Las Vegas steak dinner: $1,200 tomahawk feeds a party of 12
(CNN) — Love it or hate it, share-plate dining is far from over. But dwindling are the days when tapas and small plates monopolized the category and each diner was encouraged to order five to six items.
Making waves today is large-format dining. From whole fish to whole roasted duck to steak for two or more, the new way of sharing food may have reached its pinnacle with a $1,200 tomahawk available in — where else — Las Vegas.
At MB Steak inside Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, this dry-aged, seven-boned tomahawk serves 12. Unlike your average steakhouse steak order, however, sides are included, making the hefty price tag for the 16-pound ribeye at least marginally more digestible.
Along with the massive cut of beef, tables are served an assortment of six decadent side dishes including lobster mac and cheese, creamed corn with king crab and roasted poblano, maitake mushrooms with aged goat cheese and creamed spinach with a poached egg and truffle gouda.
Chef Patrick Munster says one to two “Feasts” are ordered each week — and the extra-large cuts must be pre-ordered as the restaurant requires advance notice to obtain the USDA Prime meat sourced from Nebraska. As is widely publicized the tomahawk can be enjoyed by up to 12 people, but Munster says he once served it to a table of eight, and the group finished it all.
The $1200 large-format steak dish served at MB Steak in Las Vegas serves 12.
MB Steak is owned by brothers David Morton and Michael Morton, part of Morton Group. The restaurant bills itself a “luxury steakhouse” though by many people’s definition, steakhouses are already luxurious by default. A 22-ounce bone-in ribeye at Bavette’s in Chicago, for example, will cost you $69.95; in Las Vegas, the price of the exact same steak curiously isn’t listed on the website and costs significantly more at $91.
At The Grill, an upscale chophouse in Manhattan, the 14-ounce, dry-aged porterhouse is $74 — in short, a lot more than your now relatively average $25-30 entree.
The substantial price differential, and the noteworthy price tag on the tomahawk may explain why many chophouses (Brooklyn’s celebrated Peter Luger restaurant is among these) omit prices on their online menus — though a spokesperson for MB tells CNN Travel that it’s fairly common not to include prices as they tend to fluctuate.
Chef Patrick Munster presents the meat to the table before carving tableside.
MB Steak’s menu includes a few items from the sea: fennel crusted salmon, sea scallops and shrimp risotto are available on any given night, but who goes to a steakhouse and orders fish?
If you haven’t had enough luck at the blackjack table to justify the tomahawk (or if you just can’t fathom paying that much for a food item, no matter how delicious or deep your pockets), MB also has a number of “signature steaks” from which to choose.
Order one of those and you may even have room for dessert.
A diner owner feeds those who can’t make it to her restaurant
“(He) was very thin, looked kind of sick, and he told me he was living with AIDS,” she recalled.
Scott became a regular at Henricks’ diner, and she would ask him about his health. Some days, he was too weak to feed himself. He told Henricks the only time he ate was at her diner.
“I just remembered him telling me, ‘Ms. Ruth, if I’m not here, I’m not eating,'” she said.
Then, after about a year and a half, Scott stopped showing up.
“If I would have had the foresight, I could have asked him for his address or phone number. I could have taken him food. I knew what he liked to eat.”
Henricks tried to find him, to no avail. She was heartbroken, but she realized she could help others like Scott.
That was the start of her nonprofit, Special Delivery San Diego
, bringing homecooked meals to people living with AIDS.
She banded together volunteers, many of whom were regular patrons of her diner. They cooked meals at the diner and delivered lunch and dinner to 75 people a day.
By 1996, Henricks expanded her mission to help anyone living with a chronic illness, including cancer and kidney disease. The organization purchased a space next to the diner so it could feed more people in need.
To date, the group says it has served nearly 6,000 chronically-ill people and made more than 1 million meals.
Clients are referred by social workers or doctors and receive three meals, five days a week. Many recipients are bedbound; some are living below the poverty line, Henricks said.
Alden Steffes started receiving meals from Special Delivery in 2010. He contracted HIV in 2008, and it turned into full-blown AIDS.
“I can’t cope on my own,” Steffens said. “I can’t cook. I’m just drained. I probably would be dead if it wasn’t for Special Delivery and the food.”
For Steffens, who lives alone, the food isn’t the only benefit of Special Delivery.
“It’s a joy every day when they ring the bell,” Steffes said. “It’s instant healing, even if you were sick five minutes before. They smile and they treat you like a wonderful equal.”
The organization has evolved over the years as Henricks saw other needs in her community. She opened a food pantry, which now benefits roughly 800 families a month.
While running that pantry, Henricks found that many people had diabetes. So, she started a program tailored to their dietary needs, complete with a weekly nutrition class and free diabetic-friendly groceries.
She does all of this at the age of 75.
“I’d like to sound grandiose and say, ‘I’ll stop when there’s no more hunger in the world or there’s no more hunger in San Diego.’ But I’ll just keep going. I’m so enjoying this,” she said.
CNN’s Meghan Dunn spoke with Henricks about her work. Below is an edited version of their conversation.
CNN: You’ve been doing this very emotional work for a long time. What keeps you going?
Ruth Henricks: At first, we delivered to people living with AIDS. At that time, people were actually dying very quickly. It was very traumatic for all of us to watch these people just waste away. We would hardly put them on meal service, and a month later somebody would be calling, saying, “Well, they’ve passed away.” So, after a while, people were asking me, “How can you keep doing this and not get depressed?”
It’s bringing that love, that respect, that dignity to them in their last days. At least they don’t have to worry about where the next meal’s coming from.
CNN: Your whole operation is run by volunteers. How do they make it happen?
Henricks: I have been very fortunate to attract the most loving, caring, hardworking volunteers. We share each other’s joys, sorrows. We feel good about what we’re doing. And it is a family.
We have one paid staff member that started four years ago, otherwise it’s been all-volunteer. I’ve asked a number of people “How long have you been volunteering?” They’ll say, “I’ve been here 20 years.” I have a few volunteers who are still with me from the day we started Special Delivery. And a lot of times I say, “Why do you keep coming back?” And they say, “Well, we really believe in what we’ve created here.”
CNN: What do you see for the future of the organization?
Henricks: I’ve promised everyone that the diabetic program will be the last program, but I didn’t know there was going to be anything beyond the pantry, so we’ll see what comes. If we see some type of a food insecurity need in the community, we’re going to try and fix it. I can’t promise that everyone in San Diego will be able to eat tonight. But we’re going to try our best to feed the people in our corner of the world.
Want to get involved? Check out the Special Delivery website and see how to help. To donate to Special Delivery San Diego via CrowdRise, click here