Staying Put in Reno, Part Two

John Mariani | Virtual Gourmet

The Atlantis Casino and Resort is among Reno's upscale hotel properties, and two years of work have gone into making their new steakhouse one of the city's new attractions.  The management has put as much effort into its 350-label winelist, overseen by Christian O'Kuinghttons, and wine dinners as into its stunning décor and service.  There are spacious private dining rooms, a very cool and comfortable bar with a great cylindrical fish tank, and the appointments in the main dining are as posh as you'll find in the West, especially the banquettes, which I could sink into and fall asleep after a good meal and bottle of wine here.

The menu pretty much covers all the bases, and chef de cuisine Dan Bauer is a generous man with his portions, whether or not you feel like a steak, so you might opt for a thick cheese-crusted French onion soup or a superb lobster bisque, or go for the crunchy Iceberg lettuce wedge--a huge chunk with plenty of bacon, shaved red onion, tomato and Roquefort dressing, easily a meal in itself. The prawn cocktail was generous in proportion--as is everything here--and quite a bargain at $16, while crabcakes get the addition of some lobster meat with a tangy lemon aïoli. I was very happy to see fresh abalone (frozen is useless) on the menu, not least because I always wonder how a chef can tenderize the animal enough to make it less than a chore to eat. Here it was perfectly tender and delicious, served with lemon butter than enhanced the subtle natural flavor of the seafood.

But you come here for steak, and they offer several varieties, from an American Kobe flat iron at 10 ounces to the specialty here, a cowboy bone-in ribeye at a hefty 36 ounces, which may be an exercise in machismo for one trencherman but definitely serves two or even three more sensible eaters. There is also a New York cut, a t-bone and a K.C. rib-eye. Those I tried were of good quality, dry aged, if lacking a bit in marbling, but if it's beef you're after, Atlantis may be your best bet in Reno. The double cut lamb chops, at $42 for two and $48 for three are the best deal on the menu, and you can also go for a "duet" of soup or salad with steak and seafood for a very reasonable $45.

For dessert by all means go for the New York-style cheesecake or the warm chocolate pecan buy with Frangelico.

Atlantis Steakhouse is open Wed.-Sun. for dinner. Appetizers and salads run $7-$18, main courses; there is a 3-course prix fixe dinner at $48, with wine pairings, $60.