The Ciera Steakhouse at the MontBleu (55 Hwy. 50, Stateline, NV, 800/648-3353, www.montbleuresort.com, Sun.–Thurs. 5:30–10 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 5:30–10:30 p.m., $20–35) provides precisely the experience diners expect from a mid-grade casino steakhouse. The dining room boasts blocky modern decor in soothing colors, an exposed wine cellar window, and big raised booths with plush red curtains that can be drawn to create a private dining experience.
On the menu, you’ll find plenty of steak and non-steak options, with preparations designed to appeal to visitors from across America. Sadly, the kitchen doesn’t always get it quite right, and steaks tend to be overdone by California standards. But hang in there, since the coolest part of the Ciera dining experience comes in right at the end.
Even if you don’t usually do it, order coffee at the end of your meal. It comes with a fabulous tray of fixings, including delicious flavored whipped creams. And finally, you’ll be presented with a complimentary dish of chocolate-covered strawberries resting atop a frothing container of dry ice. It’s fabulous!
Sometimes, it’s what a guide doesn’t recommend that’s most important. When you’re driving up the backside of the lake in Nevada, the restaurant choices become thin for many miles. You may find yourself starving, and the only thing that you can find that’s open is the Café at the Biltmore Hotel and Casino. You’re better off scrounging from your leftover snacks. The only thing worse than the food here is the service. It’s special to find a spot where the waiters actually hide from the customers. Granted, you can get coffee here, which might help you wake up enough to push on to Incline Village or even Tahoe City.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition