Access Vegas Insider Vibe – June 14, 2000

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This Issue: Binion’s Ranch Steakhouse

Curious about a restaurant, event, or other Las Vegas attraction that looks fun? Let us review it for you first! Suggestions are always welcome at:


LAS VEGAS NEWS – of interest to tourists:

FIREWORKS – LVCVA has authorized a half-million dollars for New Year’s Eve fireworks this year. We’ve been sitting on this one for a few weeks, as we didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up, but it’s now a done deal! Full story at New Years Eve discount rates already available at are as follows:

GOLD COASTáááááááá 199.95 (5 minutes from Strip, free shuttle)
SAM’S TOWNáááá 159.95 (15 minutes from Strip, free shuttle)
EXCALIBURáááááááá 239.95
BARBARY COASTáááá 189.95
LUXORáááááááá 275.95
ORLEANSááááááá 219.95 (10 minutes from Strip, free shuttle)

And if you have your own car and want to book now and book cheap: BOULDER PALMS LUXURY SUITES (20 minutes from Strip) is going at 59.95 an night. No, that’s not a misprint, and the place is nice!

All rooms booked at come with a low price guarantee. Find it cheaper, they refund the difference or let you cancel, no penalty.

WAYNE NEWTON, JIMMY HOPPER – Catch a Las Vegas legend as well as a possible future legend who will be special guests at a June 22 fund raiser for Nevada GOP U.S. Senate candidate John Ensign. The entertainment and a BBQ are included in the price: $50 per person or $75 for couples. Location: 8320 Black Brothers Court (near Sahara and Durango, 20 minutes from the Strip). To purchase your tickets today or for more information, visit or call (702) 880-1000.

MIRAGE BOTANICAL GARDENS – According to R-J columnist NORM!, the botanical gardens as well as the Dale Chihuly glass flower sculpture over the lobby are staying put for now. With the MGM in control, I personally give the gardens 6 months and expect a decline in quality. Pictures from the gardens (Christmas theme) are available in our Bellagio Buffet review at The NORM! column was at

DODGERS? MAYBE NOT – The mayor and the city refuted last week’s L.A. Times report that we are going to pay the Dodgers a big bonus to relocate their spring training here. Full story at

LION HABITAT UNDER FIRE – An animal rights organization is condemning the MGM’s Lion Habitat (reviewed at ), calling it exploitation. The MGM has countered, noting that the lions are kept on an 8-acre facility when not in the habitat, and portions of the proceeds go to animal preservation organizations. Full story at

WINNERS! – Don DeLay of Elkhart, IN won the Las Vegas T-shirt.

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Quick Concert and Show Notes:

See which shows are playing during your stay and book reservations EVEN if the tickets aren’t on sale yet. Let ShowVegas takes care of all your needs directly online! Search by dates at

Hard Rock – Ringo Starr on June 17, Violent Femmes on June 19, Anthrax on June 28, destiny’s Child on July 2, Don Henley on July 10, No Doubt with Black Eyed Peas on July 31, and B-52’s on Aug. 5. Tickets at (702) 474-4000 and Hard Rock discount rooms available at (Hard Rock link).

Las Vegas Hilton – Sinbad on June 30 and July 1, Engelbert Humperdinck July 11-16, Tim Conway and Harvey Korman in their “Together Again” tour July 28-29, Reba McEntire Sept. 14-17, Kenny Rogers Sept. 22-23, Steven Wright Oct. 7-8, and Tim Conway and Harvey Korman in their “Together Again” tour Oct. 19-21 (return engagement) and Jeff Foxworthy Nov. 30 – Dec. 3. Tickets are available at (800) 222-5361 and Las Vegas Hilton discount rooms are available at (Las Vegas Hilton link).

Mandalay Bay – Megadeth on Jun. 23, Queensryche on June 16 and 17, Bob Dylan on June 27, Mickey Hart Band on June 30, Ween on July 1, Kottonmouth Kings on July 2, The Young Dubliners on July 3, Cheap Trick on July 3, Boz Scaggs on Jul 8, Dan Folgelberg on Jul. 14, Hall and Oats on July 21, LeAnn Rimes on Jul. 28, the BB King Blues Festival 2000 on Aug. 1, and Brian Setzer on Aug. 8. Tickets available at (702) 474-4000 and Mandalay Bay discount rooms are available at (Mandalay Bay link).

