Welcome to The Gatekeepers, a monthly feature in which Eater roams the city meeting the fine ladies and gentlemen that stand between you and some of your favorite tough-to-get tables.
Adam Marolies [Photo: Chelsea McManus]
Oscar’s Beef, Booze and Broads at The Plaza has become one of the toughest restaurants to get into since it opened in December. Former Mayor Oscar Goodman’s namesake resto has given new life to a Downtown landmark.
Adam Marolies oversees it all as general manager. With more than 15 years of experience in the restaurant industry, Margolies comes to Oscar’s with a long history in the steakhouse business. Most recently, Margolies served as assistant general manager at N9NE Steakhouse at the Palms and previously in Chicago at the Palm Steakhouse. Here he shares how to land a table at this spot that has seen its share of celebrities and mobsters since opening.
So, what's the busiest time right now?
I think like most restaurants, Friday and Saturday nights are our busiest nights of the week and usually between 7 to 9 p.m. However, with the opening of The Smith Center, we have begun to get an earlier crowd wanting to eat dinner before a performance.
As one of the hottest restaurants in Las Vegas, you've surely been offered gifts or cash in exchange for reservations or a table. What have people tried?
Offering cash is still the most frequently used tactic, but we don’t sell tables so regardless of how much someone offers, it doesn’t help them out.
Tell us about your favorite customers.
I love meeting Oscar Goodman’s guests?his friends and family. And I love meeting customers with Oscar. One night, he got the whole restaurant to sing to a couple celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. We also often have local politicians or business leaders, like George Maloof or Tony Hsieh, come in for dinner. Most of all, I enjoy mingling with the customers who have now become regulars.
How about celebrities?
We have had a few celebrities at Oscar’s, including some of the actors from the movie Casino, which had scenes filmed at The Plaza and in the dome, including a scene with Oscar Goodman himself. We also had some celebrities come through after the opening of the Mob Museum.
How do you deal with VIPs when there are no tables to give?
We do our very best to accommodate them. We move things around so they can be seated in the center of the dome, which is the most visible location in the restaurant. Or if they want a more quiet setting, we can have them seated in Simpatico.
Do you ever get any requests for vegetarian dishes? How do you accommodate them?
We do get requests for vegetarian dishes and easily accommodate them. The chef will create a dish with whatever fresh vegetables he has on the menu that night, like a pasta primavera for example.
What's the most popular dish right now?
By far, the most popular dish is the 22-ounce, 28-day wet aged bone-in prime rib eye. Our crab cakes and steak tartare appetizers are also very popular.
So, when you're not at Oscar's, where are you eating these days?
I am a big fan of the white pizza at Grimaldi’s Pizza. But truthfully, I tend to prefer to just relax at home and cook on my own grill.
What's the must-order dish at Oscar's?
Jasper & Hunchy's Tomato Salad — a variety of market fresh tomato slices with fresh Burrata mozzarella, which is buffalo mozzarella and ricotta mix. It is topped with organic basil and a balsamic drizzle.
Were there any reviews that led to significant bump in service, or a change to the type of clientele?
We certainly got a lot of media attention when we first opened and those news stories and articles brought a lot of people through the doors. Most recently, people locally have seen the review by Heidi Knapp Rinella in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The continued development of downtown continues to bring people to Oscar’s and the opening of The Smith Center especially has increased our dinner crowd.
At the end of the day, what's the one Gatekeeper tool you need to get the job done?
Two things actually — common sense and personality. We want to be sure everyone has a positive experience so it’s important to me that I touch every table, meet the customers and establish a welcoming atmosphere. I like to think of myself as a younger, Chicago version of our namesake, Oscar Goodman.
· All Coverage of Oscar’s [~ELV~]
· All Coverage of The Gatekeepers [~ELV~]
· The Gatekeepers Across the Eater Universe, April ’12 [~EN~]