Hamburgers, Hot Dogs….and Chili?

Just so you don’t think ELV’s gustatory grumblings are all about griottes, Gruyere and grenache (not to mention champagne, chanterelles and cerises…), here is an example of this weekend’s culinary adventures(?) so far.

As you can see, Chicago Hot Dogs on North Rancho Road is UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP, which, if experience is our guide in such things, means the food, ambiance, and service will change not a bit. (After all, the oeuvre of the Chicago hot dog allows for precious little in the way of creativity…)

You will also see an R-J “Best of…” sign in the window. Ignore it (as you always should). This place isn’t the best of anything.

But there are reasons to come here. The crowd is as relentlessly lowbrow as ever, and, as mentioned, the menu is unchanged…except that the Vienna dogs weren’t as hot (lukewarm was more like it); the fluorescent green relish wasn’t ladled on as copiously, and neither were the sport peppers or celery salt. But the buns were still nice and squishy and the faded Chicago memorabilia as faded and forlorn as it’s forever been.

Chicago Hot Dogs‘s hot dogs are hardly the best version of these classics in town. (ELV thinks the stand outside the Lowe’s on West Charleston is better, not to mention the one outside Costco* on MLK Blvd.) – but if you have a hankerin’ for a hot, and can’t get to The Weiner and Still Champion in Evanston, Illinois, these’ll do.

As for the burgers and chili….they came from BLT Burger in the Mirage. Fans of ELV know that BLT stands for Bistro Laurent Tourondel. Also, you know that LT is An Official Friend Of ELV — so any commentary on the deliciousness of the fare must be taken with a grain of fleur de sel.

That said, the burgers were as beefy and satisfying as ever, but the chili was a mess.

Not only did it have large (and we mean large) chunks of un-broken-up meat in the bottom of the to-go container (like three, ill-formed meatballs), but the spiciness we noticed from two earlier versions had been toned down. Perhaps the Culinary Union kitchen workers who cycle through this place (or the in-house, union chefs at the Mirage who do the same) weren’t paying attention. Regardless of who’s to blame, it was disappointing…

…as is the complete paucity of chili parlors around town. You know pickin’s are slim (from a chili-eating perspective) when you’re depending on a Frenchman to cook it for you.

Eating Las Vegas must ask the question: Is there nowhere to get a good bowl of chili con carne around here? Quelle horreur! Quelle horreur!

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* Having spent twenty years establishing himself as a snob in all things culinary and non-, ELV must never admit to having actually entered, much less shopped in one of these hideous, frightening, big box stores.

CHICAGO HOT DOGS

1078 North Rancho Road

Las Vegas, NV 89106

702.647.3647

www.chicagodogs.com

BLT BURGER

In the Mirage Hotel and Casino

3400 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89109

702.792.7888

http://www.mirage.com/restaurants/blt-burger.aspx

11 thoughts on “Hamburgers, Hot Dogs….and Chili?

  1. One of the best chili places in Vegas I had been to was “Red Rock Chili, Co.” that opened in a new center development on the east side of Eastern & Serene about two years ago and served about 8-10 different chilis with a couple rotating specials. Sadly, it’s franchisor could not keep corporate headquarters alive and filed bankruptcy sometime earlier this year. The franchisee of this location switched to a faux Texas theme and is now “Outlaw’s Backyard BBQ & Chili”. Same owners, mostly same employees, but the Chili is not nearly as good as Red Rock, but it is an acceptable option when the craving hits. My wife and I used to go to Red Rock Chili once a week, sometimes twice, now we hit Outlaws maybe once every other month. I need another option that is south of 215, east of I-15, west of Green Valley (my little fiefdom).

    William

  2. I had a suprisingly good bowl of steak chili at Claim Jumper the other night. Yes…Claim Jumper. Not that I need to explain myself…but they are kid friendly and don’t mind when my daughter throws food at the servers. Pretty decent food, actually, and in these times the price is right too.

  3. I actually was one of the son’s of Art Garceau, the original owner of this place, and I don’t know if you truely went to the right place.

    Yes, this was “BEST OF LAS VEGAS” to the Review Journal, and to most people, this place USED to be PACKED (I’m talking an 11 AM – 2 PM non-stop people) and only once a day or so would someone have a complaint, and those were usually the people trying to get their money back just because they didn’t want to pay, because they had been there before and knew my dad was the kind that was “The customer is always right. PERIOD.” kind of guy.

    I’ve gone to this place multiple times since my dad sold it (2006 I believe) and it has pretty much the same taste all the time’s I’ve gone back. I have gone to multiple other “Chicago Style Hot Dog” places, and none have matched up to these, as they’re shipped DIRECTLY from Chicago, along with EVERYTHING but the tables and chairs holding you and your food up pretty much.

    Again, I don’t know where you went, but this place is nothing like you described and you’re flat out wrong.

  4. Oh, and to add onto this, this is NOT a Chili place. I have no idea where you got that from, but this is NOT Tommy’s. You want “The best chili in town” go somewhere else, sure (Even though I still like it) but if you want the Best Hot Dogs in town, I’m going to continue sitting my butt in that chair and having it.

  5. I warms the cockles of ELV’s heart when people dig back over a year to find a post and then comment on it!

    And calm down Ryan! ELV really likes Chicago Hot Dogs (he’s been eating there for at least fifteen years)…it just seemed to him it had lost a bit of that je ne sais quoi that he remembered from years ago!

    Happy Hots to all!

  6. Honestly, I suggest you go back sometime soon, whoever that owner was, was apparently serving you food that WASN’T the authentic Chicago Hot Dogs that it originally was, which recent owners have seemed to stick to.

    Also, I just googled Chicago Hot Dogs along with reviews of it, and found this one hidden in one of the pages.

    I’ll agree that there is a loss of the scenery here, just a bit, but I still think it’s in general the same taste and same feel when my dad owned it.

  7. I went to Chicago Hotdogs to see if there was any difference or change recently and gladly all is the same. I think they make a great hot dog! Been to several places in LA and LV and this one is still the best.

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