The Angry Butcher Steakhouse
Las Vegas eatery fights to make diners completely happy
STORY BY KYLE YOUNG
PHOTOS BY BOYD GAMING
Just about every major casino in the U.S. has a steakhouse, so what sets The Angry Butcher Steakhouse inside Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall in Las Vegas apart from the crowd? For starters, it prides itself on its ‘Old Vegas’ charm, something that isn’t easy to find today.
“Sam’s Town opened in 1979, and led to the creation of what’s known today as the ‘Boulder Strip,’” says John Sou, vice president and general manager of Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall. “It has always held onto the ‘Old Vegas’ feel in the way that guests are treated like family and the team members strive to provide the best service.”
In other words, if you are looking for a dining experience where the server has a greased-up handlebar mustache, you can’t hear yourself think over the electronic dance music blasting overhead, and the dishes are deconstructed to molecular gastronomical monsters, The Angry Butcher Steakhouse may not be for you.
In line with the aesthetic that Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall cultivates, The Angry Butcher Steakhouse offers an atmosphere reminiscent of the past. The elegant interior
elevates the dining experience without stifling conversation between colleagues or friends. The knowledge and skill of staff members ensures attentive and professional service.
AN IDEA WORTH FIGHTING FOR
Diners of The Angry Butcher may have wondered about the poem displayed on the menu.
Further developing the intrigue behind the poem is the restaurant’s logo, which displays a fierce boxer alongside two crossed meat cleavers. One might conclude that the restaurant wished to play on the well-known fact that Nevadans are battle-born warriors who would sooner parish than compromise their craft or run from a fight.
John explains the origin of the poem and the mixture of boxing and butcher imagery: “The Angry Butcher is metaphorically fighting whole sides of beef, wrangling the weight of the sides to the table, fighting to break down the whole sides to smaller cuts, and then fighting to find the best individually cut steaks,” he says.
Though the restaurant’s concept dabbles in kitsch, the atmosphere reminds diners that Las Vegas is a place where patrons can openly enjoy a thematic setting in a thematic city.
According to Chef Charles R. Clark of The Angry Butcher and Big Mess Bar-BQ—another Sam’s Town restaurant—The Killers have dined at the steakhouse.
Dance-rock and pop music fans of the last 20 years would be hard-pressed to be unfamiliar with The Killers. Originally from Las Vegas, the multi-platinum group stormed the charts in 2004 with its debut album, “Hot Fuss.” The group’s sophomore release, “Sam’s Town,” departed from the first record’s synth-pop glam for a more Springsteen-inspired, pop-anthem Americana sound.
The album derives its name from—you guessed it—Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall. According to “Rolling Stone,” Brandon Flowers, the group’s front man, grew up gazing at the casino’s giant red and gold sign.
For the album’s 10th anniversary, The Killers paid homage to their roots with a two-night musical extravaganza at Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall. The band’s logo was applied to poker chips, a pop-up store sold exclusive Killers’ merchandise, concert goers received white carnations and stamps on the wrist displaying desert bighorn sheep—Nevada’s state animal—and the event offered fans the opportunity to experience Las Vegas through the eyes of The Killers with a bus tour showcasing spots the band frequented in their early years.
Perhaps sensing the pugilist-friendly décor, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Mike Tyson are two additional Las Vegas notables known to have dined at the restaurant.
LOCAL VENDORS SUPPLY CULINARY CHARM
The restaurant’s Las Vegas roots extend right into the kitchen.
“All of our food for The Angry Butcher are purchased from vendors and distributors in Las Vegas,” Chef Charles explains. “Our fresh baked bread is from Bon Breads, a local minority-owned artisan bread bakery. Our fresh baked cakes and pies are made by Universal Bakery, a local pastry shop producing custom baked cakes, pies, and pastries.”
Owner and Master Baker Carlos Pereira opened Bon Bread’s in Las Vegas in 1999. Carlos learned part of his craft from Michel Suas, who many aficionados credit as the domestic “father of artisanal bread.” According to Chef Charles, “Bon Breads custom designed our very popular Parker house rolls.”
