ellis island casino / las vegas

Ahhh, Las Vegas. It’s pretty much a rite of passage for all young adults in Southern California to make a pilgrimage to this unholy land of neon lights, cheap alcoholic drinks, gambling, and staying up all night until you pass out and wake up in a hotel room with at least five other people. You do this at least once a year (maybe more) until you get a little older and the allure of Vegas starts to get a little fuzzy. Then you go less and it becomes this kind of hazy dream until one day you say to your partner, “Let’s go Vegas!” and you relive those glory days except this time you stay in a nicer room, the thought of walking to New York New York from the Venetian makes you want to stay by the pool instead, and you wonder where your next meal will be from instead of trying to pound as many drinks into your system as you possibly can.

If you’re really into food, you do research all week looking up all the off-strip restaurants nearby since you know there’s more to Vegas than just the strip! Which is basically what I did since we decided the week before that it was high time to get out of dodge for a few days. We started our Vegas journey by having our first meal at Ellis Island Casino.



Normally I gamble very, very little (if at all) but the allure of a $2 steak coupon was what got me into the gambling seat and I played the Walking Dead slots game. It showed scenes from the show and had walkers coming after me which made it feel less like gambling and more like cheap entertainment.  If you sign up for a player’s card to get the coupon, they offer free play if you spend at least $10 at a machine. The free play can range from $10-$500. I got $51! I ended up winning $150 total which was great considering I only spent $10 of Jake’s money. The winnings paid for a few of our meals, hooray! 


[root beer]

We had to wait almost an hour to get seated since the place was packed. 

Ellis Island Casino is also a brewery. Along with making beers, they also make their own root beer which is really good. It’s got a lot of flavors and spices. I’d much rather drink root beer than beer. 


[clam chowder]

Jake and I each got a starter for our dinners. I picked the clam chowder. It was on the thicker side but had a decent amount of clams in it. 


[salad with ranch dressing]

Jake got a simple salad with ranch dressing. Nice that they automatically put it on the side for you.


[sirloin steak special / $9.99]

Here is the Sirloin Steak Special. It’s not actually listed on the menu, you just have to ask for it. With the $2 off, this plate is only $7.99 and includes a root beer (or beer). You get your choice of starch (mashed potatoes, fries, or baked potato) plus whatever veggies they have that day. 


I asked for my steak to be medium rare and when I sliced into that sucker, this is what it looked like. Dry, cooked all the way through sadness. I made a huge frowny face and took a bite and it was dry and incredibly chewy. Jake made me send it back and our waiter said, “Oh… no, that is not medium rare!” and he took care of it for me. 


A couple of minutes later I got a fresh steak and I sliced into that one and got this nice pinky-medium rare steak instead. Joy! It looked like it was just pulled off the grill maybe since the juices were running out with my first slice but I was too hungry to wait any longer. The steak is pretty good and has a nice seasoning on the outside. Sirloin is generally not my favorite cut but for $7.99 I really won’t complain too much. It’s a stellar deal for a steak dinner. 


[king cut prime rib / $19.99]

Jake was perhaps considering getting a steak special dinner as well until his eyes lighted upon the words “PRIME RIB”. The prime rib is only $14.99 here but for $5 more you can get it “Double Cut”. He asked our nice waiter what that meant exactly and found out that the prime rib goes from a mere 12oz to 24oz. Jake sprung for that instead and we also got $2 off this steak dinner so it was only $17.99 for a 24oz prime rib. Crazy, right?

The mighty steak is totally pushing those poor little green beans out of the way. 


Holy goodness, would you look at the size of this thing!


Jake is perhaps a little excited about his meal. Hah! He gave me a few bites and it was tender and tasty. It tasted a bit better than my sirloin steak since it had a bit more marbling than my steak. 

Also: no, Jake did NOT finish this steak. I highly encouraged him NOT to. 


[frisco burger / $7.99]

T’s original choice wasn’t available and he decided to go with the Frisco Burger instead which was a burger seasoned with an italian potpourri and topped with bacon, onions, and thousand island. The menu states it comes on sourdough bread but I can’t remember if he requested a regular bun or not. T adored his burger and thought it was the very best thing he ate on the trip. I had a tiny piece of the burger meat which was very juicy, tender, and flavorful, but still just tasted like a burger to me. My pick was Jake’s steak! 


[cheesecake / $4.99]

T really wanted a slice of cheesecake for dessert and got it on his own. He was nice enough to share it with Jake and I. The menu says this is “homemade cheesecake” but I’m pretty sure they stick “homemade” in the front just to encourage your desire for it. This cheesecake tasted more like cool whip than anything else. It didn’t have that tang from the cream cheese and was incredibly airy. It was really odd. I didn’t care for it. 


Hooray savings! 


After dinner we drove down the strip (which took forever) so T could see all the neon glory. I also spied White Castle! We didn’t make it to White Castle to try it but it’s on my bucket list. 

Ellis Island Casino
4178 Koval Ln
Las Vegas, NV 89109

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8 thoughts on “ellis island casino / las vegas

  1. That first paragraph = TRUTH. preach.

    And I’ve never really been off the strip too much except for this one all you can eat sushi place. But I really want to see old dt Vegas and I have heard so many good things about off the strip restaurants – both price-wise and food-deliciousness-wise. Can’t wait to see where else you went 🙂

    1. Haha thanks J.S.! I’m pretty sure every trip in my early 20s was how I described it. It’s all but a haze now. We didn’t eat at a single place on the strip this time around, though I kinda wanted to go to Shake Shack… I’ll have to save that one for next time. We had some darn good eats this time around, I can’t to wait to share it all!

  2. My mom & sis recently went to LV and took the Greyhound. Crazy right. It was 3 hour delayed coming back too. I was laughing reading ‘ I only spent $10 of Jake’s money.’ That’s the only way I’ll gamble – if it’s other people’s money. Then it doesn’t feel as bad. That was nice of the waiter to bring out a new steak for you. Sirloin steak isn’t usually my favorite cut of meat either – it reminds of me Sizzler’s for some reason?

    1. A lot of people I know have been going to Vegas recently. We must have all gotten the “I gotta go to Vegas” bug in SoCA! I didn’t bring ANY cash with me to Vegas – I totally just spaced out on that one. Yeah, I don’t enjoy gambling, really. I’m just always afraid of watching it disappear in like 10 seconds. The free play money also made it slightly more fun but once I won I just wanted to cash out and leave, haha. Sirloin steak isn’t super exciting, but it’s exciting I got it for only $7.99!

  3. the last time we went to Vegas was back in 2003 in the Spring. It was super hot and not fun being out and about. TC was only 2 (going on 3) and there wasn’t any place kid friendly that we liked. I wasn’t impressed with the buffets we went to but now with the proliferation of food blogs with recommendations and such, we’d probably have a much better time finding decent places to eat and visit. My husband would like that home brewed root beer. TC just saw the photo and said, “MMMMMM!”

    1. Oh man, Vegas seems to change every time we go now. There’s always some new hotel or this or that. We spend most of our time away from the Strip now since it’s kind of insane. There’s so much to see (and eat!) in town. I have a few more of strip places that might (maybe) convince you of another trip!

    1. It was so exciting! Totally worth it 🙂 I don’t even usually sign up for that stuff, but the allure of coupons is quite strong.

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