Get veal

Sterling’s Seafood Steakhouse is in the Silver Legacy.

Sterling’s Seafood Steakhouse is in the Silver Legacy.

Photo By amy beck

New food writer Dave Preston takes a different approach than the reviews we’re used to here at the RN&R. Rather than dining incognito, Preston interviews chefs, samples signature dishes, and recommends wine pairings.

You don’t find veal chops on too many menus these days. But a good quality chop, bone-in of course, is a hallmark at Sterling’s Seafood Steakhouse in the Silver Legacy. Executive chef Neil Campbell, trained in Essex in Britain, offers a Provimi veal chop—a method of raising cattle perfected in Holland and brought to the U.S. in 1962, in which the animal is fed on meadow grass and milk only. It produces an extremely tender and succulent 10-ounce cut. It’s grilled to taste—medium rare to medium for optimum flavor—and then is topped with an exquisite Shiitake mushroom and sun-dried tomato cream sauce.

The complex layers of flavor in the sauce starts with a demi-glace, veal stock slowly cooked until it thickens. Then, some butter, heavy cream, a little white wine, a dash of cognac, shallots and a little garlic combine with the mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes and voila! A couple of tablespoons of this sauce over the chop, and you have texture and layers of flavor that make you grin with palate ecstasy the minute you inhale the aroma.

On the first bite, you get a rich, creamy feel in your mouth and with the acid from the sun-dried tomatoes noticeable, you then experience a sweet and slightly salty complement to this chop, which is so tender, you could almost cut it with a butter knife. A half-dozen layers of flavor continue exploding on your tongue, the joy behind this complex sauce. Another pleasant surprise from chef, the vegetables: seasonal snap peas and spaghetti squash with a drop of honey. With soup or salad and a starch, this tantalizing repast is $34.

Waiters at Sterling’s are at the top of their game, and the ambiance is classic. Casual to fancy is the dress, and reservations are always recommended.

Wine is truly my passion, and it’s a must when I dine. I prefer to enjoy it by the glass—at Sterling’s, they start at $6—that way I can try different varietals to see how they pair. The wine list here is a Wine Spectator award-winning list, thanks to the cellar management by restaurant director Philip DeManczuk.

Pairing a wine with a dish is not as difficult as some might think. The main concepts are texture—how it feels in your mouth—and flavor, in both the food and wine. The right combination makes the experience more memorable. The best wine to drink is the wine you think tastes good. My recommendation with the chop is the Ferrari-Carano PreVail West Face 2007 blend from the Alexander Valley in Sonoma. It’s 64 percent Cabernet and 36 percent Syrah. Aromas of blackberry syrup, baking spices and toasted oak surround flavors of warm berry pie and even a hint of chocolate. Tasty roasted, caramel oak flavors come through with a smack of pepper and balanced, silky tannins as the wine passes over your tongue. But a Pinot Noir, Malbec and even a dry Chardonnay can work, depending on your palate. If you prefer a different combination of flavors, ask DeManczuk, and he’ll gladly guide you to a good choice, and in a most professional and understandable way.