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Elements Restaurant -- Las Vegas, NV

Aladdin Hotel & Casino
3667 Las Vegas Boulevard S.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: 702.785.9004
Date of Visit: 29 June 2005


I am not a major Las Vegas fan, but I do think one needs to present himself (or herself) there at least once a year. What you do there, of course, is entirely up to you. But with the proliferation of fine dining restaurants in Sin City, food is always a good excuse for a visit.

So that is where I found myself in late June, staying at the Aladdin Hotel. Most Las Vegas hotels have many dining choices within each hotel to keep guests around at feeding time. The Aladdin has several dining options, ranging from a top-rated buffet to a sushi bar. One of their choices is Elements. For some reason, it is billed as a steak house. And since Elements was only en elevator ride away from my suite, I decided to head down there for some Dead Cow one evening.

Elements is located a couple of floors above the casino floor and just above the entertainment lounge. This is a very unfortunate location. The lounge's stage is in the open (not enclosed in a room), which means that when anyone is performing, you hear them very loudly in Elements. This alone makes for a very noisy environment. For this reason alone, I would avoid Elements. I should have heeded my own warning, but decided to dine there regardless. (Note: The Aladdin becomes a Planet Hollywood in 2006. Beginning then, major renovations will take place throughout the property. I was told by many Aladdin employees that this will include moving the restaurants to a quieter location.)

Separated by a glass wall from Elements, is Flights Wine Bar. Being the sucker for a good wine bar that I am, I decided to stop in for a libation before dinner. Behind the bar are several temperature-controlled wine dispensers, each holding either red or white wine at its respective serving temperature. I think this is a nice touch for a wine bar, but there were two problems here: (1) You could not read the wine labels behind the frosted glass of the containers and, (2) an extremely limited selection of wines served by the glass. This, I would think, rather defeats the purpose of a "wine bar". They have 19 wines available by the glass, ranging in price from $7.50 to $19.00. Unfortunately, I did not see anything that was offered by the glass that was noteworthy.

Call me a traditionalist, but I think a "steakhouse" should have more than two steaks on the menu. All of the promotions I saw for Elements included the word "steakhouse" in the description. Their steak selection on their menu included a Pepper-crusted bone-in New York and a filet. Well, I figured, if you serve exceptional Dead Cow, it is quality more than quantity that's important. So I ordered the New York ($36.00), but asked to have it prepared without the pepper crusting. (I like to taste the Dead Cow and not the seasoning.) A baked potato side ($8.00) was also ordered, as well as an appetizer of pan-seared foie gras in a balsamic vinegar reduction ($16.00).

Let's start with the foie gras. I love foie gras. There is just something magical about the spiritual taste of seared foie gras as it descends from your mouth to your stomach...where it promptly returns to its natural state of pure fat! Let us Honor and Praise the duck (and when you can find him, goose) who gleefully sign their organ donor cards in order to please the palates of mankind (and womankind, et. al.). But wait! There is something missing here. It is the flavor of the foie gras! There isn't any. (Which, I must add, was exasperated by the miniscule amount of foie gras on the plate in the first place.) The balsamic reduction completely overpower the taste of the foie gras. Well, that was certainly a waste of $16.00!

We now move from the overpowered taste of a balsamic vinegar reduction to the almost tasteless New York steak. It was prepared perfectly and was a generous amount, too. But there was just no flavor to the Dead Cow at all. Add some salt and pepper, you say? Well, there was no salt or pepper on the table. I later found out from the waiter that it was the chef's requirement that no salt or pepper be placed on the table. So far, that's two strikes for this chef. Get ready for strike three -- the baked potato. Now we have all (probably) experienced the huge baked spuds offered by Morton's and Ruth's Chris. And offered for a decent price, too. Well, strike three for Elements was their $8.00 baked potato that was the size of a potato usually found in the 10-pound bags at the grocery store. It was the smallest baked potato that I have ever seen...at ANY price.

At this point, I am ready to go lose some more money in the casino. The waiter appears and, since I have eaten only half of what was on my plate, asks me if my meal was satisfactory. So I told him about the lack of flavor. He said, "Ya, the NY does not have a lot of flavor. You should have ordered the filet or a veal rib eye. [Author's Note: No veal rib eye on the menu. And why would I order a veal rib eye to begin with??] I can bring you something else if you want." No thanks, I said. It was time to depart Elements.

There really is more to write about Elements, but I am tired, still hungry, quite frankly, don't see the point in dragging this thing out any longer!

Recommendation: Dine elsewhere. There are lots of good places to have Dead Cow in Las Vegas. Or just pick a well-stocked buffet and go for price and quantity over top quality. I am sure that would be better than Elements.


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