MGM – Penn and Teller now through June 21, Marc Anthony on June 16, Rodger Waters on June 17, Carrot Top June 22 – July 5, Blink-182 and Bad Religion on June 24, Nickelodeon’s All That Music & More Festival featuring LFO, Blaque, and B*Witched on July 1, Rodney Dangerfield on July 6-12 and again on Aug. 24-Sept. 6, Penn and Teller July 27 – Aug. 9, and Carrot Top Sept. 7 – 13. Tickets available at (800) 929-1111 and MGM discount rooms are available at (MGM link).

Mirage – Paul Anka now through June 20. Tickets available at (702) 792-7777 and Mirage discount rooms are available at (Mirage link).

Station Casinos – Todd Rungren & The Motels June 16 at Sunset, Jean-Luc Ponty June 17 at Palace, Sammy Kershaw June 30th at Sunset, Loverboy & Night Ranger June 30 at Sunset, and Joe Walsh plus a fireworks extravaganza July 1 at Sunset. Tickets at (888) 464-2468 and Station Casinos discount rooms available at (various Station Casinos links).

The Orleans – The Righteous Brothers now through June 25, and Robert Goulet June 29 – July 2.. Tickets at (702) 365-7075 and Orleans discount rooms available at (The Orleans link).


FEATURE STORY: Binion’s Ranch Steakhouse

Unfortunately, Binion’s Horseshoe Casino hasn’t been in the news for it’s long time reputation of good food and fair gaming lately. The Binion Murder trial has been watched all over the United States.

Others (including us) have grumbled over the loss of many of the great specials like the late night $3 steak special. But the place that family patriarch Benny Binion founded still keeps alive the spirit he brought to his downtown property.

Binion’s Ranch Steakhouse is part of that tradition. This is upscale dining with prime beef and a view to die for while still maintaining that friendly down-home feel you’ve come to expect from Binion’s. If those trendy places where they put more importance on choosing the decorator instead of the chef bug you, this is your place. The decor is nice, reasonably plush, but understated.

Look up to the very top of Binion’s and you see two-story glass wrapped around the top of the building. I used to think those were the high-roller suites. But NO, that is the steakhouse! The view is unique, letting you see over the rest of downtown to the Strip and far beyond.

Service is down-home also. Helpful, but not at all pretentious. Hate those guys at the high-end places with the fake accents and waiters with foreign names (co’mon — they can’t all be Pierre from Paris), you’ll enjoy the “real” feel of the wait staff. Good service, but relaxed and with a smile.

Between generous portion size and the items served with the main course, appetizers aren’t really necessary. However, they are available: Jumbo Gulf Shrimp Cocktail, Scampi A Las Maison, Oysters on the Half Shell, Oysters Rockefeller, and Escargot Bourguignonne. They range from $9.95 to $12.95.

All main courses are served with soup of the day or salad, rice pilaf, baked potato or roasted garlic mashed and warm sourdough bread — a personal favorite. You can order soups or salads: House Salad ($4.95), Caesar Salad ($6.95), French Onion Soup ($4.75), Greek Salad ($9.95) and Crab Chowder served in a sourdough bowl ($5.75)

Specialties are meat, meat, and more meat. A regular cut of prime rib runs $27.00, but splurge for the “Benny Cut” at $32.00 and see if you can eat it all! Other specialties are Broiled Spring Lamb Chops ($28.50), Veal Marlala ($24.00), Broiled Chicken Breasts ($22.00), Steak Diane ($25.00) and Binion’s famous Pepper Steak, a 16 oz. New York Steak rolled in cracked peppercorns, sautÚed and topped with Brandy cream sauce for $30.00.

Steak lovers rejoice! I had the Filet Mignon. 12 oz. that I could almost cut with a fork despite my insistence that they cook it medium well ($28.00). Also available are the New York Steak (16 oz., $27.00), Ribeye (16 oz., $25.00) and the Porterhouse (21 oz. extra-thick cut, $30.00).

Seafood includes Australian Lobster Tail (market price), Alaskan King Crab Legs (2 pounds, $42.50), Scampi A La Maison ($28.50), Braised Halibut Filet ($25.50), and Broiled Salmon ($22.50). Both Surf and Turf (petite filet and rock lobster) and the Petite Filet Mignon and Crab Legs are market price.

