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Cox: Pricey, good steakhouse

  • The 42-ounce prime dry-aged T-bone steak is served with seasonal vegetables at 630 Park Steakhouse in the Graton Resort and Casino in Rohnert Park. (CONNER JAY / The Press Democrat)

Hope for some winning hands of poker if you're going to dine at 630 Park Steakhouse in the new Graton Resort and Casino in Rohnert Park — it's pricey.

But it's good. Every attempt is made to give you a nicely designed room, attentive wait staff, pretty hostesses, a wine list designed to support a plateful of good beef, and predominantly well-made sides and appetizers from chef Jerrett Davis, who's a veteran of casino kitchens at Lake Tahoe and in Las Vegas.

Most of the beef at 630 Park is from Buedel, a Chicago-based, high-end meat supplier; Niman Ranch, known for its high-quality, naturally-raised beef; Greater Omaha Packing Company, another ultra-quality beef supplier; and Paso Prime Meats, which sells grass-fed and sustainable beef. Steaks are dry-aged for 21 to 28 days and/or wet-aged for four to 21 days. Dry-aged beef is hung in a cold case and gains a great intensity of flavor. Wet-aged beef is shrink-wrapped in plastic, and while some enzymatic action helps tenderize the meat, it doesn't have the silky tenderness or focused flavor of dry-aged beef.

Given that this is a steakhouse, my dinner companion and I looked over the red wine list very carefully. A vintage 2006 Verité red Bordeaux blend from the Chalk Hill appellation of Sonoma County was selling for a cool $1,200 a bottle, some Napa cult wines for nearly that much, and many other reds for three figures. A Barbaresco at $75 sounded appealing, but there was also a 2011 Louis Martini Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon for $38, the least expensive red on the list. As that wine aired out and opened up, it was magnificent company for the beef.

The 20-ounce prime, bone-in, grilled Buedel Rib-Eye ($54 ***) was ordered (and served) medium-rare, and for an extra $6, given sauce au poivre. It had been wet-aged for 14 days and dry-aged for 28 days, according to the menu, so I was expecting it to have acquired that nutty flavor of aged meat. But it had held its freshness, and some firmness that made it chewy.

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