Road Trip Review: Burger Bar - Las Vegas, NV (w/ photos!)
Our last full day in Las Vegas started with a trip to Mandalay Bay and our search for a great burger. We had heard good things about Burger Bar, the Hubert Keller production that has been getting good reviews.
After discovering the Village People Party slot machine and doing reasonably well, we headed up to pavilion that connected Mandalay Bay to Luxor and found Burger Bar. We were told it would be about a 15 minute wait and decided to do a little shopping to kill the time.
We only waited about 10 minutes before they were ready to seat us. We were taken to a four-top in the middle of the restaurant and given menus.
The set up was simple. You ordered a burger of various meats from traditional hamburger to Kobe beef or turkey, etc. The burger came with a choice of various buns and lettuce, onion, tomatoes and pickles. Everything else was a la carte. The choices were extensive with everything from caramelized onions to foie gras. You could also get side dishes as well.
We waited for what seemed an inordinate amount of time before we were approached by our server and then told she would bring us water. That took another inordinate amount of time.
When she returned, we placed our order. We both decided to have Iced Teas ($3.25) and chose the Angus Burger ($9.50) as our base. For J., the additions were the Ciabatta bun (included), the Chipotle Aiole ($0.45), Cheddar cheese ($0.70), Monterey Jack Cheese ($0.70), caramelized onions ($0.95), Pepper Bacon ($1.00), and a fried egg ($1.95). He chose the Sweet Potato Fries ($2.85) as his side dish. The total for his plate was $18.10.
On my side of things, I topped my Angus burger with Cheddar cheese ($0.70), alfalfa sprouts ($0.55), a fried egg ($1.95), Pepper Bacon ($1.00) and aioli ($0.45). For my side, I couldn’t pass up the Onion Rings ($3.45). My plate total was $17.60.
Our burgers came out fairly quickly and they looked very good. J.’s burger was overflowing with the items selected and the fries looked pleasing. After spreading the chipotle aioli on his burger he dove in to the large sandwich. J’s only comment was, “It’s good.” Now, I know J. well enough to understand that means it is decent. Nothing exciting or new or bold. Just decent. I asked for some additional comments and he said he thought the aioli was completely disappointing as there was no kick and it was fairly bland. He then had a very interesting observation: “The parts of the burger are much better than the sum.” He also noted that for the price point, the burger should have been much more dynamic and interesting. He also said the sweet potato fries were “good, but not amazing.” I thought they were pretty boring and lacked any really punch of flavor.
My burger looked great and I loved the whole wheat bun which was the highlight of the sandwich. That meant, of course, that the whole thing failed to excite me. The meat was good, and the veggie toppings were great and the pepper bacon was a standout, but there were flavors missing from the fried egg and the cheese and, certainly, the aioli. Like J., my aioli was incredibly bland with no discernible taste whatsoever. The big winners on the plate (and on the table for that matter) were the onion rings. They were outstanding. Big, meaty onion rings were breaded and deep fried until they were perfectly crisp. J. agreed they were great.
We were pretty full from the burgers and sides and passed on dessert, although J. was seriously considering the Beer Float Flight. We requested our bill and the total was $42.10 which included tax. Service was flat and disappointing. Overall, we didn’t think the value was there. Perhaps we hit an off day or we ordered the wrong thing. But, while the meal was good/decent/okay, it just seemed mundane.
With our bill paid, we returned to Mandalay Bay and the slot machines.
But our overall thoughts were the same: we liked Delux in Phoenix much better.
3930 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Hours: 11 AM to 3 AM Daily.
Notes: Located between Mandalay Bay and Luxor. You can enter the area from either side.
Alcohol: Full bar.
Additional photos can be found at www.feastinginphoenix.com
3950 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV
Good review, Seth. I'm loving the recent onslaught of activity. The burgers certainly look great in the pictures.
On a side note: am I the only one who isn't a big fan of the relatively recent "put-it-together-yourself" trend at some restaurants? If I wanted to do it myself, I might as well cook it in my own kitchen, no? Paying that much money, I guess I like having a chef use their talent, skill and imagination to pair ingredients in a dish for me. Maybe I'm just not used to such freedom, or perhaps I have some self-trust issues...
You make a good point about the burgers, but I want the best of both worlds. As I recall, the new burger joints offer some predefined combinations, but also offer choose-it-yourself. After all, sometimes I just have to have a hamburger with pancetta, swiss cheese and a fried egg!
I had a better experience at Burger Bar than you did, but agree, that it wasn't an "amazing" meal.
Bourbon Steak at the Scottsdale Fairmont has started offering upscale Burgers in their Bar area. They are $16, which includes 5 toppings (or they have some pre-selected options if you prefer to go that way). We found the experience far superior to Burger Bar - and their side of Duck Fat fries ($5) are amazing. We thought the burgers were pretty awesome, and it is a cheaper way to experience Bourbon Steak (which is pretty pricey regularly).
So, if you are looking for an expensive burger option, you may want to try locally.