Every once in a while, I will try a restaurant dish so incredibly delicious and satisfying, that I will return to the restaurant specifically for that item, never tire of it, and never have the desire to order anything else. True, this may prevent me from experiencing other outstanding creations that these chefs have to offer, but I'll just wait until my dining companions order those, so that I can have a taste. For the time being, I am just not willing to sacrifice my tried and true favorites for something that might not be as memorable.
At Table 34, my favorite dish is Chef Kendrick's pan-seared halibut, served over a salad of mixed melon with a chili vinaigrette. Unfortunately, this is only available from April through October, when halibut is fresh and in season, but you can bet that they know to call me (and a handful of other halibut devotees) as soon as the halibut arrives. Oh yes, it's that good.
At Rao's, it's all about the meatballs, and this is coming from someone who isn't exactly a meatball fanatic. About the size of a softball and covered with their signature sauce, take one bite of a Rao's meatball and you will understand why it is impossible to get a reservation in their New York hole-in-the-wall (hint: try the Vegas locale). After 110 years, I guess it should come as no surprise that these guys know what they are doing.
At Todd's, my love affair with the Korean Beef Salad came about accidentally. On that fateful night, they had 86'd my usual salad, and our brilliant server recommended that I try this instead. No, let me rephrase: He told me that if I didn't absolutely love the salad, then he would pay for it. With that sort of endorsement, how could I refuse? It did not disappoint, and our server walked away with a heck of a tip. Since Todd's menu is also seasonal, I call ahead to see if the Korean Beef Salad is on the menu. Even if it's not, the chef will usually make it for me, if only to prevent a grown woman from throwing a tantrum in his establishment.
This marinade is about as close as I've been able to come to the one used for the salad at Todd's. They sprinkle chopped peanuts on their salad, so I made a spicy peanut sauce to serve alongside my version. The longer you marinate the steak, the deeper the flavor will be. Serve it over rice with some stir fried bok choy or sugar snap peas. And next time you're in Vegas, head to Table 34, Rao's, and Todd's--and tell them I sent you! Here are a few extra tips for this spicy sliced steak:
- Feel free to substitute another cut of steak for the flank steak if desired. Strip steak, rib-eye, and tenderloin would all be good substitutions. You can also use the marinade for pork or chicken.
- As an alternative to keeping the steak whole and then slicing it after grilling, try cutting it into cubes prior to marinating, and then grilling the cubes on skewers as kabobs. You can alternate the cubes with peppers, mushrooms, and onions.
Grilled Korean Flank Steak with Spicy Peanut Sauce
⅓ cup light soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated peeled gingerroot
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (1 pound) flank steak, trimmed
½ cup water
1 tablespoon crunchy peanut butter
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Combine the scallions, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, lime juice, sesame oil, crushed red pepper, and garlic in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place the steak and half of the scallion mixture in a large, zip-top plastic bag and seal. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.
Combine the remaining marinade with the water, peanut butter, and cornstarch in a small saucepan and whisk to blend. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute, stirring, until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
Heat a nonstick grill pan over medium-high heat. Remove the steak from the marinade, discarding the marinade. Grill the steak for about 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Transfer to a cutting board, let rest for 5 minutes, and then slice diagonally against the grain. Serve the steak with the peanut sauce.