A Whole Buncha Lunches

It’s not news that ELV eats out more than anyone in Las Vegas.

No brag, just fact.

In fact, so often are we in restaurants it’s hard for us to keep up with ourselves in posting about them.

So we’ll just combine a whole buncha recent lunches into a single post with some brief commentary about each…

We were hankerin’ for a hamburger the other day, and couldn’t get in to Stripburger, so we moseyed on down to Society in Encore: [nggallery id=707]

where we ordered up a few plates of gourmet bar food that pretty much sets the standard for chicken wings (with a killer blue cheese dressing), pigs in blankets (with housemade ketchup), and a burger that was just the right size (not too big or too small), finely ground, blood rare, juicy, and gooooood.

And those addictive pretzels are nothing to shake a stick at either.

Then, as is our wont, we needed some Asian infusion, so we checked out Wendy’s Noodle Cafe: [nggallery id=706]

on Jones near Spring Mountain (in a former Taco Bell). Yes, there is a god…and she has quite the sense of humor. Truth be told, we’ve been twice now, and in spite of the new decor, friendly staff, soft prices and easy-to-navigate menu, we find the food to be run of the mill. Not that bad, mind you, just not that good either. But the price is right, and that bland-looking egg custard dish (above) was a soft, barely set, silky smooth, and eggy delight.

The next day we were hungry (imagine that?) so we remembered our promise to Bobby Flay to give his restaurant a second look. So off we went to Mesa Grill: [nggallery id=709] with Sarah “The Feldbergian” Feldberg to check out the vittles. True to our word, we approached our meal with an open mind. “What’s the thing we’d probably like the least,” was our thought as we perused the menu. “The mahi mahi….Yes!” we thought to ourselves. “We know we’re gonna hate it…so let’s see what the Flay-ster’s crew can do…”¬† It may sound counter-intuitive, but setting yourself up for disappointment is sometimes the best way to give a kitchen a fair shake. We do it with beet dishes all the time.

And you know what? The grilled fish was perfect, beautifully composed, and accented to a fare thee well with roasted pineapple-cascabel chile sauce, and a pineapple-green onion salsa. Everything was in balance, nothing overwhelmed the fish, but each flavor came through loud and clear.

The Feldbergian pronounced herself only moderately satisfied with her chicken tacos, but we told her that was her fault for ordering something she thought she was going to like.

Spicy had seduced our receptacles, so we sashayed speedily to Border Grill: [nggallery id=708]

at the next noon hour to see what satisfying sustenance those soothsayers of Serranos — Chef Mike Minor and the Two Hot Tamales — were sowing.

Bold flavors have never been a problem here (unlike some awfully bland stuff we’ve been served at Mesa Grill), and that old reliable, the Baja ceviche, is always good to recalibrate the palate. Bright, fishy (in a good way), acidic and spicy, it may be the best pick me up out there, and was followed by a shredded chicken salad that was a peppery delight in its own right, and our old standby, the cochinita pibil — achiote pork roasted in a banana leaf with red rice, black beans and a plantain orange salsa. About the only thing we don’t like about the Border Grill is that it isn’t closer to our house.

From there it was back into the breach one more time, for one more lunch at Mesa Grill:  [nggallery id=710]

before we tackle it for dinner. Like we said: We promised Boy-Meets-Grill-Bobby we’d give it a fair shot before hanging another formal review on it, and so we will.

This lunch (with The Frugal Foodie) had its ups and downs, and we can’t say we were all that thrilled with our sorta dry Cuban sandwich, or her unwieldy salad, but the steak tartare brought some serious Southwestern heat (even if it was a bit cold — indicating pre-made and time spent in the fridge), and the coconut cake was moist, plenty coconutty, and delish. Aside from the headache they gave ELV, there’s no faulting the drinks here either.

SOCIETY  at Encore

3121 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89109



3401 South Jones Blvd.

Las Vegas, NV 89146



In Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino

3570 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89109




In the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino

3590 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89119



MESA GRILL – Boy Meets Boredom

We”ve had it. We are done. Finished. Fin. Finito. Kaput. Over and out. Die ende. Sfarsit (Romanian). Wakas (Tagalog) and isigcino (Zulu) with Mesa Grill.

And no matter how many of you tell us how “awesome” or “interesting” or “tasty” it is, we’re never believing you again.

Because you are wrong.

Because we’ve now eaten there at least ten times and never had anything (except the excellent burger and the cornbread pudding) that was the least bit spicy, intriguing, or compelling from a foodie-point-of-view.

And the “spicy” chicken hash was the last straw…containing as it did, minimal “spiciness” and being bereft of chicken.

We know this because we picked through all those potatoes in the hash whilst furiously fishing for flotsam flecks of fowl flesh and infuriatingly finding figments of fugaciously few.

The difference between youse guys and ELV is: we at ELV feel it’s our duty to go back to places that have disappointed us, whenever a friend or colleague (or perhaps just someone with a strong opinion) tells they “really like” a place that we don’t.

So back and back we’ve gone, again and again, hoping against hope that Boy Meets Grill Boy will show us something.


And what we always get is a bunch of tepid, uninspired, barely “spicy” “creations” that are bland or boring or both.

If you really want interestingly spiced food, at a fraction of the price, we suggest going to Los Antojos…or Los Molcajetes, or Salvadoreno Cafe, or Border Grill, or Frank and Fina’s, or….or….

Or if you just want to bask in the absentee aura of a Food Network God, and pay $70 for lunch (no booze) like we did last week, keep your trap shut the next time we’re around each other.

Or until Bobby finds some inspiration.

But don’t hold your breath.


In Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino

3570 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89109