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Vegas Mexican and BBQ

thingfiz Nov 19, 2007 04:49 PM

Going to Vegas mid December. YeeHaa! Has anyone tried the new Mexican joint at the Monte Carlo? I picture it more atmosphere than good food but haven't been there yet. Any input? Also, looks as if BUZZ BBQ might be the place to try out. Any comments through experience on this place. Lived in Texas for some time so I know whats good. Anybody ever been to Buffalo Gap just south of Abilene Tx. Best BBQ brisket around. Simple sliced beef with beans, slaw, raw onion, buttered white bread and a jalapeno pepper to wash everything down. Doesn't get any better than that. I'm not lookin for fancy, just good grub.

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  1. Skunk2Racer RE: thingfiz Nov 24, 2007 02:48 PM

    The Salt Lick is Open at the Red Rock Casino. People seem to like the BBQ but hate the sides.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Skunk2Racer
      Eric RE: Skunk2Racer Nov 24, 2007 02:52 PM

      Salt Lick's food is medicore at bet. The brisket is dry. They use a strange mustard vinegar sauce that is only good on the sausages. For Mexican, try Viva Mercados. I am in the minority about the Michoican restaraunts. I find the food very bland.

      1. re: Eric
        Steve Green RE: Eric Nov 26, 2007 12:50 PM

        There's also a Salt Lick at Santa Fe Station--Hwy 95 at Ann Rd, appx. I agree that their brisket is dry, but I really like the ribs and links (especially the ribs, and I'm not even a rib fan). I don't like the sauce much either, but it's OK when it's cooked into the ribs. They have an all-you-can-eat deal for $17.99 that I thought was a pretty good value. The (included) cornbread and potato salad were fine, I didn't care for the beans, and didn't try the coleslaw. Here's a link to the menu:

        I'm thinking about sneaking in a bottle of Baby Ray's BBQ sauce next time I go.

        And to address the OP, Buzz BBQ is pretty good too. Their brisket is better than Salt Lick's.

    2. b
      brisket RE: thingfiz Nov 30, 2007 10:13 AM

      I was never a huge fan of Salt Lick when I lived in Austin, but I enjoy the one at Red Rock quite a bit. Perhaps it's the nostalgia talking. Their sausage, ribs and chicken are great; the brisket is okay. I find their sauce outstanding, though I really don't like Memphis or KC-style sticky sweet tomato-based sauces. I don't really judge barbecue places by the sides, but I think some of the comments on Salt Lick's are a bit harsh -- I like their poppyseed vinaigrette cole slaw, the beans are great, and their potato salad is a notch above the Sysco mustard/mayo ones you typically find.

      I think TC's Rib Crib on DI and Durango is about the best I've had in town. Buzz was good, too, though it's so far from me I don't get to it often. I'd avoid CJ's on Sahara, despite it calling itself "Texas barbecue"; I had some really awful, bland, tough, cold food there.

      Lindo Michoacan is as good as it gets for Mexican here IMO, Frank and Fina's is okay too. Have some friends that have said good things about Viva Mercados though I've not been there myself.

      1 Reply
      1. re: brisket
        Friend of Bill RE: brisket Nov 30, 2007 01:18 PM

        I agree with the Lindo Michoacan rec (as well as for its "sister" Bonito Michoacan on Decatur at Twain). I also like Diego in the MGM Grand.

      2. j
        Justjenn RE: thingfiz Nov 30, 2007 01:26 PM

        I agree with Eric , never been really impressed with the Michoacan restaurants either -- in fact had some pretty bad experiences at the Bonito one. I like Viva Mercado as well but I heard they recently changed ownership so not sure if that has changed things. I really like Diego's but not your typical Mexican fare. I think Casa Don Juans downtown offers some pretty authentic mexican and its pretty consistent. And if your going for atypical and on the strip I still like Border Grill. I was supposed to go to Diablo's at the Monte Carlo for my bday but it rained and we wanted to sit on the patio so I haven't gotten to it yet but it seems pretty chainey menu wise...I hear its a fun time though.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Justjenn
          thingfiz RE: Justjenn Dec 5, 2007 02:19 PM

          Thanks for everybodys input. anybody else - keep em comming. Usually do only half the things i want to do when i get in town. Check with www.lasvegastripreport.com for my comments on what we had time to try. thanks again and anything else worth trying ( no big buck places ) let me know. i don't mind spending money on food but i'm not into squid or rabbit and crap like that. atmosphere is great but it's only worth so much. THANKS AGAIN

        2. g
          George G. RE: thingfiz Dec 5, 2007 02:46 PM

          Diablo's at Monte Carlo is a Brian Massie creation and his track record is actually pretty good with FIX, STACK, etc. I haven't tried Diablo's yet but his record would suggest a decent, party vibe type of place that might be stronger on the cantina side than the restaurant side but still very good overall. Please let us know if this is not correct when you try it.

