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August 1, 2014

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Beef, booze, broads and the happiest mayor on Earth

Oscar’s steakhouse serves up the Mob basics

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Leila Navidi

Oscar Goodman speaks with the media on opening night of Oscar’s Steakhouse at the Plaza on Monday, Dec. 19, 2011.

Oscar Goodman doesn’t own or manage “Oscar’s,” the new steakhouse at the Plaza, but his influence on the restaurant is unmistakable.

Ride the escalator up to the Downtown hotel’s second floor and an oversized portrait of Goodman greets you. A bedazzled bottle of Bombay Sapphire, Goodman’s signature drink, decorates the bar. Behind it, a glass door leads to a private office that will house memorabilia from Goodman’s days as Las Vegas mayor—his desk and throne, portraits and bobble head dolls—and sometimes Goodman himself.

Further inside the restaurant, a circular glass wine cellar doubles as Goodman’s private dining room, and caricatures and newspaper clippings document his decades of work as a mob lawyer and public servant. The menu features an “Oscar’s Mayor ‘Weiner’ Schnitzel” veal chop and Goodman’s favorite, a “Spilotro-style skirt steak“ modeled after a meal Goodman ate with Tony “the Ant” during a Chicago murder trial in which Spilotro was charged with torturing a man by squeezing his head in a vice until his eye popped out.

“This is a dream come true for me,” Goodman said of the restaurant which, along with the adjoining Simpatico Italian eatery, opened Monday. “This is going to be a place symbolic of Las Vegas.”

And, of course, of Goodman, who was ousted this summer from City Hall because of term limits.

Oscar’s carries the tag line, “Beef, Booze, Broads” a phrase Goodman said he came across during a mob trial and vowed to use one day in a restaurant.

Monday, a handful of “broads,” as Goodman calls the restaurant’s female concierges, congregated around the former mayor and greeted customers. Looking more like models than waitresses, they wore slinky black dresses, sky-high heels and perfectly-coiffed hair.

Antoinette (“broads” go only by their first names) said she auditioned for the role so she could work with Goodman and help revitalize downtown. She left a career in the vacation ownership industry and considers being called a “broad” an honor, she said.

Goodman said he hopes the restaurants become a hangout for both locals and tourists.

“I’m hoping people will be able to save up a little money, come here and splurge and escape the rigors of everyday life,” he said, sipping on a martini.

The steakhouse is bright and airy, with white marble accents and three oversized crystal chandeliers. Chairs and booths are adorned in cool gray-blue leathers, and servers wear mob-inspired striped shirts with white ties.

Simpatico is modeled after a Prohibition-era speakeasy. It sits behind an unmarked door and has a dark, intimate feel. Its walls are covered in brown wallpaper, its seats upholstered in a deep maroon fabric.

At the steakhouse, appetizers such as shrimp cocktail and crab cakes sell for $13 to $15. A 12-ounce filet mignon runs $42, while a piece of salmon costs $25.

At Simpatico, salads range from $7 to $8 while pastas cost $15 to $21. The Zuppa Di Pesce, a seafood stew, is the priciest entrée at $30.

Goodman’s contract with the Plaza doesn’t include a firm time commitment for the mayor to appear at the restaurants. But he promised to be there often.

“I’m going to be here drinking in excess,” he said.

And as with most projects he has his hands in, Goodman has ensured that his presence will be felt even when he’s away. Each of the restaurants’ menus feature a quote from the former happiest mayor on Earth: “My approach to food and service is the same as my approach to life … eat, talk, have fun and get drunk! Or, in my own words—enjoy our beef, booze and broads!”

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