Published Tuesday, May 27, 2014 | 1:38 p.m.
Updated Thursday, July 17, 2014 | 2:19 p.m.
On Thursday night, I attended Oscar Goodman’s new speaker series at the Plaza, and Foster Brooks broke out.
During Goodman’s entertaining presentation, based loosely on prostitution in Las Vegas, a guy who had “gotten an early start,” as his table mates reported, repeatedly and loudly interrupted the ex-mayor’s monologue. The ill-mannered nature of this guest’s disposition became such a nuisance that hotel GM Jonathan Jossel, Oscar’s steakhouse GM Jonathan Gordon and a security official charged with cleaning up such messes all encouraged this guy to leave.
He did get up and lope out of the room, but not before popping off about hookers and even what those around him had ordered for dinner. “If you think I’m bad now, wait ’til after I eat!” was one of the verbal boomlets erupting from this individual, who was reportedly in the room because he was a significant gambler at the hotel.
Word also is this person had some sort of pre-existing condition that is exacerbated when he drinks too much. To which I say, “Don’t we all?” At one point, Goodman said, “Don’t worry about it; I can handle him.” I was among many of the 75 or so guests who would have loved to see how that played out (#tireiron).
Nonetheless, Goodman’s talk was crisp, funny and fascinating. Entirely in character, in other words. He recalled working on a case involving Sally Conforte, the wife of Joe Conforte, owner of the Mustang Ranch in Sparks, which in 1971 became the state’s first licensed brothel.
While a defense attorney based in Las Vegas, Goodman visited the Mustang Ranch to interview Sally Conforte (we stress to interview Sally Conforte) and spent the night at the brothel. When he returned, he said, “My wife (Carolyn, the current mayor of Las Vegas) would not talk to me for four days. My kids, even, would not talk to me for four days, and I don’t think they even knew what a brothel was.”
He stressed that he was there on an attorney-client trip. But it was a heck of a great yarn. The next of these Goodman speaker dinners is Aug. 7. The events are upstairs in the private dining room just off the restaurant’s speakeasy bar. The next presentation is titled “Jay Sarno: King of the Goddesses,” centering on the original Caesars Palace overlord. For information on seating, contact the restaurant at (702) 386-7227 or by hitting the hotel’s website.
Goodman’s performance was recorded on video, too, with Las Vegas Connection blogger and “Highway Radio” host Bart Torres on hand to oversee that process. Something is up with this video project.
Stay on the alert for that piece of news coming out of Oscar’s, where there is never a dull moment — especially when the ex-mayor has a live mic and an even livelier audience.
The Plaza, renovated in 2011, has a lobby that features marble and inlaid mosaic tiles, chandeliers and a plush front desk that matches the classic Las Vegas feel with a contemporary look.
The hotel has 1,003 rooms and suites that showcase views of the Las Vegas Strip and downtown Las Vegas. Amenities include world-class entertainment, a casino floor that offers an array of classic gaming choice, which include 600 slot machines, a 400-seat bingo room, 18 table games and 57,120 square feet of casino space.
Among the dining options is Oscar's Beef * Booze * Broads, a steakhouse opened by former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman, which is located in the glittery dome enclosure above the hotel's main entrance.
The Plaza sits at the west end of the Fremont Street Experience on the site of the first train depot and auction site in Las Vegas, dating back to the San Pedro-Los Angeles-Salt Lake Railroad in 1905. The railroad was sold to Union Pacific in 1921 and the depot was demolished in 1970 to make way for the Union Plaza Hotel, built in 1971.
The hotel has been featured or is visible in several movies, including the 1971 James Bond film, "Diamonds are Forever;" the 1989 film "Back to the Future Part II;" the 1995 move "Casino," and the 2000 movie "Pay it Forward."
"My expectations aren't that high for my place... just the best food, the best service, the best ambiance and the best broads!" - former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman.
Goodman, opened his signature steakhouse in December 2011, bringing memorabilia he accumulated during his 12 years as mayor. His restaurant, which is in the glass dome atop the front entrance of the Plaza Hotel and Casino, features aged steaks cooked over a 600-degree grill, which is accompanied by high-quality, made-from-scratch sides by Chef Jeffrey Martell. The libations feature a variety of hand-crafted cocktails.
The restaurant combines the meal and drinks with the opportunity to have one of Oscar's "Broads" visit with customers during dinner.
"These attractive women are reminiscent of the iconic showgirls who accompanied the former mayor to events during his tenure. However, instead of being showgirls, these women will be dinner companions who can discuss Las Vegas history or things to do downtown or on the Strip. When not mingling with customers, they stroll through the restaurant as hostesses, adding to the glamorous and uniquely Vegas style of Oscar’s," according to the restaurant's promotional materials. The restaurant opens daily at 5 p.m. Reservations can be made onlineor by calling 702-386-7227.
Oscar's Lounge is just outside the restaurant, featuring hor d'ourves, such as crab cakes or seared ahi tuna, and martinis. The lounge opens daily at 4 p.m.
Calvin & James, an acoustic jazz duo, from live entertainment from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
A private dining area, which can accommodate up to 100 people, is also available, serving Italian entrees and appetizers inspired by family recipes or named after legendary mobsters.