Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab is a Certified Strip Stand-Out

One hallmark of a remarkable dining experience in Las Vegas is the memory of it lingers. Given we’re still thinking about Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab long after our visit, it more than qualifies.

And we aren’t even a seafood person.

Joe's Seafood Las Vegas

If you’re not salivating by the time you finish this story, we have failed miserably.

Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab has been a fixture at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace since 2004.

It’s rumored the restaurant is one of the most profitable in all of Las Vegas, and it’s easy to see why. Hint: It’s the awesome.

Joe's Las Vegas

Start in the bar. In Las Vegas, it’s the law.

From Joe’s elevated but unpretentious atmosphere to its stellar cocktails and mind-blowing entrees, this restaurant is a must-try.

Once you try it, expect to discover your latest dining addiction in Las Vegas. As if you didn’t have enough places to love, already.

Let’s kick things off with an amazing cocktail, one our waiter (more about him in a minute) said is about the only signature drink offered.

Most of the cocktail menu consists of classics, but the South Beach Peach cocktail is an original and joins our roster of world-class panty-droppers.

Joe's Las Vegas

“Pantry-droppers” should be shared by consenting adults, so no need to get indignant.

There’s a wide selection of appetizers as you might expect, with a decidedly seafood bent, including fried calamari ($15.95), oysters Rockefeller ($18.95), charred octopus ($17.95) and jumbo shrimp cocktail ($18.95).

We really need to just skip listing the prices, because it’s Vegas, and money is no object! Translation: Our friend paid. Moving on.

Joe's Seafood Las Vegas

Kusshi (Japanese for “precious”) oysters were priced at “market,” so good luck with that.

The menu at Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab holds one delight after another, so let’s just dive into the goodness.

Joe’s is known for its crab, and the Alaskan king crab got rave reviews from the seafood-lovers in our party.

Joe's Seafood Alaskan king crab

It’s all fun and games until somebody puts an eye out.

Joe’s has a guy who cracks, cuts and trims the crab legs for you, so don’t worry about breaking a nail.

Crab shucker

There’s probably a name for this gig. Crab sheller? Shucker? Enabler? Oh, just eat.

Let’s just say every entree and every side was spectacular in quality, quantity and presentation.

The Filet Oscar ($49.95) made one of our dining companions swoon. Literally.

Joe's Seafood Las Vegas

This food has not been styled. This is just how it looks. In real life.

There were three highlights of our evening at Joe’s. You’ve seen the first, it was the South Beach Peach. Plural.

Second, we had one of the best steaks we’ve ever had in Las Vegas, and we’ve been to just about every steakhouse in town. The bone-in filet mignon ($58.95) is in the “Bone-In Signature Prime Steaks” portion of the menu, and has probably ruined us for any other filet mignon, ever.

Joe's bone-in filet

Behold, 16 succulent ounces of paid vacation for your taste receptors.

A third highlight of our evening was meeting John Lucas. We’d call John a server, but that’s like calling Michelangelo a “proficient doodler.”

Lucas’ whip-smart banter and exhaustive knowledge of the menu helped make a great meal into an utterly unforgettable evening on the town.

John Lucas Joe's Seafood

John needs his own TV series. Please get on that, Hollywood producers.

Lucas deftly orchestrated delivery and removal of plates and glasses, timing courses masterfully and shepherding others on the team at Joe’s in a way that was a wonder to watch.

Our only observation would be the masterful orchestration of the waitstaff wouldn’t be necessary if the booths weren’t so small. Then again, the food’s so good, elbow room be damned.

Joe's Las Vegas

Casual dress, lively vibe, no loud music. We would like to kiss you deeply on the mouth, Joe’s.

As so often happens during a restaurant outing in Las Vegas, self-restraint flies out the window at Joe’s, but you’ll want to show a little because at this restaurant, desserts aren’t just understudies, they’re superstars in their own right.

And we aren’t even a pie person.

First up, some kind of pie with berries. They appear blue.

