If it's not, don't say that it is. The reason prime is so expensive is that it is the top 2ish percent of ALL beef produced in the US. No matter how many descriptors a restaurant wants to pile on their beef, prime is prime and everything else is not.

Overall this was a very good to excellent (in spots) meal. Would I go again? Probably not. If it were close to where I was staying and I was in the mood for a meal like that, yes. But for those staying on the strip it certainly is not worthy of the time, effort, and money (cab back to hotel was $28) that it requires.

Andiamo Steakhouse
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