I’m traveling to Las Vegas on business and have time between my meetings and flying out to grab dinner. I don’t want to eat at the airport, but do want something quick and casual. What do you suggest?
There’s no shortage of dining options in Vegas. And a lot of it comes down to budget and taste. For a quick, casual but great meal, I go to Hubert Keller’s Burger Bar in Mandalay Place, a mall that sits between Mandalay Bay & the Luxor. A burger is just the right balance between a solid meal before flying and one that is too big and too rich.
Here you’ll get plenty of options to build your own burgers. Meat eaters can choose between Angus beef, USDA Prime, lamb, BBQ marinated Angus beef, buffalo and Kobe beef. Not a meat eater? Burger Bar also offers a veggie burger, marinated chicken breast, Atlantic salmon steak and a turkey burger. Once you choose your meat, you can choose your bun and your toppings.
If you’re not up for that much thinking about what you want, go for one of the Chef’s Burgers. Burger Bar offers ten different house burgers, including a classic burger, a surf & turf burger, a vegan burger, sliders, a low carb burger and even a spicy lamb burger.
I opted for the Hubert Keller Burger on my last visit. It’s a buffalo burger topped with caramelized onions, baby spinach and blue cheese, served on a ciabatta bun. It comes with a red wine and shallots reduction sauce. It was a scrumptious dish, tasting like a steak dinner, but in the form of a burger.
Regardless of which burger you choose, don’t forget the fries. Fries are easily over-looked and often not done particularly well. The fries here are an exception. They are some of the best fries I’ve had. Ever. Burger Bar offers ten different house-made sauces for your fries (or anything else you want to dip in it).
The restaurant also serves chicken wings, salads and a range of sides. If you want something sweet, Burger Bar has a “build your own Milkshake Experience”. You can choose which ice cream, toppings, liquor, fruits and sauces you want in your milkshake. You can also get a traditional shake, alcoholic shakes, and beer floats.
Burger Bar offers beer, wine and cocktails. As an East Coaster, I was happy to be able to get Pyramid Hefeweizen on tap. One of the things I like best about Burger Bar is that I get to taste the cuisine of a world-famous chef at a reasonable price point.
Another option for foodies is Culinary Dropout in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (note this is off the strip). This place is hard to categorize; it describes itself as a ‘rebel child’ that breaks all the rules. The man behind Culinary Dropout is Sam Fox, a five-time James Beard Foundationpyramin semi-finalist for Outstanding Restaurateur.
Culinary Dropout offers build-your-own antipasti plates, where you can select from meats, vegetables and snacks and cheese. The menu also offers sandwiches, salads, and entrees, all of which have a real foodie slant to them. Essentially, Culinary Dropout takes the familiar and makes it exotic. The Caesar salad has kale in it; the turkey pastrami sandwich comes on a pretzel roll; the bistro steak comes with dolce gorgonzola and a peppercorn gastrique. We opted for the grilled cheese sliders, which were the perfect combination of comforting and filling, without being too heavy.
The restaurant also has a very good selection of beer, wine and cocktails, with friendly service. It’s a great option for a pre-flight meal, offering a respite from the zaniness of the strip.
Photos by FreeDigitalPhotos.net / Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee / David Castillo Dominici