Joe's Seafood blueberry pie

We tried taking a bite and nearly lost our hand. People are very passionate about pie.

Then we had what can only be described as an orgasm on a plate. Check out Joe’s banana cream pie ($9.95).

Joe's Seafood banana cream pie

We’re fairly sure the banana cream pie at Joe’s could bring about world peace.

Just wow. We’ve always sort of hated the texture of pie, but that dislike ended the moment we took a bite of the banana cream pie. We may go back just to have it again.

Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab more than exceeded all our expectations, and as we said, our meal has crossed our mind innumerable times since our visit.

The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace is about the only shopping mall worthy of Joe’s.

Forum Shops Las Vegas

Hey, we have to throw a little love to Pinterest every once in awhile. More than 160,000 people visit our boards each month. It’s not bragging if it’s true.

Learn more about Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab, and check out the full menu, on the restaurant’s official site.

If you give Joe’s a try, let us know if you enjoyed it as much as we did, although we’re fairly sure that’s not possible.

Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab

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Vital Vegas Podcast, Ep. 83: Gondolas, Joe’s Seafood, Exclusive News and Glorious Drama

It’s another action-packed episode of the Vital Vegas Podcast, and we can’t apologize enough.

In this episode, we take in one of the quintessential Las Vegas experiences, the gondolas at Venetian.

Venetian Las Vegas gondola

Behold, one of the best aphrodisiacs in Las Vegas.

We’ve got all the latest on some glorious drama, the demise and investigation of “Divas Las Vegas” at Linq. It’s juicy.

There’s also a slew of news you won’t find anywhere else, including a bungee jump coming to Stratosphere, the general counsel of Wynn Resorts getting the boot, a casino expansion at Golden Gate, plus lots of news and rumors about restaurants opening, closing and filling our gullet with untold delights.

Don’t miss our review of Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab at Forum Shops.

Joe's Seafood Las Vegas

It’s Joe’s. It’s time to eat some art.

The show is bursting with perfunctory stories about all the latest things going on in Sin City, of course, from the death of “The Voice, Neon Dreams” to the delay of “A Mob Story” at Plaza and “Menopause the Musical” celebrating its 5,000th hot flash at Harrah’s.

Get your fill of all the WTF you’ve come to expect from the 11th best Las Vegas podcast! Your results may vary.

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You Could Soon Bungee Jump Off Stratosphere

We hate to spoil the surprise, but we’re hearing Stratosphere will soon add bungee jumping to its list of adrenaline-pumping thrill attractions.

Guests of the Strat can already do one of the most harrowing experiences in Las Vegas, the SkyJump.

SkyJump involves an open-air leap from 829 feet above The Strip.

Stratosphere Skyjump

Yeah, no. We are not a heights person.

Still, legions of Vegas visitors make their way to the Stratosphere’s collection of thrill rides.

Aside from SkyJump, there’s X-Scream (the gliding over the edge one), Insanity (the spinning over the edge one) and Big Shot (the straight up and down one).

These attractions are wildly successful and profitable, and Stratosphere wisely adds new rides to the mix to keep things fresh for repeat customers.

Next up, according to rumors, Stratosphere will offer a bungee jump!

To get an idea of what the experience could be like, if the rumor pans out, one need look no further than Macau Tower.

People be kray.

We hear the ticket price for the Strat’s bungee attraction could be as much as $300. The Macau Tower bungee jump costs more than $400 U.S.

From our four minutes of research on the topic, it seems Macau Tower holds the record for being the highest commercial bungee jump at 764 feet. That record-holding bungee jump opened in 2006.

Another is planned for the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge. When that opens in August 2018, it will be the highest at 853 feet.

Stratosphere

The Strat is just happy to see you.

Should Stratosphere’s attraction jump from 829 feet, it’ll be the highest in the world. Because Vegas, baby.

Bungee (sometimes spelled “bungy”) jumping from a tower comes with some technical and safety challenges. “Guide cables” are used to keep the jumper from bouncing into the hotel tower, for example.

