Sahara christens new Lords

Jun 24, 2003 6:47 AM

Las Vegas is home to many fine steakhouses, especially with the influx of celebrity chefs and famous restaurants such as N9NE at the Palms, AJ’s at the Hard Rock, Craftsteak at MGM and Smith & Wollensky on the Strip.

Not to be outdone is the House of Lords at the Sahara. The steakhouse, now in its second incarnation as the House of Lords, was formerly the Sahara Steakhouse, although the original Lords traces its roots to the Sahara of the 1960s.

The original House of Lords was located just off the pool promenade and featured rich burgundy, high-back velvet chairs, oak tables, linen table cloths and fine china.

The upscale dining room was the after-hours hangout of many celebrities, including members of the Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop), who would make reservations from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. It was rumored that they would tip the waiters $1,000 apiece for their service.

Of course, the Rat Pack is gone, but the tradition of offering fine dining in an elegant atmosphere with superior service lives on at the House of Lords.

Like its retro ancestor, the House of Lords is an elegant dining room without being stuffy or pretentious. The Moroccan theme is prevalent, with Middle Eastern artifacts, rugs, vases and wall coverings.

At the center of the main dining room is a waterfall decorated with plants and flowers, and surrounded by plush booth seating.

The menu has been revised since the restaurant was the Sahara Steakhouse. Helping to choreograph the transition is Culinary Executive Chef, Tim Emert, who has 35 years of experience, including 15 years as an executive chef.

Prior to joining the Sahara, Emert held positions at the Luxor, Caesars Palace, Nevada Palace, Fremont Hotel and Lombardo Imports.

Emert said one of the objectives of redesigning the menu was to add some traditional gourmet dishes that would appeal to regular Sahara customers, along with nouveau specialties that might pique the palate of a younger crowd.

Some of the tasty examples include roasted crab cakes, escargot and stuffed Portobello mushroom as an appetizer.

Chef Emert has also created a nice mix of salads, including a hearts of palm with vinaigrette, classic Caesar salad and spinach salad, as well as hearty soups such as traditional black bean and a superb lobster bisque.

From the broiler, House of Lords chefs specialize in timeless steaks and prime rib of beef. The house favorites include a tender New York Steak, a flavorful Porterhouse steak, succulent filet mignon and a butter-soft, bone-in rib eye steak.

Diners can also choose from special selections such as Medallion of veal prepared Picatta, Franchaise or Marsala, filet of beef Oscar, chicken breast Grand Mere, and delicious double lamb chops.

Seafood lovers will love the House of Lords renditions of broiled salmon, pesto-crusted Chilean sea bass, Australian lobster tails, jumbo gulf prawns and steamed Alaskan crab legs.

Each of the entrees includes a choice of soup du jour or salad, and a baked potato or fresh garlic mashed potatoes.

Prices are moderate compared to most Strip steak houses, with beef and seafood entrees ranging from $18.95 to $29.95.

The House of Lords also features an extensive wine list with a nice mix of champagne, sparkling wines, chardonnay, zinfandel, sauvignon blanc, imported white wines, and many more.

The restaurant is open for dinner nightly beginning at 5 p.m. Reservations are suggested; call 737-2111.