Recently given a facelift, Delmonico is Chef Emeril Lagasse’s take on the grand American steakhouse. Open for two decades at The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino, it is inside these walls that a skilled team brings back a time when lunch was an event, cocktail hour was not to be missed and dinner with friends was a celebration. From great steaks to Emeril’s iconic Banana Cream Pie, guests have always expected big flavors and great wine. Best of Vegas received the opportunity to sit down with Chef de Cuisine Daniel Tederous and Culinary Director Ronnie Rainwater to learn more about what makes Delmonico special.
Q: First, let's talk about the new design. What is your favorite aspect of the build-out?
Chef Rainwater: I like that the whole space is opened up. The wall that was covering the front of the restaurant is now gone and replaced with opaque glass, allowing people who are walking through the casino to see inside the space. This openness is carried through to the interior as well. The large pillars that were in the middle of the dining room have been removed, creating a brighter, more open dining room, enhanced by the original vaulted ceilings of the restaurant.
Q: How did Chef Tederous get involved with Delmonico?
Chef Rainwater: Through the very exciting world on LinkedIn! We had received a few applications, but Dan’s was the first resume I set aside for further consideration. Between his pedigree, experience and mutual professional colleagues we both know, I connected with him on our first call and knew he’d be a great addition to the team.
Chef Tederous: I had been looking to relocate to Las Vegas from Hawaii and periodically checked to see if Delmonico was hiring. I’ve obviously known about Chef Emeril and the all-around excellent quality of food and service at his restaurants, so I knew I wanted to be a part of this tradition. After speaking with Ronnie, it seemed meant to be and everything fell into place.
Q: With Chef Rainwater now moving up to culinary director, should guests expect any major changes at Delmonico or Emeril's other Las Vegas restaurants?
Chef Rainwater: While the look and feel of the restaurant has changed, we have not made any major changes to the menu. We’ve added minor adjustments, including the addition of housemade pasta, seasonal dishes and a wider selection of tableside offerings, but the menu largely remains the same. I’ve seen restaurants rebrand and change so much after they go through a remodel that the whole concept becomes unrecognizable to guests. We still want our guests to feel like they are coming back to a place and experience they love, only with some fresh touches.
Q: Tell me more about the Rabbit Porchetta. It's easily one of my favorite dishes in Las Vegas. How did it come about?
Chef Rainwater: We have a desire to do things a little differently at Delmonico. I love traditional porchetta that’s made with pork. Rabbit is such an under-appreciated ingredient, but absolutely delicious. We collaborated as a team on this dish with the goal of highlighting an ingredient we love. This is what we came up with, and because we don’t see rabbit on many menus, this dish separates us from other steakhouses. Overall our culinary philosophy has been to not recreate the wheel, but be creative with our preparations, techniques and ingredients. We’ve previously featured a stuffed pig’s foot in addition to our bone-in bacon, both of which speak to this philosophy.
Q: Considering how many steakhouses there are in Las Vegas, what makes Delmonico stand out most to you?
Chef Rainwater: Delmonico stands out due to its versatility and unparalleled service. While, yes, it is a steakhouse, the versatility of the menu and experience makes it a destination for any guest. We serve lunch, dinner, cocktails, our book of whiskey, bar snacks, a personalized kitchen table experience, making us the perfect place for dinner, drinks or big celebrations. All of this is complemented by our dedication to customer experience and making sure each of our visitors has the best possible time from the moment they step into the restaurant until the moment they leave.
Chef Tederous: Delmonico stands out in that it isn’t a traditional steakhouse. From the culinary side, we definitely get the best ingredients for our dishes and try to prepare each dish in a creative, thoughtful way that’s respectful to these ingredients and their flavors. While guests can get a great steak, they can also try other dishes as well.