          I agree with those who don't like the Salt Lick very much. Their side dishes are really bad and only their sausage can be recommended. It is pretty good for that however.

          TC's can be vouched for but I haven't tried Buzz's yet.

          I don't think that Mexican can be recommended here in Vegas especially if you prefer Tex-Mex or New Mexico style cooking. I haven't found one Mexican place that I really liked including Viva Mercados and the Michoacans. When I want a huge serving of nachos for football watching, the carne asada nachos at Roberto's are a great bargain.

          4 Replies
          1. re: George G.
            Foodandwine RE: George G. Dec 6, 2007 03:12 PM

            Heard allot about the BBQ at Ellis Island. Any Comments??

            1. re: Foodandwine
              GroovinGourmet RE: Foodandwine Dec 8, 2007 04:33 PM

              Not familiar with that. I was going to mention Memphis Championship near the airport. I have no experience, but noticed it driving from the rent cars.

              As for Mex, I'm a Michoacan fan. Huge menu, yummy stuff.

              1. re: Foodandwine
                Dominic RE: Foodandwine Dec 18, 2007 01:19 PM

                I also heard a lot of good things about the BBQ at Ellis Island Casino. I am from Dallas and have had my share of great BBQ. I went there in April of this year. I got to the door 5 minutes after they opened. The line was only 4 or 5 people deep. I figured, Cool! No such luck. When we got up to the hostess we were told that the wait was 3 HOURS!!! We were starving and had to leave. The place smelled incredible!!! FYI – Pork Ribs and Chicken only. No Brisket.

                1. re: Foodandwine
                  sherry5150 RE: Foodandwine Dec 26, 2007 07:58 PM

                  Ellis Island.....good barbeque, especially the ribs. And, it's a great value. They have great beers on tap too. The wait is long, but there are a ton of video poker machines, so the time went quickly for us :)

              2. jbyoga RE: thingfiz Dec 8, 2007 05:00 PM

                Lindo Michoachan - is so freakin good ! Get the Guac!

                1. shamu613 RE: thingfiz Dec 13, 2007 08:39 PM

                  Went to Buzz BBQ a few months ago. It's hard to find... and I live here!

                  First, the good news. The aroma of smoke nearly knocks you over as you walk in the place. Can't say that for any other BBQ place in town. The portions were healthy compared to other BBQ places in town, but still rather skimpy compared to Dr. Hogly Wogly's Tyler Texas BBQ, and sides okay. Wifey said her ribs were good, not great. Could have been more fallin' off the bone sort of tender for her taste. I don't do anything with bones in it, so I ate brisket, pulled pork and andoullie sausage.

                  Now for the bad news... the brisket was tasty, but dry. They do a dry rub, but I prefer a wet rub. The andoullie sausage was a poor substitute for hot links for me. I love andoullie in all manner of cajun but it just doesn't work in BBQ. The baked beans and collard greens were good but the "ice water cole slaw" must be an acquired taste, cause it had no taste to me.

                  The most annoying part of the meal was that everything was packed to go in styroform containers and delivered to our table. No plates, no flatware, no glasses. Nothing but styroform and the cheapest plastic utensils ever made. Just freaking annoying!

                  Doubt we'll ever go back. Sad to say that there's better tasting BBQ at a chain restaurant called Famous Dave's.

                  Dr Hogly Wogly's Tyler Texas BBQ
                  8136 Sepulveda Blvd, Panorama City, CA 91402

                  Famous Dave's
                  1951 N Rainbow Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89108

                  1. vegasmike RE: thingfiz Dec 26, 2007 08:06 PM

                    The Cantina at the Tuscany on Flamingo is really good. They serve a warm bean dip with their chips and salsa. The chili rellenos are excellent! Try the Grand Lux in the Venetian for lunch, one of the best coffee shops in town.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: vegasmike
                      sherry5150 RE: vegasmike Dec 26, 2007 08:18 PM

                      Yes! The Grand Lux is good! They have a bit of everything, and the prices are reasonable. They also own The Cheesecake Factory, which is popular in Chicago.

                    2. m
                      markvegas RE: thingfiz Dec 27, 2007 01:53 PM

                      Re: Ellis Island comment about 3 hour wait – this is standard, even when the place is empty. A group of us used to there after work (Phantom of Opera) once a week, but finally stopped due to wait time and poor service once seated.

                      As to Mexican, I get up real early and drive to Old Town Albuquerque and eat at Little Anita’s. Come home the next day.

                      For a city that is 50+% Hispanic, I have found the choices here rather poor.

