Chart House At The Golden Nugget
"The Aquarium Restaurant in Las Vegas" is how you'll refer to the Chart House at the Golden Nugget. With 75,000 gallons of water a few feet in front of you, you'll find yourself mesmerized by the colors, patterns, and behaviors of your aquatic neighbors. And with a variety of expertly prepared plates, from chicken and steak to crab and fresh fish, you'll have a great meal while you dine downtown as well.
We didn't make reservations when we dined there last week, so I wasn't sure what kind of view we would get. Curiously, the huge aquarium is the main draw of the Chart House, but the restaurant is built so that the fewest people see the widest part. The majority of the seats are on the end of the bowed, rectangle-shaped aquarium, so while almost every seat can see the fish, a number of tables are less than ideal.
Arriving around 5 o'clock for an early dinner, I figured it was before the dinner rush, so we'd be ok, and the hostess did seat us right away. We got a table on the narrow end of the aquarium instead of the wider side, but it was only one table back from the glass. A closer table was open right in front of us and some were empty along the wider side as well, but I guess those were being held for reservations. All in all, it was a "B" table but still quite satisfactory.
Soon the server arrived to ask us for a drink order and to offer suggestions and bread.
I looked over the menu, marvelling at the price of some of the items, and was taken aback by the price of the side items. Sizzling mushrooms were $9? Creamy spinach was $8? And the cheapest side item was $6 for a baked potato. A baked potato couldn't be simpler to prepare ; six dollars seemed outrageous. Of course, here's the whole disconnect between pricing and how things should be at Chart House : cheaper items like fish & chips come with a side item (french fries, a $6 side) but more expensive meals like fresh fish and steak do not. It's the same disconnect as to how expensive hotels charge extra for Internet access yet less expensive ones give it away for free.
Unwilling to pay $6 for a side item, I narrowed down my food choices to selections that came with a side included. Eventually, I chose the Chart House Specialty Platter. For $29, it included a tempura battered lobster tail, fish & chips, coconut shrimp, and calamari, along with "skinny fries & more." I told the waitress to hold the calamari, and I was pleasantly surprised when she asked if I'd like more fish or shrimp instead. I chose additional shrimp.
When the plate arrived, I was pleasantly surprised, too, at the quantity of food. I pretty much expected one of each, but instead found six shrimp, two fish, and a lobster tail. The "& more" of the skinny french fries was like 4 potato chips. It seemed a little odd as I was expecting some combination of things like waffle fries, onion rings, or crinkle fries, but it was fine nonetheless : just not sure I'd add it on the menu as "& more."
The flavors of the plate worked well together. The sweetness of the butterflied coconut shrimp was a nice contrast to the more straightforward battered fish and lobster tail. The tartar sauce, hot chili sauce, and ketchup were nice complements as well.
By the time I ate all the deep fried ocean goodness, I was stuffed. We paid the bill then headed back out into Fremont Street, having quite enjoyed the food and the visual stimulation of the numerous colors and types of fish in front of us. If you're looking for a bit of old school charm along with something to keep your eyes entertained while dining, be sure to check out Chart House yourself when you're next in downtown.
In The Golden Nugget
Downtown Las Vegas / Fremont Street
Opens Daily At 11:30AM
Closing Times Vary (Sunday At 10:30PM, Monday-Thursday At 11PM, Friday & Saturday At 11:30PM)