Earlier today, I posted a great lunch recommendation at Border Grill, but for dinner I wanted to give you a slightly more upscale location to try out. Tender, which is located at Luxor, is a great option if you’re looking for somewhere sophisticated but can’t afford a five-star $400 tasting menu. They have tons of dinner options in a wide range of prices.
Tender’s chef was nice enough to send out a variety of appetizer samples for me to try, including shrimp two ways (hot and cold), heirloom tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella. I say this without hesitation: go for the cheese. It was creamy with a mild flavor and I wanted to swim in a pool of it. I’m pretty sure I would have eaten it all had I not had dinner partners who wanted to share.
Oh, something that you wouldn’t normally think about doing – try the bread. I usually try to avoid filling up on bread when I know I’m going to have a great meal, but Rachel, who helped organize the dinner, made me have a slice. I’m picky about bread, simply because my grandmother is the best bread baker in the world (it’s a fact.), but this was pretty darn good. It’s homemade and soft, while still being slightly chewy and having a crunchy crust. Pretty much everything you want bread to be.
Instead of doing a tasting menu like I did at Border Grill for lunch, we ordered dinner. On our waiter’s recommendation, I tried the seafood ensemble, which included Hawaiian blue prawns, Maine sea scallops, and Australian sea bass. We also chosen potato gratin and creamed corn side dishes to share at our table. I definitely recommend going that route – choosing a number of sides for everyone to try instead of each ordering your own. Our waiter recommended these two specific sides, and he wasn’t wrong, especially about the creamed corn.
I expected to love the sea scallops the most, as they’re one of my favorite foods. I wasn’t disappointed. They were perfectly seared and tasted buttery and smooth without being mushy. I have to say, though, the real star for me was the sea bass. The crispy skin was a delicious, and I almost wanted to order more.
Of course, we had to order dessert after seeing their menu. Our waiter recommended the Grandma’s chocolate cake, which was more fudgey chocolate ganache than cake and definitely not what anyone’s grandma makes at home! Our table also got the cookie platter, which was way too big for three people, let alone one person, and included everything from their version of a fig newton to homemade marshmallow.
My pick? Campfire peanut butter s’mores. Yes, you heard me correctly. It was a chocolate brownie on top of a graham cracker, topped with their marshmallows and drizzled with hot fudge. I’m unashamed to say that I ate almost the entire thing, even after being stuffed from dinner. Let’s be honest; I was really still stuffed from lunch before I even got there.
Tender has a very upscale lodge feel, especially with their unique chandelier and spun driftwood sculptures. Like I’m finding with most of the hotel restaurants, appearances can be deceiving. They have more than the small lounge and dining rooms you see from the door! If you want to host a larger party, they have dining rooms you can reserve, and they also have a great wine room, which I definitely recommend if you just want to have a few drinks with friends at the end of the night.
Overall, Tender is kind of like its name – a cozy place to eat. Try to get a booth if you eat here – they’re non-traditional wrap-around booths that make it easy to talk with your fellow diners.
While I already gushed about Rachel at Border Grill, our serving staff at Tender went above and beyond. John gave us fabulous wine recommendations, including a chardonnay that went perfectly with my dinner. Our waiter was Manuel, and not only was he attentive and professional, but he was also extremely personable. He grew up in Las Vegas, so gave us a ton of recommendation of things to see and do while in town. When we left, I kind of felt like I had made a friend, and that’s not the norm when it comes to your restaurant wait staff.
Both John and Manuel were also extremely knowledgeable about the food at Tender. You’ll notice that I mentioned we went with their recommendations often throughout the evening, and you could tell that they weren’t just pushing the specials or more expensive dishes – they were telling us what they love to eat and what they thought we would most love to eat as well.
Overall, Tender is not going to be for everyone. The food is fabulous, but the prices are a bit high for someone on an extreme budget. Remember, though – you get what you pay for. The prices are definitely worth the quality of the meal you’ll have at Tender. If you’re on a budget, consider stopping in just for wine or dessert!
- Tender is open daily for dinner. Recommendations are recommended, though probably only necessarily on weekends.
- Sunday – Thursday from 5-10, they have a $39 fixe menu available. Otherwise, you can expect for spend at least $50 for dinner there, assuming you get a drink, entree, and side. Like I said, if you’re on a tight budget, just stop in for dessert.
- Dress is business casual.
You can view more information about the restaurant, along with their menus, on Luxor’s Tender page.
Big thanks to Ashli and Rachel for coordinating this meal!