The Barrymore has a lot going for it, with its scale being first on the list. It puts you in mind of a human-sized restaurant in a boutique hotel, with a groovy/cool decor, intimate rooms and a bar that invite you to linger rather than feel like you’re being hustled through a casino food/drink factory. It’s the sort of small hotel dining room that Vegas has been in need of for…like…forever.
Unlike The Artisan Hotel, the Royal Resort in which it is housed doesn’t exude some louche, gothic/porn fantasy vibe, nor does it feel like nefarious doings are going on all around you. You won’t feel like you have to shower after hanging out in its bar, nor will you find yourself thinking about (and afraid of) what’s really going on up in all those dark, dank, forbidding hallways and rooms.
But we digress.
Our lunch there last week taught us a couple of lessons we thought we’d learned long ago. Lesson #1: service off the Strip (when you stray from those finely tuned food factories) is always a crap-shoot; and, lesson #2: always check the bill.
We’ll return to those in a moment, but first, the food. Our dining companion, the Burger King of Vegas, liked the big round burger patty on a big soft English muffin bun, but complained that American cheese was served, rather than the requested cheddar. He found the beef beefy enough, but not as drop-your-socks-succulent as some other steakburgers.
ELV loved the vitello tonnato (a classic, underutilized Italian dish of cold, roast veal with tuna mayonnaise) and seriously liked the lobster roll — a nice, fresh, buttered roll with big chunks o’ crustacean — but wished its dressing had a bit more snap. The chopped salad was standard issue and the fish tacos — made with fresh corn tortillas and lightly seared mahi mahi — slightly better than that. The fries were first rate, as good or better as any you’ll find anywhere.
As we said at the start, service is a work in progress. There seemed to be several managers moving about at all times, and only about 20 people in the joint, but everything from filling the water glasses to the food delivery seemed to be uncoordinated and scattershot. Then the bill came — $126 for five with three glasses of wine and a few sodas. It seemed high to us, but we were in a rush and paid it with a $25 tip, without scrutinizing it.
Did anyone in the room have a clue who we were? No.
Did they treat us just like any other table? Yes, and (believe or not) sometimes that’s just the way we like it.
Did we like getting charged for a $15 burger we didn’t order? Nope, but it was our fault for taking these things for granted.
The lesson learned: When you’re just another schmoe, pay close attention to the bill of fare.
Let that be a warning to all of you fellow schmoes out there.
In the Royal Resort Hotel
99 Convention Center Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89109