Finally, Peter Luger Steak House Las Vegas is open for business, providing its famed, butter-bathed porterhouse and ribeyes to carnivores in Sin City.
But the new location is not an exact replica of the no-frills, cash-only Brooklyn flagship, where the brusque service and always-crowded tables are almost as famous as the well-aged meat.
For one thing, there’s the sheer volume of steak on site. The new steakhouse, which threw open its doors in Caesars Palace Las Vegas Hotel and Casino on Nov. 1, just in time for the inaugural F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix, has a 14,000-square-foot footprint. (It replaced another legendary New York dining room, Rao’s.) About 20% of the new restaurant is dedicated to a lower-level dry aging room that’s filled with USDA prime beef.
“We’ve got well over $1 million of beef aging in that room,” says Daniel Turtel, vice president of Peter Luger. His great-grandfather Sol Forman purchased the steakhouse in 1950 from its founder, Peter Luger, who launched the original location in 1887.
At any given moment, the Las Vegas dry aging room is home to roughly 3,200 supersized beef cuts, from short loins to giant rib racks, each of which is butchered into individual steaks after aging. It’s more spacious than the brand’s other three locations, in Brooklyn; Great Neck, Long Island; and Tokyo. The Brooklyn restaurant, which lost its Michelin star in 2022, a few years after getting hit with a demoralizing zero-star New York Times review, has the next largest dry aging space. Its two rooms together span about 1,500 square feet and can hold around 2,000 cuts, including short loins, ribs and strip loins.
The beef — and the menu in general — remains mostly the same, with a few new dishes, including a seafood tower that’s a current bestseller, along with such staples as steak for two and ribs for two.
The new 300-seat restaurant was designed by New York-based Jeffrey Beers International and evokes a more grand and refined take on the Brooklyn original’s austere, wood-paneled Bavarian beer hall look. The team polished up the restaurant’s aesthetic, adding gray-and-cream leather-upholstered chairs and silver zinc tabletops.
The meat is sourced from the same Midwest and Great Plains meat suppliers as the Brooklyn spot, with the same broiler-forward cooking technique, and even the same bacteria to help bring the desired funk to the meat.
“We seeded or inoculated the dry aging room at Caesars with beef that was aged in Brooklyn,” says Turtel. He adds that the step was “critical” since different bacteria cultures yield different flavor profiles. For Peter Luger’s Las Vegas steaks to taste like those served in Brooklyn, the team needed the same microorganisms. So they stocked the room with 500 pounds of aged-in-Brooklyn beef before getting meat delivered from their Midwest suppliers.
However, in Las Vegas, the team encountered a unique obstacle: Most such aging rooms work by removing moisture from a space, which encourages the beef to shrink and concentrates its natural flavors. Bacteria and mold help break down the meat’s enzymes, which produce natural glutamate — the intense, savory and funky flavor characteristic of good dry aged beef.
But because Las Vegas is in the middle of the Mojave Desert, Caesars’ aging room needs to occasionally be humidified by adding moisture. Turtel explains that the temperature, humidity and airflow must be carefully monitored so that the microorganisms have the right environment in which to thrive. “This is not a problem we have in Brooklyn,” he notes.
Though Peter Luger doesn’t disclose the exact number of days beef is aged, Turtel says it’s around a month. The six team members who work in the dry aging room in Vegas — including butchers and a chef — “watch” and “feel” the beef as it matures to signal when it’s ready for a plate.
Over the past decade, the trend in Las Vegas casinos of favoring singular dining concepts over celebrity chefs has ramped up. The upcoming Fontainebleau Las Vegas has announced projects from the popular Los Angeles restaurateur Evan Funke (Mother Wolf), and the acclaimed Mexico City chef Gabriela Cámara, of Contramar.
Peter Luger falls a little outside that zone. No one would call it an indy concept — it’s much more in the category of the jam-packed Carbone at the Aria Resort & Casino, with its worldwide name recognition. But it’s a family-run restaurant that’s not backed by a celebrity chef.
And the Forman family has made a big concession for Vegas: For the first time at a Peter Luger US location — ironically, in a city awash with casino cash — those who throw down a credit card won’t be turned away.
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