Restaurant Spotlight: The Pines Modern Steak House

High-quality steaks and a wine cellar of gems at a Southern California casino

Restaurant Spotlight: The Pines Modern Steak House
The Pines Modern Steak House collects wines from the 1986 vintage as a nod to the encompassing casino's opening year, but those aren't the only treasures in the cellar at this Restaurant Award winner. (Steve Robles)
Dec 16, 2021

Yaamava’ Resort & Casino at San Manuel sits about an hour-drive east of Los Angeles, among the San Bernardino Mountains. What began as a small bingo hall in 1986 has grown into a substantial hotel and casino, complete with a Wine Spectator Restaurant Award–winning steak house.

Opened in 2008 and recently relocated to a new space on the first floor, the Pines Modern Steak House features a 182-seat dining room, complete with a lounge, private-dining area and full-service bar. Designed with natural elements like walnut, stone and burnished metal, the interior is a nod to the Serrano people and the tribe’s ancestral land.

The Pines focuses on quality steak-house classics with a quarterly rotating menu crafted by executive chef Matt Smith. Raw-bar items and premium steaks are complemented by dishes like roasted veal chop, pan-roasted cauliflower steak and miso-glazed sea bass.

The casino’s director of beverage operations, Ryan Sharpe, makes quarterly seasonal updates to the wine list as well. With nearly 200 selections supported by a 1,350-bottle inventory, the program earned its first Award of Excellence this year. The cellar is stocked with top bottlings of Napa Cabernet, Bordeaux blends and Champagne. That’s rounded out by an extensive by-the-glass selection of 32 labels, including wine flights and pours via Coravin. The Pines’ wine director, Edward "Joey" Gottesman, oversees the restaurant’s reserve wine list, which celebrates viticultural history through picks like a 1870 Tawny Port. To honor the casino’s opening year, the team collects wines from the 1986 vintage, including bottlings of Domaine Romanée-Conti, Château Lafite Rothschild and Château Mouton-Rothschild.

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