Dinner rolls rarely get mentioned by food enthusiasts, but not at The Angry Butcher Steakhouse. The complimentary Parker house rolls are something special. The slightly sweet and infinitely soft rolls are served warm beneath a delicate glaze. They are served with a decadent butter topped with Hawaiian sea salt. The volcanic origin of the salt adds a subtle and welcome smokiness. One of the Parker house rolls (probably more than one) donned with butter and Hawaiian sea salt lays the foundation for an exceptional meal.
FRIED CHICKEN THAT WILL MAKE YOU FIGHT TEARS OF JOY
The butternut squash ravioli, a seasonal addition to the menu, features sumptuous house-made pasta in brown butter and sage sauce. There is something distinct about biting into perfectly made and cooked pasta; it’s as if the slight resistance felt by your teeth tells your brain you’re about to enjoy something phenomenal.
The rock shrimp, fried in ale batter, are served with Shishito peppers and Sriracha cream. Shishitos are the perfect accompaniment to fried shrimp, offering freshness and just a touch of heat. Sriracha adds garlic and heat to the cream drizzled on top of the shrimp and peppers. Creamy crunch and a dollop of heat is a sure-fire pleaser.
The star of any meal is the ferocious, indomitable, juggernaut of poultry—The Angry Butcher’s signature fried chicken. The buttermilk fried chicken breast is served atop sage and sausage gravy and drizzled in honey. The crunchy batter, rich with black pepper, kosher salt, granulated garlic, onion powder, and a pinch of red pepper clings to the remarkably juicy meat. The tang resulting from the buttermilk marinade perfectly cuts the decadent sausage and sage gravy, and the fried sage garnishing the dish creates a beautiful presentation. The buttermilk marinade provides the sour; the batter provides the salt; the chicken and sausage provide the umami; the fried sage provides the bitter; and the honey drizzle atop the dish completes the fifth critical flavor with a delightful sweetness.
Sated on every level, each sense dazzled and delighted, The Angry Butcher Steakhouse is a dining experience that is sure to leave you feeling a wide range of emotions, but definitely not angry.
GET TO FRYIN’
If a trip to Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall and The Angry Butcher Steakhouse is not in your near future, fret not for Chef Charles kindly shares his toothsome fried chicken recipe.
FRIED CHICKEN BREAST WITH SAGE & SAUSAGE GRAVY
1/2 pound butter
1/2 cup fine diced yellow onion
1 clove chopped garlic
1/2 pound ground breakfast sausage
2 cups cold half & half or whole milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp dry thyme kosher salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
1/2 ounce fresh sage chopped
In a thick-bottom pot, melt the butter and add the chopped garlic, onion, and sausage and cook until sausage is lightly browned.
Add the flour and stir into sausage, add the cold half & half or milk, thyme, sage, and salt & pepper. Stir often and bring to a light simmer for 3-4 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Adjust seasoning and consistency with whole milk if necessary. Set aside and keep warm.
4 skin on, boneless chicken breasts
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp onion powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
3-4 fresh sage leaves
Marinate chicken breast in buttermilk 1 hour. Set fresh sage leaves aside, mix remaining dry ingredients into the flour. Take the chicken out of the buttermilk and dredge into the seasoned flour.
Pour approximately 1 inch of vegetable oil into a deep-sided cast iron frying pan and heat to 330 degrees. Carefully place the floured chicken into the oil and lightly fry both sides until golden brown and to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Remove chicken when done and keep in a warm oven.
Place the sage leaves into the oil and fry about l minute or until crisp.
Spoon 3/4 cup of sausage gravy onto the bottom of a warmed plate. Arrange 2 fried chicken breasts over gravy.
Lightly drizzle the desert honey over the top and garnish each plate with 2-3 sage leaves.
The Angry Butcher Steakhouse
5111 Boulder Hwy., Las Vegas, NV 89122