Marvelous Meat-filled Meals: Top steakhouses to visit this winter


Winter calls for a comfy sweater, a burning fire and hearty food that sticks to your bones satisfying that primal winter craving. On those dark, snowy nights following the holidays, nothing is better than a cozy steakhouse, a glass of red wine and mashed potatoes. There is something so perfect about slicing into a wonderfully tender cut of medium-rare steak, because, well, steak is irresistible. Wondering what to order? Not a problem. Whether you prefer a petit filet, a t-bone or slab of marbled prime rib, the Reno/Tahoe area has something for everyone’s taste.

Lying on the outskirts of Reno inside Boomtown Casino Hotel is a hidden gem, Boomtown Steakhouse. Boomtown Steakhouse is not only festive, but the perfect location for casual fine dining. The wait staff is professional, amicable and knowledgeable. The chef puts an eccentric spin on the traditional Caesar salad, charring it so that it picks up a grilled taste. The Maryland-style crab cakes have hints of spice and sit in a aioli that makes the flavor pop. While Boursin mushrooms are lightly fried and stuffed with cheese and horseradish, creating a sweet yet spicy explosion. Diners can’t go wrong with the New York steak, deliciously prepared with garlic mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus and sweet carrots. The other Boomtown Steakhouse special is a cowboy ribeye served with rosemary fingerling potatoes and topped with wild mushrooms. The manager and sommelier highly recommends a heavy merlot or ca
bernet sauvignon to pair with either dish. The desert, a Jack Daniel’s whiskey and coke bread pudding, wraps up the meal in a delightfully warm winter hug that will leave you loosening your belt loops.

Within downtown’s Circus Circus Hotel Casino Reno is The Steakhouse at Circus. Affordable, with a casual atmosphere, The Steakhouse welcomes all walks of life, from families to professionals to young romantics. Brick walls are highlighted with porcelain figurines that complement the bouquets of calla lilies on the dining tables. Circus Circus prides itself on the Tomahawk prime rib. The rib eye is USDA Prime angus, prepared on the bone and slow cooked for eight hours. It is seasoned with a dry rub, full of savory herbs, thyme and, of course, salt and pepper. Pairing well with the prime rib are cabernets from Ferrari-Carano, Silver Oak and Camus vineyards – only the best from the Napa and Sonoma valleys. For a side, the decadent four-cheese mac & cheese or the specialty cream of spinach are delightful alternatives to the traditional baked potato. And, as the staff described, the mushroom caps are just gorgeous. The Steakhouse at Circus has its own niche, combining fun and elegant.

If Reno is outside the scope of your reach, then south shore’s treasure lies in the Montbleu Resort Casino & Spa. Ciera Steak and Chophouse is a traditional steakhouse, decorated with crimson leather booths, dim lighting and red velvet curtains. It transports you back to the glory age of steakhouses. The maitre d’ has worked for Ciera for over 20 years, and is happy to assist and recommend only the best. Through the window of the wine cellar, diners can view the expansive wine collection, which only adds to the romantic ambience. Starters include a lobster bisque or onion soup, essential for warming up after a long day skiing. The filet is fundamental for the meat-eaters palate, paired with a cabernet sauvignon and served alongside mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus and carrots. Waiters recommend trying the black truffle salt ground over the steak, a combination of salt, garlic and black truffle. For a final surprise, try the plump and juicy chocolate-covered strawberries, a sweet treat that ends the meal lusciously.

Also located on Stateline is 19 Kitchen & Bar inside Harveys Lake Tahoe Hotel and Casino. The restaurant stands on the 19th floor of the building and offers extraordinary views of Lake Tahoe. Through the window-lined walls, you can see crystal blue framed by snowcapped mountains all the way from south shore to Mount Tallac and north shore. 19 Kitchen and Bar offers a surf and turf selection, featuring lobster, abalone and diver scallops, along with risotto as an appetizer. While enjoying the winter views of the lake, you can dine on a delicately cooked 10-ounce filet mignon finished in a demi glaze, or a hearty 20-ounce ribeye grilled with a dry rub. Experts suggest pairing with a Silver Oak cabernet sauvignon, or a Grgich Hills chardonnay if you prefer a light white.

Further out in Minden is the French-infused CV Steak in the Carson Valley Inn and Casino. Tourists travel out to the valley specifically for this steakhouse. It is casually elegant, with dark wood and candles that is still spacious and comfortable. The short yet reasonably priced menu offers a nine-ounce filet mignon, New York and marbled ribeye. The manager suggests an appetizer of fresh oysters, shrimp or escargot, to be followed with any of the steaks, which arrive with a mixed green salad and either baked potato, twice baked potatoes or potatoes au gratin. A Napa zinfandel or a pinot noir are best to sip on with these items, although the wine list at CV Steak extends far beyond these options.

Can’t agree on a steakhouse with your family, but craving a tender cut? Try Wolfdale’s Cuisine Unique in Tahoe City. Wolfdale’s always features an Argentinean filet mignon, made of the finest aged, grass-fed beef. Rubbed in a chimichurri sauce and topped in a demi-glaze, the steak melts in your mouth and is offered with any veggie side from portabella mushrooms to butternut squash potatoes. It changes nightly! Wolfdale’s is true Tahoe chic, with a friendly and intimate dining room overlooking the lake. The restaurant prepares only the highest quality, carefully prepared Angus beef. The chef recommends pairing with a Bordeaux blend or cabernet.

You can’t go wrong ordering steak at any of these restaurants. They provide indulgent escapes to the bitter cold and snow outside. All steaks are perfectly prepared to order, and will warm your belly while providing a fine dining experience this winter.


By: Alicia Sontag