The Mayor of Flavortown Burger

The Mayor of Flavortown Burger at Guy Fieri's Vegas Kitchen & Bar
The thing I notice most about the food at Guy Fieri's Las Vegas restaurants—there are two now—is the presentation. This burger is not just put together. It's carefully constructed for maximum height and to make sure it looks like you could never get your mouth around it, but it also needs to be a bit sloppy, as if the kitchen crew didn't use any tweezers placing a single strand of the caraway seed coleslaw intentionally out of place. And the fries, even ... they're not in an kind of container. They're just pile-mounted onto a metal frame with a piece of paper holding them up. It's quite scientific. It's pretty tasty, too, especially if you can manage to order this sucker by name without giggling. The burger is good quality meat, smash-grilled for juiciness and nicely textured outside (but mine was just a bit overdone), and piled with pastrami, Swiss cheese, that slaw, pickles, fried onion strings and Dijon mustard, all on top of a garlic-buttered pretzel bun. All those flavors get a little bit muddled; it still tastes like a burger first and foremost. But you do get little tingles of the 'strami and the pickles and the mustard, and the chewy bun makes it even more satisfying. This probably isn't the best burger at Guy's first Vegas spot, but it's pretty close to being on the money.



Dallas at Bobby's Burger Palace
Perhaps it was inevitable. When Bobby Flay expanded his Burger Palace chain to the Las Vegas Strip, we didn't really care, until we went and ate the burgers (and drank the shakes) and goddamnit if we didn't love this place. The fancy burgers were a little less expansive and a little less fancy than the other casino burger shops, and it was glorious. So we kept coming back. But at last, disappointment. We ordered the Dallas, allegedly a spice-crusted patty with coleslaw, jack cheese, barbecue sauce and pickles, and we "crunchified" it by adding potato chips because even though this seems ridiculous, it has worked for us in the past. This was just short of a titanic fail. I don't know what spices were crusted on this burger, but salt was the only thing we could taste. Combine some Lay's and a runny barbecue sauce that was more savory and steak sauce-ish than sweet and tangy, and you have a one-note salt bomb from which there is no escape. Pickles usually make everything better but this just wasn't going to happen. The meat, though cooked medium rare, was bland and mushy on the inside. We'll always have fond memories of Bobby's, but with Shake Shack, Fatburger and Fukuburger within Strip walking distance of this shop, I don't think we'll be able to find a reason to return. It was yum while it lasted.


Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Buttermilk Fried Chicken at Bruxie
When this thing was brought out to me, I was less than excited. You can't just call something a sandwich if it's not, and the combo of fried chicken and waffles—though unanimously delicious—does not just become a sandwich because you say so. But then I picked this thing up, California chain Bruxie's original and most popular offering of a buttermilk fried chicken breast with cider slaw and chili honey plopped into a light, crisp, Belgian waffle, folded it over, and took a few bites, and it did in fact behave like a sandwich. Mostly. Though Bruxie does manage to mitigate the sweetness of the waffle, the texture is a bit dry and crumbly, and the flavor is muddled. But the airyness of the waffle is a fine complement to the crispy breading of the chicken, creating a nice texture in each bite. The chicken itself is stellar, juicy and tender inside and seasoned well outside. The slaw is a little odd at first, and there's not much of it, but the chili honey goes a long way in bringing everything together. Bruxie, a new addition to the Las Vegas Strip, has potential. My guess is this basic chicken waffle sandwich is only the starting point and tastier options await. To be continued.