Lunch at Todd English's P.U.B.
Staying at the "Death Ray" (Vdara), and wanted someplace for lunch. The City Center "complex" has turned (apparently) into a home away from home for us -- last time we were at the Mandarin Oriental, and "Crystals" is the adjoining shopping center/mall where Todd English's P.U.B. is located. My wife and I checked out the menu prior to leaving Berkeley, and knew this would be a great spot for lunch . . .
Todd English is like the under-the-radar Bobby Flay. Aside from the Home Shopping Network (or is it QVC?), you really don't see him on television much, but between Olive's, Figs, and who knows what else, he's everywhere! But this is his first and, to date, only PUB (or Public Urban Bar).
Countless beers on tap -- I think over 60 -- including some cask conditioned ales (yes!), the food is close to perfect, and the portions are HUGE! Lynn and I made the delicious mistake of ordering too much food, and thank heavens reinforcements arrived to help us finish!
We had something called "Dirty Chips" -- America's answer to nachos, this is sinfully good and truly dangerous! Kettle chips tossed in bleu cheese, bits of amazingly delicious bacon, scallions, and served with fried chicken livers . . . just at beer and a football game and you're in heaven (albeit on a rapid descent to hell, if your doctor ever finds out!). Seriously delicious, but don't order this unless you can share it with at least three other people!
The iceberg wedge with bleu cheese and a bacon vinaigrette, avocado, tomato, and chopped egg is a classic, and served ice cold; the duck buns (three to an order) with shredded duck, hoisin and scallions were better than they had a right to be (delicious, though better at a true dim sum palace, to be honest). And then, we moved onto the mains . . .
Lynn had the pastrami sliders -- three excellent little sandwiches on rye parker house rolls, with kraut, swiss cheese and served with skinny fries . . . OK, I had one of the three.
I opted for the brown butter lobster rolls -- three rolls filled with freshly shucked lobster, warm brown butter aioli, served with slaw and kettle chips -- as if we hadn't had enough of those already!
All this paired beautifully with pints of Chimay white (in the proper glasses, BTW) -- a very filling, but very delicious lunch. In fact, it's almost noon as I write this . . . maybe I'll have lunch there today, too.
I ate there last month -- a last lunch before heading to the airport. I had the chicken parm sliders and a side of mac & cheese. It was an exercise in extremes -- I could have eaten my body weight in the mac & cheese, but the sliders were an extraordinary failure. The breading on the chicken was soggy, and the shredded iceberg lettuce on them fared even worse. I found them to be flavorless and overall just...well, soggy. But my lunchmate enjoyed his shepherd's pie & there was that mac & cheese...so I'd give it another go. But I'd definitely avoid those chicken parm sliders....
Love, love, love this place. We had dinner there for the first time a few months ago and liked it so much we went back for lunch the next day. Totally agree about the lobster rolls. Their carvery meats are also excellent. We split a variety of those at lunch. Great sandwiches, cold beer and baseball on tv...what's not to like?