You aren’t paying for just the view — the food is excellent also. Go right around sunset. Nothing compares to an unobstructed view, watching the Strip and the entire Las Vegas valley light up while a piece of prime steak dissolves in your mouth. Although we had no problem getting a table at about 8:00 PM on a weeknight unannounced, we suggest reservations at (702) 382-1600 and they are open 5-11 PM.



Jimmy Jones wrote:

>Hi, We are visiting Vegas on the 4th of July. Do you
>have a big fireworks show?

Good question! Yes and no. We really don’t have one of those huge, “The sky never goes dark for 45 minutes” shows. The Stratosphere is having fireworks again this year. Last year was a let-down as they shot them off from behind the building (not from the Tower) and most people were too close to see them properly. If you go to the Strat, the best view is a couple of blocks down the Strip or back aways in any direction (avoid the neighborhood behind the casino — it’s a high crime area).

There are some pretty good displays around town in the suburbs. They are listed at If you have a car, I’d suggest the one at Desert Breeze Park put on by the County. We’ll have more details on the New Years Eve fireworks as they become available.

Lonna Durand wrote,

>What is going on with the El Rancho? When are they going to tear this
>eyesore down?? Is there a hold-up in selling a valuable strip
>property? I haven’t see anything on it in years. It was closed 12
>years ago when we started coming to Las Vegas . What’s the story?

Good question. We’ve been following the fate of the El Rancho (shuttered property in the north end of the Strip) on but I failed to mention anything here.

The company building the high-rise condos behind the El Rancho bought it for $45 million just to get rid of the eyesore for potential buyers, and they are having a “fire sale” before demolishing it. Story at No word on an implosion yet. This one might be done by wrecking ball as it’s not that big.

As long time readers know, we tend to shy away from idle speculation and rumor and only print things when the ink on the deals are dry so you don’t run into any disappointments. However, if you are interested in something like this that we haven’t mentioned here, do drop us a line. Info is directly below.

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Your input is welcome. Write us a “letter to the editor” at Please include your name if you wish to have it published (stating your city is optional). Also, guest article submissions are welcome with full credit to you, your website, etc. if accepted.

ONLINE POLL – “If you live in Las Vegas, how long do you plan on living here?” Let’s hear your opinions at — results will be published in two weeks!

Results from last weeks poll “What kind of casino atmosphere do you like?”

Comfortable Midrange (Harrah’s, Flamingo, Ballys, etc.) 46%
Cheap Drinks and Low Limits (Downtown, Circus Circus, etc.) 21%
Young and Trendy atmosphere (Hard Rock, Rio, Mandalay, etc.) 18%
Fine Surroundings (Bellagio, DI, Mirage, etc.) 13%


Rules (unless otherwise noted or link to outside contest): You may enter every contest, but only one entry to each. Please note the expiration date and only enter if you will be in town and can use them. The 20’th entry in each contest will be the winner. Just sent a blank email to the specified email address — we’ll get your mailing address from you only if you win. Also, please do not enter if you have won within the past month.

Airfare to Las Vegas for you and 20 friends, $15,000 and a suite at Bellagio for New Year’s. Enter at

Two tickets to Star Trek: The Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton, a $100 gift certificate to Quark’s Bar and Restaurant, a copy of the Collector’s Edition CD Rom from Activision – STAR TREK -Hidden Evil and a fabulous two night stay at the Las Vegas Hilton! Enter at

Golden Gate Hotel and Casino: three day, two night stay plus dinner for two at Golden Gate’s Bay City Diner. Enter at

Free Circus Tickets – The “Greatest Show on Earth” returns to the Thomas & Mack Center July 5–9 and Channel 8 is giving away two family four packs for VIP seats for opening night of the Circus, Wednesday, July 5th. Enter at

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Have a request for a review? Boggled when you come to town and see the hundreds of dining, attraction, and show opportunities? Let us know what you’d like to hear about! Unlike the tourist magazines where all of the “articles” are really paid ads, we give you the honest scoop. If you appreciate this service, please consider booking your rooms and rental cars for ALL destinations with us at You get secure ordering with the convenience and savings of booking online!

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All contents copyright MM Ted Newkirk. All Rights Reserved.
June 14, 2000

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