The SkyJump at Stratosphere uses a “fan descender” to slow the rate of descent, and we trust a similar device will be used with the bungee attraction. Read more.

It’s unknown if the bungee jump will replace or augment SkyJump, but Macau Tower boasts both a SkyJump and bungee jump.

A new attraction wouldn’t be the first time anyone’s bungee jumped off the Stratosphere. During taping of the “Real World/Road Rules Challenge 2000” reality series, contestants bungee jumped off the Strat from a height of 660 feet. On the show, the bungee jump challenge was dubbed “Stratos-Fear,” which wouldn’t be a bad name for the attraction.

Everything’s bigger and bouncier in Las Vegas, so don’t be surprised if Stratosphere announces a new bungee jump attraction soon.

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“Divas Las Vegas” Closes Abruptly at Linq Hotel, Requisite Drama Ensues

One of the longest-running shows on the Las Vegas Strip, “Divas Las Vegas,” has closed suddenly after eight years at the Linq hotel (formerly Imperial Palace and the Quad, for a minute).

“Divas Las Vegas” featured a cast of celebrity look-alike female impersonators lip-syncing and dancing to popular songs.

The drag revue starred Joan Rivers impersonator and Las Vegas institution, Frank Marino.

Frank Marino

Marino’s eight year stint at Linq followed a 24-year run at Riviera in “An Evening at La Cage.”

Although the cast didn’t realize it at the time, the show’s last performance at Linq was June 26, 2018.

The demise of “Divas” was so abrupt, it came as a surprise to just about everyone at Linq hotel and its parent company, Caesars Entertainment. For example, on the night the show’s untimely end was reported, the Caesars blog auto-posted a story promoting the show. The article was quickly removed.

Signage advertising “Divas Las Vegas” is already coming down across the Linq resort and elsewhere.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal was the first to confirm the show’s closure, but chose not to share, or is possibly not aware of, details of the drama surrounding the show’s going dark.

Derrick Barry

This is our favorite “Divas” performer, Derrick Barry. Yes, you’re allowed to be straight and have a favorite drag performer. This isn’t the 1950s.

While it’s being reported the closing of “Divas Las Vegas” was a “mutual decision” between Caesars Entertainment and the show’s producers, that’s far from the full story, according to our contacts.

We’ve heard several unverified reports that the end of “Divas” was sparked by an investigation into fraud related to the collection of funds for charity.

Frank Marino is a longtime supporter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the show publicizes proceeds from merchandise sales are donated to charity.

Divas Las Vegas curtain call

It’s Frank Marino’s final curtain call at the Linq.

We’ve also heard a number of Linq showroom employees were fired in recent weeks. The cause of those terminations is unknown, but appears to be related to the investigation.

Sources further share that when Frank Marino was informed he and members of his team were part of the fraud investigation, he was incensed and threatened to end the show. Caesars Entertainment reps, according to sources, informed Marino he was free to do so.

Ouch. That’s nearly as awkward as when Caesars Entertainment named the theater “Divas” performed in for nearly a decade the Mat Franco Theater, after magician Mat Franco had been there just two years.

In the words of a Las Vegas burlesque performer, nicknamed Sweetie Bird, “A drag show closing? It would be weird it there wasn’t any drama.”

While “Divas Las Vegas” had a solid run, word is the show’s ticket sales have flagged recently, and show cancellations had become more frequent.

Divas red carpet

The “Divas” cast out and about.

Crack Las Vegas Review-Journal entertainment reporter Johnny Kats has reported “Divas” will relocate this fall, and claims the show will go dark at least through September. Yes, the dreaded “haitus” so many Las Vegas shows have fallen victim to, including the recent “Marilyn.”

Read the Review-Journal story for some obligatory public relations nonsense, both from Frank Marino (“Here’s a random ‘Gone With the Wind’ quote!”) and Caesars Entertainment (“Nothing to see here!”).

