Small plates: Charcoal Room and a recipe for ricotta and berries



The Charcoal Room, which opened in June, is the second steakhouse by that name in the Station Casinos family, the first being at Santa Fe Station. Bryan Dillon, the company’s corporate director of culinary operations, said the move to replace the venerable Broiler Room was part of the overall refurbishing of the hotel-casino that opened in the ’70s and got its current name in 1984. Perhaps alone among the company’s properties, “Palace Station has a Strip mentality for a lot of their guests,” Dillon said, because of its location. Dillon said its lower-priced hotel rooms have been drawing a younger clientele. In keeping with the changing demographic, he said, the hotel has refreshed its The Oyster Bar and sports bar and plans a Pizza Rock from pizza-making champion Tony Gemignani, who has a Pizza Rock downtown. “It has newer, fresher ideas, like ahi tuna and the Seafood Jackpot,” Dillon said of the Charcoal Room. “If you put that in the old Broiler Room, they wouldn’t sell.” Here’s a sample of the menu:

Starters, soups and salads: Seared Hawaiian ahi tuna, $10; oysters on the half shell, $11; pan-seared crabcakes, $13; crab dip, $12; heirloom tomato and mozzarella, $10; onion soup gratinee, $8; kale salad, $8; kitchen sink Caesar, $15.

Seafood Jackpot: $60 for one to three people, $99 for four to six people.

Entrees: Bone-in pan-seared rib-eye, $40; filet mignon, $34; petite filet mignon, $28; king cut prime rib, $30; 24 ounces of Alaskan red king crab legs, $52; sea bass, $32; roasted half-chicken, $19; Colorado lamb chops, $32; Charcoal Room burger, $19.

Sides: Creamed corn au gratin, baked yam with cinnamon butter, sauteed mushrooms and creamed, sauteed or steamed spinach, $6 each; mac and cheese with lobster, $14.

Hours are from 5 to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 5 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Call 702-221-6678 or visit



1¼ cups fresh ricotta

A little confectioners’ sugar (optional)

3 cups raspberries, blueberries, boysenberries or red currants

Lovely scented honey (orange blossom or thyme are good)

Line a strainer with cheesecloth. Set it over a bowl and add the ricotta to it. Pull the cloth around it and set a plate on top. Put into the refrigerator and let stand for a couple of hours.

Pull the cloth off and taste the ricotta. If you feel it needs to be sweeter, mash a little confectioners’ sugar into it. Divide the ricotta among serving plates, or put it onto one large plate.

Sprinkle some berries alongside each serving and drizzle with the honey.

Variations: You can serve ricotta this way with other fruits. Good ripe figs are delicious (in which case, use a good lavender honey — it’s perfect with figs) and white currants look wonderful (their almost pearlized skin is gorgeous against the creamy ricotta). Poached peaches or apricots are wonderful, too. If you’re using golden stone fruits, such as nectarines, sprinkle them with pistachios before serving. Another idea is to slightly sweeten the ricotta with confectioners’ sugar and serve it in a mound with fresh cherries sprinkled all around it.

Serves 4 to 6.

Recipe from “A Change of Appetite: Where Healthy Meets Delicious” by Diana Henry (Mitchell Beazley; $34.99)

— Heidi Knapp Rinella


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