FIRST IMPRESSIONS: The newest branch of the iconic Chicago restaurant chain is tucked away in a corner of The Venetian’s Golden Fish Casino gaming hall. We came from the main lobby, passing under the Vatican-like frescoes (albeit with decided unreligious themes), and turned right at the first clutch of gambling tables, heading all the way to the end of the room. And there it was. Another alternative was to enter through the outdoor Grand Canal entrance, we were later told.
Since our host had not yet arrived, the receptionist invited us to Bar 12-21, which featured velvet high chairs and booth seating. I had an iced tea and my colleague, a Margarita. We shared a basket of French fries embedded with blue cheese that was difficult to stop munching on. Luckily, our friend came along in time to save our appetites from all those yummy carbs.
We took our seats in the main dining hall, which, following the Morton’s trademark, was characterised by subdued lighting coming from strategically placed lamps. The open kitchen allows guests to see their chefs at work grilling the meats on very state-of-the-art and high-powered hardware that treats both sides simultaneously. The place started to fill up past 8pm.
THE FOOD: A well-known Morton’s ritual – having the server recite the entire menu – never fails to entertain. For starters, I picked the Steamed Fresh Jumbo Asparagus with Sauce Hollandaise and for mains, the Ribeye Steak. My friend followed the maitre d’s suggestion of the Cajun Ribeye Steak, which she found to be extremely peppery. I did too, but with a spoonful of rice turned out to be quite appetising. We made sure to make room for Morton’s famous chocolate cake whose warm liquid filling explodes in one’s mouth at the first bite.
DRINKS: There is an extensive list of wines and beer and non-alcoholic drinks. Regulars are invited to store their bottles in special lockers and given special rates to do so.
SERVICE: Attentive. Chinaware was taken away and drinks refilled with great subtlety.
PRICE: A meal for two without drinks costs from US$100.
VERDICT: The Morton’s service culture operates here with very little slip ups. That chocolate cake still lives in our tastebuds.
CONTACT: tel 853 8117 5000, www.mortons.com
Margie T Logarta