What the Heck Happened to The Flame – and Other Downtown Vegas Grub Picks

Picture yourself hungry, and galavanting along Fremont St. on the way to your favorite prime rib when BAM! The Flame is gone, and has seemingly taken all of that juicy steak with it. In the restaurant’s place is one of those “coming soon” signs with vague pictures of happy faces but nothing to allude to where the heck I should get my steak fix now. A little investigating deeper inside the hotel, and I not only get my prime rib, I get a very pleasant surprise.

Here’s the thing. Up until last August, The El Cortez Hotel’s steak house The Flame was at the top of my list for downtown Vegas grub. Did I mention they served a prime rib that melted before it got to your mouth, or the buttery snow crab legs that were so fresh, they kicked you? But sadly The Flame has closed to make way for Siegel’s 1941, a themed restaurant due to open –hopefully – on May 28th. In case the theme’s not jumping out at you, Siegel refers to Bugsy, one of the first owners of El Cortez and 1941 is the year it opened. So the theme here is mobster , and the foods that move them.

In the meantime, drop by Café Cortez. They are not only serving their usual café fare, they have picked up some of The Flame’s favorites, like that prime rib. And right now they are using gullible diners as guinea pigs to test drive the new menu items for Bugsy’s. Sort of a 3-way of restaurants. Some of the highlights so far have been spaghetti and meatballs (it doesn’t get more mobster than that), fried calamari and shrimp scampi. The pickings keep changing as the restaurant gets closer to opening day, but if you’re in town before the 28th, definitely try your luck. And if you come after that, lucky you. You get to try the new Siegel’s 1941 and the menu in its full glory.

Most people associate good eats in Vegas with the strip, and the endless array of celebrity chefs and their restaurants. But downtown has great grub too, which you’ll find once you make it past all of the Elvis impersonators serenading on Fremont St. Any one of these has what it takes to compete with the big boys up the block:

Binion’s Ranch Steak HouseIf you are doing downtown Vegas with a date, you have to do it 24 floors up. Take the glass elevator on the outside of the Binion Gambling Hall and dine with a view of the entire Vegas Valley.

Triple George Grill – A good spot to stop if you want a civilized meal. Triple George Grill specializes in San Francisco Style Steaks and perfect martinis. More upscale then the others on the list, this where you start the night when you are aiming to impress.

Hennessey’s Tavern – You can’t miss the world’s largest pint glass that directs you to this Irish Pub. The menu is perfect pub grub with a large selection of burgers and a few Irish treats thrown in for good taste.

Pizza Rock – For when you do want to keep it casual it should be with award winning pizza. Pizza Rock is a restaurant, but better still, there is a walk up window where you can grab a slice while on the go.

Head to Fremont St. hungry and you won’t be disappointed. Not only are there top of the line restaurants to suit any taste, there are dozens of casual spots that hit the spot. Put off the celebrity chef for today and take a look at what’s cooking downtown.

CHECK OUT SOME MORE FOOD OPTIONS UP AND DOWN THE STRIP:

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