We at ELV love burgermeister Hubert Keller, and steak hache impressario Laurent Tourondel is one of our best friends. So consternation and contumaciousness confounds our conscience as we contemplate crowing about Comrade Kerry’s comestibles.
One thing we love about Kerry Simon is we’re always giving him a hard time about being a high brow, classically-trained chef cooking such low brow food. But he takes it like the good sport he is, and is never less than gracious about any criticism he receives.
Truth be told, we give our good buddy LT the same shite, and both of them shrug it off with the same insouciance. Neither has anything left to prove as a chef, and both enjoy running restaurants that don’t require endless, critic-pleasing cartwheels to keep their reputations afloat.
All three of these uber-chefs have burger restaurants in our humble burg, and a ground beef patty at either BLT Burger, Burger Bar, or KGB: Kerry’s Gourmet Burgers, is so full of roasted, juicy, beefy goodness that you are reminded why ground steak seduced the American post-war palate, and what the de-nuded, fast food versions have done to its former magnificence.
One of our favorite hamburger anecdotes is that, on the original Delmonico’s menu in mid-19th Century New York, ground beef was as expensive as regular cuts of steak, chops, etc.. In fact, it was one of the more expensive things on the menu due to its having to be ground, seasoned, shaped, etc. before it was cooked. Hamburger, a luxury item? Go figure.
If that old tidbit is one of our favorites, it comes in right beside another, brand new favorite: KGB’s Classic American — a simple, Creekstone Farms, all-natural, beef burger, lightly packed, properly seasoned, and expertly grilled, nestled in a large, house-made, impeccably fresh, glazed bun. It may the best burger in town. It is certainly the best cheeseburger we’ve had this year. Great burgers are all about proportions — from the bread to beef ratio to the amount of cheese and condiments, everything must be in perfect balance so each accent surrounding the beef compliments, instead of detracts from, the goodness within.
One thing that sets KGB’s beauty apart is its $11 price tag — quite a bargain for Creekstone Farms beef. Another plus is Simon doesn’t overwhelm you with choices — you can build your own here, but it won’t take you a half hour to mix and match dozens of ingredients, as only a handful of top quality choices are offered in each category. Combine that with a foot long, garlicky Nathan’s Famous tube steak (served on a superior hot dog roll with house-made, spicy relish), some sweet potato tater tots, and a malted milkshake sample platter, and you have the perfect all-American meal.
The super-cool, retro-Soviet decor is also a plus — even if it’s way too hip for the room — the room in this case being the hotel housing Harrah’s slack-jawed hordes.
Is it the best burger in town? Probably too early to early to tell, but we will harp that the next time we get a hankerin’ for a hamburger, we’re headin’ to Harrah’s.
KGB: Kerry’s Gourmet Burgers
In Harrah’s Hotel and Casino
3475 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109