We trust any potential relocation of “Divas” will depend upon the outcome of the investigation into alleged wrongdoing, and it seems unlikely the show would move to another Caesars Entertainment resort given the friction caused by the current unpleasantness.

Casinos, of course, are prickly about their reputations because of strict gaming regulations. Even allegations of illegal or unethical behavior are met with quick and serious ramifications.

At one point, Caesars Entertainment gave comedian Vinnie Favorito the boot from Flamingo because of his gambling debts, some of which were incurred via Caesars employees.

“Divas Las Vegas” was a much-loved show, very much woven into the entertainment fabric of Las Vegas.

For a drag show, it drew an incredibly diverse audience, and longtime fans are sure to be dismayed by recent events.

Divas Las Vegas

The divas celebrated their 1,000th show at Linq hotel in July 2012.

Should Frank Marino and his team be vindicated, we hope he’ll find another home for his quirky, entertaining show. Given the fact Joan Rivers passed away in 2014, it might be an opportune time for Marino to revamp his act.

Update (7/1/18): The “Divas” saga continues to unfold as chatter intensifies. From what we hear, this episode could open Pandora’s Box in Vegas, as it involves allegations of shady ticketing practices, kickbacks and potentially even tax evasion.

Latest rumors are Caesars Entertainment has wanted “Divas” out of Linq for some time. The show is a dinosaur and is a hold-over from another era in Las Vegas entertainment. It also doesn’t fit with the Linq brand, and sales numbers were declining rapidly.

Questions raised (possibly by a show insider) about funds raised for charity not going to charity were an opening for the legal eagles at Caesars to dig into a variety of business practices at the showroom. (It appears Mat Franco was not involved with any of the questionable behavior.)

From what we hear, it’s been a “running gag” among industry insiders that while “Divas” hawked merchandise in the name of charities, funds rarely, if ever, made it into the hands of charities.

Remarkably, shows get to self-report merchandise and other revenue numbers, so there’s a lot of room for malfeasance. Cash sales are often not reported at all. The mind reels.

Virtually everyone involved in Linq showroom has been let go, from theater manager to servers to ticket office staff.

From what we’ve heard, most of the questionable practices were violations of Caesars Entertainment policies and don’t meet the threshold for illegality, although if allegations of tax evasion are true, that’s a bigger legal issue.

Those close to the situation suspect it will not involve outside law enforcement, other than potentially the IRS. Caesars Entertainment isn’t anxious to have this dirty laundry aired publicly.

It’s worth noting Caesars Entertainment has strict policies related to not giving incentives to box office agents. This policy is alleged to have been violated, often. It’s actually not an uncommon practice in Las Vegas to grease the palms of ticket agents, but it’s prohibited at Caesars Entertainment resorts.

Another rumored element of “Divas” investigation relates to “comp” ticket practices. Shows report tickets as having been given away, but actually sell them and pocket the money. This skirts sales tax and LET laws.

It should be said, most of the practices mentioned fly under the radar in Las Vegas entertainment realm. What’s different with “Divas” is Caesars Entertainment’s long-standing interest in getting the show out, and declining revenue exposing irregularities in the show’s finances.

Shady practices have led to drama for Vegas shows in the past. Nathan Burton at one point is rumored to have had his theater door padlocked when the jig was up.

The fate of “Divas Las Vegas” is up in the air. Given recent revelations, other venues are sure to question whether “Divas” is a good fit, and whether the risks are worth the rewards.

Update (7/3/18): Well, no surprises here, but our story sparked a full-blown controversy, complete with apologies and PR bullshittery galore.

First, “Divas” star Frank Marino, after days of denials and spin, fessed up to collecting funds for Make-A-Wish but not actually giving the money the charity.

Here’s part of Frank Marino’s statement: “As some are aware, I have historically given a portion of the proceeds from the sales of certain ‘Divas Las Vegas’ merchandise to the Make-A-Wish Foundation as well as incorporating them into special events like my Celebrity Roast held at the Stratosphere Hotel in which all of the proceeds and donations were given to them personally. I’m saddened to say that due to my own negligence, Make-A-Wish has not received a check from me for some time. I am personally embarrassed and ashamed. I take full responsibility and am sincerely apologetic for this situation.”

