Centerpiece Meals 

When it comes to holiday meals, I am a traditionalist. I don’t believe this is the time to knock people out with experimental culinary creations. There is an emotional charge to the food we eat during the holiday season, and people—especially family-type people—expect their old favorites. At my house, the anticipated festive meal is a centerpiece main course that can be shared, like a retro-style rib roast or a crown roast of pork. Not only is a shared main course surrounded by family-style side dishes a crowd-pleaser, it’s just a more festive way to eat.

The same philosophy applies to the holiday meals we serve at Charlie Palmer Steak, where we offer up the big, bold flavors of my signature Progressive American cooking in impressive but slightly familiar dishes. At this time of the year, the ingredients we remember from our own family holiday meals guide our menus. Certain dishes always seem to conjure up the feeling of home, and so we stick with classics at Charlie Palmer Steak, where I often celebrate the holidays with my own family. 

We like to kick things off with a light and crisp iced seafood platter which always seems luxurious, especially when paired with some bubbles, like my Aureole Cuvée that Iron Horse Vineyards makes for us. One of my all-time favorite combinations and a perfect centerpiece for a holiday meal, our porterhouse for two, not only makes an impressive main course for two, it works as part of the shared assortment for a larger group. 

But I think the season really comes alive in our eclectic mix of traditional and modern side dishes. Some of them are our versions of the classics that people grew up eating with steak: Creamed Style Spinach with a Jalapeño Bacon undercurrent, and and freshest Spiced Fries, hand-cut so there are no preservatives which really lets the taste of the potato come through, as well as potatoes enriched with parmesan, another iconic steakhouse side. But we also have a few dishes that reflect the international influences found in our diverse Las Vegas dining community: We do our Brussel Sprouts with Fish Sauce and Togarashi, a Japanese spice mix that includes red and black pepper, sesame seeds, dried mandarin orange peel and green nori seaweed flakes, creating a great interplay of natural sweetness and salinity. And our Dry Roasted Chiles—kept in the moderate heat range—are an earthy mix of Anaheim, Jalapeño and small, bright green Pardon Chiles made crunchy with sea salt.

The same festive attitude is on display in our eclectic wine list, recipient of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, year after year. You’ll find a robust array of cult producers and niche winemakers from around the world—from Oregon to Argentina and New Zealand to Tasmania. But what makes the list particularly appealing during the holidays is our wonderful selection of celebratory large format bottles, from Dom Perignons to 2008 Silver Oak Cabernet. 

There’s a reason the steakhouse is considered the quintessential American restaurant, especially for holiday celebrations: They’re incredibly democratic with food liberty for all. The crowd-pleasing menus are set up in a way that gives diners the freedom to organize their own meals. Because steakhouses don’t serve composed main course dishes—meaning the chef does not determine what gets served with what—all the guests at the table can participate in ordering for the communal meal, making steakhouses great places for family holidays: Everyone gets exactly what they want. And what’s more celebratory than that? —Charlie

Charlie Palmer Steak • The Four Seasons Hotel. • 702.632.5120 • CharliePalmer.com

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