11 January 2010

Vegas: The Burger Bar

After some delays at the airport and almost missing our connecting flight, we arrived in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada.
After checking into the Mandalay Bay (the big gold building in the picture above), finding food became priority. And it just so happened that one of the places I NEEDED to go to was in our hotel, how convenient! Once we navigated through the casinos, lobbies, shops, and other restaurants, we grabbed a bar stool at Hubert Keller's Burger Bar.

I should tell you first that my expectations were high before I even walked through the doors. I read 100's of reviews of the Burger Bar, and Keller's other world famous restaurant, Fleur de Lys. I've seen him on Top Chef. One of my friends had recently met him when Burger Bar San Fransisco opened. Upscale burgers. Build your own burgers with dozens of unique toppings. Beer. Milkshakes. Dessert burgers. And the Rossini burger. The $60 Rossini burger. I knew for weeks that I was going to have the Rossini burger, it was going to be mine, all mine. Let me tell you about it:

Beer and Milkshakes were ordered.
Burgers were ordered.
And THE burger was ordered. The $60 Rossini burger arrived in front of me. Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe whoever threw together this burger forgot that it was $60 and forgot to make it presentable. Maybe it's just hard to make a brown burger with brown toppings and brown sauce on a brown bun look appealing. But in my opinion, for $60, it was worth a better try.
I tried to contain my disappointment. I thought back to the couple of negative reviews I read that said it wasn't worth anything near $60. I tried to be optimistic, to find the positive, to justify a $60 burger. It wasn't easy. The presentation was boring. It was a downright ugly burger. Did it taste good? Yes it did. The texture wasn't all that appealing. It melted in you mouth, yes, but the entire sandwich was soft and mushy, no variety. This was an average sized Kobe beef burger topped with sauteed foie gras, and shaved black truffles, and a black perigore truffle sauce on a soft bun. Sounds rich, and pricey, which is was, but the execution was poor. As much as I wanted to love this burger, to tell people about my delicious, totally worth the price Kobe-Foie Gras-Truffle burger, I couldn't. It needed color, it needed texture, and it needed a more substantial bun. To be honest, I was kind of bummed out about the whole thing. Thank goodness for dessert.

Our experience wasn't all disappointing. The milkshake was delicious, and the cold beer definitely hit the spot. Also, the buttermilk zucchini fries were awesome, I've made a mental note to make those this summer. But the best, most memorable part of our meal was the dessert. When I've told people about the Burger Bar, I kind of forget about the Rossini, and go on and on about this simple yet extremely taste bud satisfying dessert. When ordering the Rossini burger, you get a free dessert burger of your choice. It's not written on the menu, but I had heard of this, and almost thought it was not going to be offered to us. Once our plates were removed, we had a choice of a chocolate burger, a peanut butter and jelly burger, or a creamy cheesecake burger. I had this part of the meal decided ahead of time also. Cheesecake burger!!!
Delicious, delicious cheesecake burger. A warm glazed donut, cheesecake filling, caramelized pineapple, and strawberries. Go ahead, ask the who, what, when, where, whys...but it doesn't matter. It was delicious, and it definitely picked up some of the slack from the Rossini. A free $4 dessert saved the Burger Bar from a disastrous review from Kacey's Kitchen.Would I go to the Burger Bar again? Yes I would, without hesitation. I would not order a Rossini burger, even to give it a second chance. I would build my own burger lots and lots of colorful and texturedful toppings. I would get a side of buttermilk zucchini fries, a beer, and I would look forward to paying $4 for dessert.

Onto the ratings. As I post restaurant reviews, I will try to keep the rating style consistent. I will list the items ordered and the total bill price (before tax and tip). And each overall dining experience will be rated in 3 categories with a score between 1 - 1o:
1) Food, which will take into consideration taste and price (dollar to yum).
2) Atmosphere, the general vibe of the restaurant and quality of service.
3) Presentation, plating presentation and visual appeal of the food.

Burger Bar - Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Las Vegas, NV


Vanilla Milkshake
Maudite Beer
Rossini Burger with Zucchini Fries
Sliders with Skinny Fries
Cheesecake Burger

Food 7
Atmosphere 7
Presentation 6


  1. thanks for the great write up! I agree, presentation counts!

  2. Bummer that the burger was disappointing however, next time you're in SF we'll go to Fleur de Lys - that is guaranteed to NOT disappoint. It's amazing. Crap - I still owe you a dollar to yumm ratio visual graph...looks like you'll have to come back to SF so we can brainstorm and field test.

  3. I could murder a burger right about now.

  4. I've had the Rossini three times and it keeps me coming back. I find the mixture of flavors to be truly amazing. Burger Bar is a regular stop for us every time we're in Vegas.