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A 1st look inside Emmitt Smith’s steakhouse on the Strip — PHOTOS

Updated February 27, 2024 - 10:25 am

This is happening.

Emmitt’s Vegas, the long-awaited (as in almost 2½ years) restaurant from NFL legend Emmitt Smith, is opening. Emmitt’s gave the Las Vegas Review-Journal the first look at the restaurant just hours before it debuted Monday in the former Sugar Factory space at Fashion Show mall on the Strip.

The project’s cost to date is at least $18 million, said Jeff Cruden with Strada Development Group, the project manager.

Big, big beef

At Emmitt’s (emmittsvegas.com), consulting chef Steve Mannino and executive chef Antwan Ellis are sending out what Mannino said was an approachable steakhouse menu aimed at tourists and residents.

“We want people who come in and want to see Emmitt’s restaurant and also go for the locals. We don’t just want to be a birthday dinner place.”

A Brobdingnagian 44-ounce tomahawk steak, from highly regarded Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors, takes pride of place on the menu. The name Emmitt’s is burned by laser into the bone, then torched to bring the letters into relief.

The restaurant is also sourcing beef from antibiotic- and hormone-free 44 Farms of Texas; from famed Allen Brothers of Chicago, suppliers of USDA Prime beef; and from the snows of Hokkaido, Japan, where the cold produces richly intricate marbling.

Elsewhere on the menu, you’ll find a vegan chili-roasted cauliflower served with corn tortillas, queso fresco and tomatillo salsa to make tacos. A Caesar salad calls on roasted anchovies and garlic for added depth.

A tangle of pappardelle Bolognese fills a big bowl. Pucks of burrata rest on a raft of toasted bread. And then there is the butter cake, a favorite of Smith’s, rendered with vanilla bean gelato and salted bourbon caramel.

The cocktail program includes an Emmitt’s World 164 (Smith leads NFL history in rushing touchdowns, with 164), a Samba Spritz (Smith won Season 3 of “Dancing With the Stars” performing the samba), and an espresso martini made according to four different recipes.

Upstairs at Emmitt’s

Emmitt’s seats about 230 across the main dining room, chef’s table, private dining room, bar and terrace. Gold, muted blues and rich wood compose the space. The look resists easy summary, but it owes something to art deco, to steampunk and to a modern take on classic design elements.

There are walnut floors, a fixture with glass shades made from decanters, bar tops fashioned from blue-seamed marble, textured walls, retro-futuristic globe lights and burnished metal panels that resemble abstracted egg-and-dart molding.

In the private dining room, textured walls feature an Egyptian lotus flower motif. “Dancing With the Stars” and NFL Hall of Fame memorabilia will be installed soon.

Emmitt’s occupies the ground floor of the 30,000-square-foot space. The circular portion upstairs will house a separate Emmitt concept, perhaps something sports-themed, to launch this year, said Kelley Jones of Leverage Hospitality Group, which is operating Emmitt’s.

In the meantime, there’s a Samba Spritz, that prehistoric tomahawk and a slice of butter cake.

Contact Johnathan L. Wright at jwright@reviewjournal.com. Follow @JLWTaste on Instagram and @ItsJLW on X.

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