                      1. k
                        kjs RE: thingfiz Dec 27, 2007 09:32 PM

                        while listening to the radio this evening, heard a commercial for RUB in the rio talking about how long they cook their ribs, brisket , etc. i'm hitting it next week....

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: kjs
                          brisket RE: kjs Dec 28, 2007 05:36 PM

                          Thanks for the tip -- I wondered earlier today when I drove past the Rio if RUB had opened...

                          1. re: brisket
                            kjs RE: brisket Dec 28, 2007 07:08 PM

                            i heard the seafood buffet at rio closed...is that the space rub took over ? i kinda hope so because my SO keeps bugging me about taking her to the seafood buffet ( she loves it, i don't ) and i did tell her i thought it closed...now i'll tell her i'll take her and ...oh darn...well since we are here...might as well try...RUB !!

                            1. re: kjs
                              brisket RE: kjs Dec 29, 2007 12:35 PM

                              No idea about that. The location's described in a press release I've since seen as "Located on the second level of the Masquerade Village inside the Rio, RUB BBQ will feature live bands on the weekends, from a variety of musical genres.

                              Rub BBQ is open for dinner from 4 p.m. – 11 p.m. Monday and Tuesday; open for lunch and dinner beginning at 11 a.m. Wednesday – Sunday."

                              1. re: brisket
                                brisket RE: brisket Dec 30, 2007 05:11 PM

                                So the gf and I went to Rub today... and weren't especially impressed. There were some shortcomings which I'm willing to chalk up to the fact that it's only been open for a few days, but I wasn't impressed by some of the food and found the prices pretty high.

                                We ordered "The Baron", which came in at $49.75, and was billed as including beef, chicken, pork, ham, pastrami, turkey, sausage and a quarter rack of pork ribs. What we got was that stuff, minus pastrami and sausage, which they were out of, at 1:30pm on a Sunday, along with several other items. I thought that was pretty poor -- especially to have run out of all three varieties of sausage, but I was willing to overlook it.

                                The brisket was pretty good, but that's colored by my own biases... the smoke flavor was very, very heavy, which I quite like, but I think will be too strong for many people. It's sliced thin, and almost shaved; I generally prefer it a bit thicker. The chicken quarter was good (though nothing particularly special), the turkey was fine, and the ham was pretty nice. Then there were the other pork products. The pulled pork was, frankly, fairly terrible. It was very dry, and didn't have much flavor, and had a very fatty texture. The ribs weren't good at all. They were dried out, and it was clear they'd been pre-sliced then left to sit for some time. I found the pork products particularly disappointing given the owner's reputation, as well as the pedigree of the pitmaster.

                                The plate we ordered did come with a lot of meat (as well as two large sides; the cucumber tomato salad was probably the best thing we had overall, it was fantastic. Skip cole slaw and go for that) -- but nowhere near $50 worth in my opinion. All the prices seemed pretty high, but I guess you're paying strip prices: $21 for a two-meat combo plate (extra if you want ribs) and $3 for iced tea, as a couple of examples.

                                I might go back and give Rub another try in a few months after they've had a chance to get the kinks out, but it won't be at the top of my list. For what they're charging, they really need to deliver some pretty stellar smoked meats, and they didn't do that for me today. I know it's new, so I'm willing to be somewhat forgiving. But this isn't the owner nor the pitmaster's first rodeo, so I expected more.

                                FYI -- if you check out the menu on the Rub site, the prices they're charging at the Vegas location are generally $2 higher that what's listed online.

                                1. re: brisket
                                  kjs RE: brisket Jan 1, 2008 10:50 AM

                                  brisket - thanks for the review ...i was going to wait for post new years and CES before i hit it...was it easy getting in ? definitely sounds like "strip" prices or i guess given it's not on the strip - we'll say vegas "resort" prices....i'm trying to remember what i paid at salt lick for a combo - i think it was about $17-18 ...it's been awhile but i was not planning a return visit.

                                  1. re: kjs
                                    brisket RE: kjs Jan 2, 2008 01:42 PM

                                    It was no problem getting in, it was maybe 1/3 full on a Sunday afternoon.

                                    IIRC, you can do the all you can eat at the Salt Lick for something like $18.

                              2. re: kjs
                                brisket RE: kjs Dec 30, 2007 04:45 PM

                                kjs - I don't know if Rub took over the seafood buffet location, but there are signs inside saying the buffet is closed until early 2008 for renovations... so I guess you're off the hook for now :)

                                1. re: kjs
                                  masstech RE: kjs Dec 31, 2007 06:09 PM

                                  The Village Seafood Buffet is supposed to reopen in March 2008 in its old location all the way back from the Valley View entrance on the first floor. It's behind the circular bar.

                                  I haven't been to RUB but if it's on the second floor it is a different location. I remember the prime rib at the buffet being okay although everyone eats mostly seafood there.

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