ADVENTURER | MATT BROWN
Before he served three terms as the “Happiest Mayor in the Universe”—hence the slogan of his downtown Las Vegas restaurant—Oscar Goodman was a defense attorney for some of the city’s most notorious mobsters.
Goodman told me about this period of his life during an interview that occurred before his steakhouse’s December 2011 opening. One anecdote he shared was about the “booze and broads” case, coined by a judge who presided over a case concerning a few Caesars Palace senior executives who had been indicted for illegal bookmaking. Supposedly, the men were a bit overzealous about sharing their love for ladies and liquor during a series of FBI wiretaps.
It was with that judge’s words in mind, Goodman says, that he named Beef • Booze • Broads, located inside the iconic dome of the Plaza Hotel and Casino. Goodman likes to think of the stylish joint as a modern speakeasy, and it emphatically delivers on the three “B”s mentioned in the title.
First, the beef. When I visited the restaurant in July, I ordered Sally’s New York Strip, the restaurant’s prime, aged steak cooked to perfection over a 600-degree grill. The over-the-top Oscar sauce—a delicious blend of lump crab, asparagus, and Béarnaise sauce—complemented the tender 14-ounce cut of meat exquisitely.
My wife chose the Cedar Plank Blackened Salmon. The woody aroma of the plank was to die for, not to mention the flaky, crusted salmon with pineapple and tomato served atop it. As good as our entrees were, we both agreed the Johnny Quinn’s Crab Cakes appetizer was the culinary highlight. The cakes feature very little breading and a heaping helping of fresh lump crabmeat topped with stone ground mustard and pepper remoulade.
The booze? You can have your fill at Oscar’s, whether it’s a martini (Goodman’s signature drink) at the adjacent bar and lounge or a glass of wine (the sommelier’s suggestions will not disappoint) with dinner.
On this particular evening I was lucky enough to enjoy the company of my lovely wife, but Oscar’s will not allow less fortunate customers to dine alone. Fulfilling the “broads” aspect of the eatery, women resembling the iconic showgirls who accompanied Goodman to events during his mayorship roam the restaurant and are available to discuss subjects such as politics, sports, wine, and Las Vegas history, or to suggest things to do downtown or on the Strip.
After basking in a colorful, lively view of the Fremont Street Experience for the duration of our meal, my wife and I—stuffed and indeed happy—decided there was one thing left to do: discover downtown Las Vegas.