Herbs & Rye
There’s a whole lot to see in Las Vegas, but what Ruka and I wanted to find was something out of the old west. We had seen plenty of the desert; the palm trees, the cactus, the sand storms, the rabbits, even the Roadrunners, but what we wanted to find was a good old-fashioned saloon. And we found was just that, when we happened upon a venue called, Herbs & Rye. Out front is a western board walk, and even though the old-fashioned saloon doors are missing, once you walk inside the brick interior, the red velvet-like wall paper, and the light fixtures are a through-back to the historical look of the late 1800’s.
Now the funny thing about this place is that it seems to be a combination of a couple of the places that we’ve previously visited. The cocktail menu looks like the Truss & Twine menu in Palm Springs and the name reminds us of Herb & Wood, in San Diego, but Herbs & Rye opened in 2009 long before the other venues saw their first day of business. Herbs & Rye is a steakhouse with a tinge of Italy and it is a bar with cocktails that date back to the turn of the century, not 1999-2000, not 1899-1900, but 1799-1800.
"Herbs & Rye is a steakhouse with a tinge of Italy and it is a bar with cocktails that date back to the turn of the century, not 1999-2000, not 1899-1900, but 1799-1800. ."
That’s right, way back. Let’s start with the cocktail menu. It starts out with the Gothic Age 1776-1865. The first drink, The Original Collins is made with Bols Genever, fresh lemon, bar syrup, and soda water. What I’m certain you don’t know is that Bols of Amsterdam has been distilling since 1575. “The original and unique flavours of Bols Genever enable bartenders to work with the authentic flavours of the past and to recreate the true classic cocktails at the were meant to taste – The Original Collins, for example.
Another cocktail that is from the Gothic Age is the Martienz, Gin, Italian sweet vermouth, Maraschino, Bitters. This drink first reached print in 1884 in the O. H. Byron’ book “The Modern Bartenders Guide.” “Of all the cocktails proudly wearing the ‘classic’ badge, the Martinez is perhaps the most deserving. Often named the Father of the Martini, this is an old, old drink with a beautiful, burnt honey colour and a complicated but well-balanced, taste.” Although there is an old-school version of the drink, the remake is considered a bar classic as well. See the links below.
Yet another Gothic Age cocktail is the Pimms Cup. It was first produced in 1823 by James Pimm and sold at his oyster bar in London. The drink is made with Pimms No 1, cucumber, lime, ginger ale. Yes, there were other Pimms recipes from the 1850’s, 1940’s and 1960’s, but the brand fell off and stopped bottling the other recipes in the 1980’s.
These are just some of the drinks that they feature on the bar menu at Herbs & Rye. I encourage you to go to the links below and check out the bar menu, then try making them at home or convince the bartender at your favorite watering hole to give them a try. It just might be fun to try a drink that your great-grandparents used to drink.
But what really brings the patrons to Herbs & Rye is the menu. There are appetizers, soups and salads, flatbreads (Pizza), pasta, H & R favorites, and surf and turf combinations. But at the heart of the menu is the steaks. First, there is a 12-ounce pork chop and then a double cut 16-ounce pork chop. Then comes the beef: An 8-ounce flat iron, a 9-ounce Filet Mignon, a 14-ounce New York Strip, an 18-ounce Ribeye, a 60-ounce Ribeye a 120-ounce Ribeye.
“Out of the many delicious cuts, the king may be the Ribeye. Wonderfully marbled, juicy, soft textured and rich, it is what one graduates to from the Filet Mignon. Head Chef Mariano Ochoa, since before his time as a dishwasher, has long studied the art of the butcher. With these 21-day wet-aged wonders, they are grilled, rested and finished with a balsamic butter. This Ribeye has a wonderful sear, and as a bonus, the Ribeye and all of the steaks are half off from 3-7 p.m. and 12-3 a.m.”
When Mariena Mercer was asked, “Where are some of your favorite places to eat and drink both on and off strip?” The second place she mentioned was Herbs & Rye “My next pick would be Herbs & Rye,” she said. “They've got a … talented staff. Their foundation in classic cocktails is so strong, and the food is great. They call it the clubhouse, and it really does feel like one. You go in there and you know three-quarters of the room. It's always a … fun time and it can get a little debaucherous. It's a passion project for Nectaly [Mendoza], the owner, and I have a ton of respect for where he's come from and all of his work to make it come to fruition.”
“Nectaly Mendoza, owner of Herbs & Rye bar and grill on West Sahara, developed his unique perspective on business and motivating people from a variety of mentors in his life.
“It’s not just about how great the cocktails and food are,” Mendoza said. “It’s understanding how to motivate people to have passion and dedication. They have to know you are as dedicated to them as they are to you….”
…Recently, during the National 2016 Nightclub & Bar Awards, Mendoza was recognized as Bartender of the Year. He credits his entire staff for the recognition.”
I discovered Herbs & Rye because of my ‘little brother’ Antonio in San Diego. He called me while he was dining there, while oddly enough, I was discovering Truss & Twine. (Compare their drink menus, the links are below.) It was weeks later that I would seek out and then meet Mariena Mercer. It was upon their recommendations that I discovered a venue that I knew, as soon as I sat down looked at the menu, that I would want to come back and eat and drink some more. As Adam Rains states above, the price of the steaks is half off before 7 and after 12. That’s brilliant Nectaly. Because what really is the case is that if you eat between 7 and midnight you’re really paying double for the time zone. But seriously, it’s worth it at full price.
As far as I’m concerned, this place is must visit if you come to Las Vegas. The food was excellent and everything on the menu is something that I would like to order. I could go back to this place again and again.
I told Ruka that I wanted to take a picture of her pork chop, but when I turned and looked it was already half gone. As we left, I asked Ruka what she thought about the place and she said, “I was disappointed that no one showed up on a horse, no one had a holster, and there were no bar fights.” Geez Ruka, I said, you’ve been watching too many old westerns on TV. But then she said, “the pork chop on the bone was awesome.” Yes, I lamented, the Rib Eye was too.
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