The prime directive

Eldorado Prime Rib Grill chef Javier Silverio holds a cut of the eponymous meat.

Eldorado Prime Rib Grill chef Javier Silverio holds a cut of the eponymous meat.

Photo/Allison Young

The Prime Rib Grill seats about 180. Warm wood surrounds the room with a very proper salad bar in the center, and the tables are formally set with linens and comfortable seats. It’s a casual place that serves one of the great entrees of all time, prime rib.

Executive chef Troy Cannan, whose culinary resume and relationship with the Carano family’s property, the Eldorado, is a northern Nevada legend, says, “It’s a mid range steakhouse with a simple, pleasing menu for everyone.” Room chef Javier Silverio has created a legacy of his own working at the Eldorado for more than two decades and is the master in the kitchen, paying attention to every detail.

The menu is straightforward ($19.95-$45), featuring 15 items, mostly beef, with a pork chop, chicken, shrimp, lobster and salmon. Each entrée comes with seasonal vegetables and a starch, and a trip to the soup and salad bar. There are a half-dozen appetizers ($6-$14) and five sides ($5). They serve an early special from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily ($18.99-23.99).

The famous Eldorado mushroom ravioli are available, but I tried the crab-stuffed mushrooms ($12.50). Dungeness crab, garlic, chopped red peppers, cream and a Bur Blanc sauce created a delicate flavor and slightly sweet taste with a gentle, savory-buttery finish.

Rib roast doesn’t need a marinade or any complicated preparations. The meat speaks for itself. And of course, I had prime rib. I chose the English cut ($27.95). It was thinly sliced beef cooked medium rare—perfect! Cannan told me Silverio created his own Montreal seasoning, which is basically garlic, coriander, black pepper, Cayenne pepper flakes, dill seed and salt, and maybe some thyme, rosemary and fennel, packed with salt, and slow roasted.

The prime rib offers a generous amount of marbling, which contributes to its juiciness and flavor. It was succulent and had richness from the bold spices with a hint of smoky black pepper sending an herbaceous savoriness all the way through my mouth. I put a dollop of fresh horseradish atop and everything popped and my sinuses were anew. The thin cut really brings the flavors home. Big slices are available. The Eldorado cut ($31.95) and the player’s cut ($33.95) are not for the faint-of-heart.

I had a couple of simple sides, like a baked potato with sour cream and fresh bacon, a creamed spinach with a velvet mouth-feel, and a rich and creamy flavor. It was a meal of simple elegance with flavors and textures galore. There’s a well organized wine list with more than 40 varietals ($25-$139) and many by-the-glass ($6.25-$17.50) including the Prevail West Face 2008 Alexander Valley ($17.50) from the house of Ferrari-Carano. I couldn’t resist.

This is a cabernet sauvignon-syrah blend and is a mouthful of elegance from the minute the nose inhales the first whiff of its bouquet. Aromas of cassis, blackberry, violet and cigar box are complicated by a subtle smoky quality. It has a good heft and chewy texture, with sweet dark berry flavors and a jolt of oak. Then, this nectar finishes with defined tannins, ripe fruit and impressive persistence.

Gregg’s chocolate cake ($8), a huge, gooey, decadent dark chocolate wedge, screamed a gazillion calories, but life is too short. The cake is made fresh and never refrigerated. This gives it the creamiest opulence in the mouth and made me even doubt my grandmother’s past offerings were legitimate. I will say this: Push me away from the table!