Our translation: “Having been caught, I am forced to do the right thing after denying anything was amiss. At all.” Got it.

Marino goes on to say, “I have confirmed the figure which I would have customarily donated to them from a percentage of my merchandise sales and have offered to substantially increase that many times over.”

That’s cool. Apologize and make it right. Here’s the full statement.

Oh, and Marino also made this weird statement, “Numerous other false allegations have been circulated, they are inaccurate; ‘Divas’ agreed with Caesars to terminate the production which had been performed seven days a week.”

We assume it’s our allegations that are false, and we have no idea how the number of performances relates to anything, but we are not diva psychic.

Insert voice of collective Las Vegas media saying, “Well, he apologized, nothing to see here!” Sigh.

Yeah, and Steve Wynn was the only person doing bad things at Wynn Resorts, and he was also the only casino executive in Las Vegas harassing women, and not a single other person knew about anything he was doing except the victims. Deep sigh.

As for Caesars, it, too, released a statement. It’s the law.

Hope you’re wearing waders, because Caesars said, “Caesars Entertainment holds itself to the highest standards and given the non-payment of donations to Make-A-Wish by ‘Divas,’ we determined that a relationship with this show was no longer suitable. Upon discovering and fully investigating this issue, we immediately took all appropriate actions in response. Caesars enjoyed a long, mutually successful relationship with the Divas production team, which it hoped would have continued for many more years, and the show’s cancellation is due solely to these circumstances.”

So, at first Caesars said it was a mutual decision to end “Divas.” Now, they’re saying they made the decision. Both can’t be true. That’s how truth works.

Here’s a spiny question: If the closure of “Divas” was specifically related to charity donations, why were virtually the entire showroom and ticket office staff, including a theater manager of nearly 40 years, fired? These folks had nothing to do with merchandise, as that was handled by “Divas” staff members. So, they were either fired for no reason, or the whole story hasn’t come out. At least not officially.

As we said, that’s not really how Las Vegas works. While the mob no longer runs Vegas, some of their traditions remain intact. You don’t snitch, and you keep your business to yourself.

And “mutually successful relationships” sometimes end with one of the parties involved going missing. We’ll see if that will be Frank Marino’s fate, as casinos live by a “code,” and you don’t end a show because somebody was late on their charity payments.

Update (7/5/18): Multiple media outlets have reported the Nevada Gaming Control Board is investing “Divas Las Vegas” and Caesars Entertainment in regard to the show’s closing. For the record, this is not a common practice when a show closes in Las Vegas. You’re welcome.

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Golden Gate is Shaking Things Up Again

Golden Gate is back in action again with some dramatic changes and a new casino expansion.

We took a peek behind-the-scenes at what were, until recently, walled off areas of Golden Gate’s casino floor.

The casino’s floor is expanding into the space previously occupied by Du-Par’s restaurant.

Golden Gate expansion

The Du-Par’s kitchen was at left, counter and tables to the right. Yes, we all miss the pancakes. Bright side: Pancakes never gave anyone a jackpot.

Du-Par’s made an abrupt exit from Golden Gate when the restaurant’s owner got into hot water with the I.R.S. for tax evasion. There are no plans to have a restaurant at Golden Gate anytime soon.

The new floor space will accommodate an additional 50-60 slot machines, a significant number for a casino with a very small footprint.

Golden Gate

The door at back leads to Main Street, the one on the right to Fremont.

Here’s one more look at the work-in-progress. The area will be accessible to the public in a few days, and slot machines will be brought in within a week.

Golden Gate

Golden Gate regulars will notice another big change to the casino floor, a move of the casino cage.

It’s moved closer to the hotel’s registration desk and valet entrance. Don’t forget to check out the old-timey slot machines on display nearby.

Golden Gate

Due to strict rules about capturing images of casino cages, we are unable to share this photo, sorry.

