$1,000 Steak and $95 Potato — Inside the Fontainebleau’s Over-The-Top Trio of Miami Transplants
Nearly 16 years since breaking ground, the Fontainebleau opened on the Las Vegas Strip with a whopping 36 restaurants and bars on Wednesday, December 13. Among its nightlife lineup, the sister property to the Fontainebleau Miami Beach debuted a trio of Miami hotspots from the Groot Hospitality restaurant and nightlife group that each boast over-the-top, high-octane, and often eye-wateringly expensive late-night experiences.
With moody floral wallpaper, rich velvet banquettes, a crystal chandelier, and a bar with a top shelf full of nothing but four-figure bottles of Louis XIII, Papi Steak brings equal parts steak and spectacle to Las Vegas. Not quite a steakhouse, at least by Vegas standards, Papi Steak caters to the sequin-clad nocturnal set with a soundtrack spun by a DJ and several menu items served with caviar; co-founder David “Papi” Einhorn says Cher and Sylvester Stallone posted up at the bar on opening night. The standout element at Papi Steak is its “Beef Case.” A friend gifted Einhorn a sparkly diamond-encrusted briefcase with a Papi Steak logo, which he then had to find a specific use for in the restaurant. It wasn’t until one of his meat vendors approached him with a jaw-droppingly pricey Australian wagyu that Einhorn figured out a use for the briefcase.
“It was the best steak I ever had,” says Einhorn. “But I was like ‘How the fuck am I going to sell it?’”
Einhorn says that he remembered the scene from Pulp Fiction where Marcellus Wallace opens a briefcase that glows with gold light. “They never show what’s in the case [in the movie]. So I was like, ‘Oh, [what if] it’s a Papi steak all along,’” says Einhorn. When someone in the restaurant orders the steak, all the lights go down, the servers abandon their posts, and a parade marches from the kitchen to the table — helmed by the Beef Case. The wagyu is branded tableside and then taken back into the kitchen to cook. “If I do a little show, people can swallow the price,” says Einhorn. “I have to sell it for $1,000 or else I’m losing money.” Now, he often sells 20 of them a night.
There’s more spectacle to be found here. A cocktail waitress in a flapper dress pushes a roving cocktail cart through the restaurant, pouring $135 Old Fashioneds. A baked potato covered in an ounce of caviar fetches a $95 price tag. A plate of ultra-tender and slightly sweet wagyu pastrami (also $95) is revealed tableside from beneath a smoke-filled dome.
Across the casino, Groot Hospitality’s Komodo on the fringes of the Promenade food hall is a sprawling, red-drenched clubstaraunt. The entrance is marked by a grand circle bar with red floral motifs. Banquettes flank the bar while bamboo woven into double helixes leads into into the back of the restaurant. David Grutman, the founder of Groot Hospitality, recommends the lobster dynamite, scooped onto squares of crispy rice, and the Thai beef jerky, supple bites of spiced beef, served warm.
Sushi is the restaurant’s center attraction. Truffle honey salmon sashimi ($28) is sprinkled with black truffle and scallion. Hamachi serrano ($32) sashimi is delicately seasoned with a citrus dressing, crispy garlic, and cilantro. Don’t count on hearing a thing your server says — the music is too loud for that. Assuming money is no object, opt for the omakase platter for $150, or $250 for the premium option. Rolls, nigiri, and slices of sashimi are elaborately presented with a fog of dry ice. And the Pikachu cocktail comes in a joyous mug shaped like the face of the yellow Pokemon character.
Upstairs, Groot’s LIV Club is a 50,000-square-foot Miami export. There have been rumblings about LIV expanding to Las Vegas since 2014, when it ranked as one of the top-grossing clubs in the country. It’s got all the staples of a Vegas megaclub — VIP tables, bottle service, and private skyboxes. Its modern design features a kinetic light fixture affixed to the sky-high ceiling, an elevated DJ stage, and a 35,000-square-foot day club, called LIV Beach. “I feel like Miami became the new Vegas over the last few years because, during COVID, Miami was the only place open,” says Einhorn.
He says that over 2020 and 2021 Miami doubled down as a party destination while competing party cities — like Las Vegas — maintained restrictions for public safety. In the intervening years, South Beach’s nightlife reputation only expanded, with late-night venues — like other recent Miami transplants Villa Azur and LPM — adopting DJs, fog machines, and extended hours. “So adding Papi Steak, Fontainebleau, Komodo, LIV, it’s like a little Miami in Vegas.”