It was hard to not get excited about the Las Vegas debut of Michael Symon, a chef known as much for his food as for his personality. His first Palms venture, Mabel’s BBQ, was an instant hit, showing off his flavorful touch in creative spins on barbecue classics.

But what many may not know is that Symon actually opened two restaurants at the Palms; within the confines of Mabel’s BBQ, you’ll find a secret restaurant that makes a 180 from the décor and cuisine of Mabel’s BBQ: Sara’s.

The interior makes you instantly feel like you’re part of something special. As you enter a small anteroom through a secret door, you feel like you’re about to enter a turn-of-the-century speakeasy. And the dining room itself is elegance top to bottom, with dark oak and soft hues and lighting providing an ambience of exclusivity. The attentive staff truly makes guests at each of the natural stone tables feel well tended to, and tuxedo-clad captains prepare certain dishes right in front of you, just in case you want to send some video to jealous friends back home.

One of the true standouts of Sara’s is its cocktail menu, highlighted by the “Old Fashioned Menu.” If up until now your idea of an Old Fashioned was bourbon-based, prepare to be re-educated; Sara’s offers five different versions of the classic. Try ones with Knob Creek rye, The Famous Grouse Scotch, Bacardi rum and Spring 44 gin. All are absolute knockouts and proof that sometimes change is a very good thing.

Appetizers range from classics like a shellfish tower (an impressive sight, featuring king crab, clams, jumbo shrimp, chilled lobster and more) to escargot casino prepared with bacon, bread crumbs, lemon and garlic, but we recommend the lighter-than-air beef carpaccio, featuring Parmesan, parsley, aioli and brioche, a visually appealing and delicious way to get your palate ready for more.

Main courses include a lovingly prepared and richly satisfying Dover sole, served with brown butter, capers, parsley and lemon. If you want to eat like a king, head straight for steak Oscar, a ridiculously decadent mix of prime filet, king crab and béarnaise sauce. But if you really want to get heads turning, the truffle fried chicken is the Instagram-worthy winner, a huge cut of fowl served with a coating of sage, honey and Parmesan. It’s sticky, it’s sweet, it’s a one-of-a-kind Vegas dish.

Whatever you choose, don’t forget to pair it with a wide variety of sides, including crispy Brussels sprouts and the potato leek gratin, both so flavorful you’ll have a tough time justifying sharing them with your group.

Sara’s makes ordering dessert a breeze with just a few options available (our favorites were the bananas Foster and the Nutella crepe) but after a full meal here, you’ll appreciate not having to expend extra energy—assuming you even have room for dessert.

Palms, 5:30-11 p.m. Wed.-Sun. 702.944.5941