Next up at Golden Gate, an expansion of the high limit room.

Currently, high limit is table games only, but with a move into the previous cage space, the high limit room will now include high limit slots.

Golden Gate

More room for high limit slots, or what we commonly refer to as our “retirement plan.”

Here’s a look at the current high limit room.

Our favorite part: The fringe on the walls was inspired by the fringe on the uniforms of the casino’s dancing dealers.

Golden Gate

This is the den we’d have if we were ambitious or even moderately successful.

The high limit room revamp is set to include some intriguing elements inspired (and necessitated) by the building’s original design features.

Here’s a look at the other side of the construction wall. Golden Gate’s original arches will play a part in the design of the new high limit room. Now you know.

Golden Gate arches

There’s a chance these arches were around when Golden Gate opened in 1906, but we aren’t sure. We are a blog, not that guy in the Amish hat on “Pawn Stars.”

The latest changes at Golden Gate follow on the heels of another recent, multi-million dollar expansion that integrated the former La Bayou casino space.

That expansion also included a new entrance, loyalty club desk and beer distribution room. Of course, we got photos. Do you know this blog at all?

Golden Gate has managed to do a lot with a little, and we hear there are still more surprises in the works.

Update (7/11/18): Golden Gate owner Derek Stevens has shared one of the “surprises,” a new sports book. We got a look at the space.

Golden Gate sportsbook

It’s not much to look at now, but give it a minute.

The future sports book space sits behind a temporary wall at the south side of the recent casino expansion into the former La Bayou space.

While we’re providing updates, here’s a look at the most recent casino expansion as slot machines were being installed.

Golden Gate

Not too shabby for a place that’s been around since 1906.

There’s more to come.

Update (7/12/18): We said there was more to come!

Here’s a look at the expanded Golden Gate casino, complete with shiny new slot machines.

Golden Gate expansion

The newest casino space in Las Vegas in the oldest casino in Las Vegas.

Oh, all right, just one more.

Golden Gate casino

Everyone loves that new slot machine smell.

See you at Golden Gate.

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Beloved “Old Man” of “Pawn Stars” Reality Series Dies

A beloved member of the cast of reality juggernaut “Pawn Stars,” Richard Benjamin Harrison, has died at 77.

An announcement of Harrison’s passing was made on the Facebook page of the Gold & Silver Pawn shop made famous in the History Channel series.

Pawn Stars Old Man

Amount of your crap put up with: Zero.

The statement read, “It is with heavy hearts that we acknowledge the passing of Richard Benjamin Harrison (known as ‘The Old Man’ to ‘Pawn Stars’ fans the world over) this morning. He was surrounded by loving family this past weekend and went peacefully.”

The statement continued, “The team at Gold & Silver Pawn and the Pawn Stars family is grieving his loss. He will be remembered as the best father, grandfather and great grandfather you could have by his family and by fans as the sometimes grumpy (always loving, however), often wisecracking, and voice of absolute reason on the History television show ‘Pawn Stars.’ Services are pending and the family appreciates your prayers and kind words.”

Pawn Shop Live

The “Old Man” was immortalized as a puppet in the ill-fated “Pawn Shop Live.”

While Harrison’s appearances on “Pawn Stars” had decreased in recent seasons, fans of the show will remember him as a funny, no-nonsense curmudgeon who kept his co-stars, most of them family, in check.

Of Harrison’s passing, co-star Austin “Chumlee” Russell shared, “It’s hard to believe he is gone. He was such a big part of my life and treated me like family. I will miss him greatly and carry the lessons he taught me throughout my life. You could always count on him to straighten you out or make you laugh and both of those things I need every day.”

Richard and Rick Harrison

This sort of says it all.

The Las Vegas-based “Pawn Stars” has been on the air since 2009, and the “Old Man” opened the pawn shop with his son, Rick Harrison, in 1988.

The show recently celebrated its 500th episode.

Richard Harrison will be missed by legions of “Pawn Stars” fans, us among them.

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