Chef Talk: Ronnie Rainwater, Chef de Cuisine at Emeril Lagasse’s Delmonico Steakhouse

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For over 17 years, chef Emeril Lagasse’s Delmonico Steakhouse at The Venetian has served as one of the best fine-dining restaurants in Las Vegas. After working with Lagasse for more than 11 years at his restaurant in both Las Vegas and the east coast, Ronnie Rainwater took over as the chef de cuisine at Delmonico Steakhouse. Rainwater oversees all facets of the restaurant’s culinary operations, from sourcing products to managing the restaurant’s signature in-house dry-aging program for prime USDA beef as well as crafting some very ambitious nightly tasting menus. His culinary expertise and creative passion has helped Rainwater take Lagasse’s original concept to the next level. Rainwater recently spoke with us for our weekly Chef Talk session where he shares what continues to make Delmonico Steakhouse a Sin City dining destination.

What excites you about cooking in Las Vegas?
Being in a city with so many great chefs, you really have to be on your toes to stay consistent in order for people to keep coming.

What is it about cooking for a Las Vegas audience that is different than other major foodie markets?
Our audience is literally from all over the world. We are a city of around two million people but we have nearly 40 million visitors a year coming through.

What goes into curating your menu?
The team. We tend to collaborate as a team when it comes to putting menus together. Bouncing those ideas off of each other really gets the creative juices flowing.

Do you feel a menu can have more “risks” in Las Vegas as opposed to other markets?
Sometimes. When you look around all of the things going on here in Vegas, we have all of the big, beautiful hotels and restaurants, so the expectations are very high.

How often do you add/subtract menu items?
We make changes with seasons, although in Vegas our seasons may be a little less traditional than other parts of the country. We tend to have cooler weather for a shorter amount of time.

Where do you source your ingredients from?
We source from all over the world. We certainly love supporting our domestic product such as seafood from the gulf, produce and cheeses from California, prime beef from the Midwest. We also source Wagyu beef from Japan and fish from the Mediterranean.

Do you do seasonal specials?
Absolutely. As a team we create daily specials using seasonal ingredients. We are getting into one of my favorite times of the year with all of those great ingredients like fresh halibut, peas, fave band and great mushrooms.

What are your favorite items on the menu?
I really love our bone-in bacon. It’s a fun take on a very popular ingredient right now….BACON!

What dishes are a “must” if it’s your first time here?
Dry-aged bone-in ribeye. We’ve had this prime dry-aged beef program since we opened almost 17 years ago. It’s a program we are very proud of. Definitely start with that bone-in bacon.

Describe your restaurant in one sentence?
Classic American steakhouse with season, creole influences.

Delmonico Steakhouse at The Venetian
3355 South Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 414-3737

Photo via Delmonico Steakhouse

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