Caesars Palace (last visit: October 2007).
This new American restaurant has gotten all sorts of awards. I first ate there in 2004, and was underwhelmed. The Blue Cheese Souffle appetizer was excellent, but the crispy sea bass was merely good, as was the apple sampling for dessert. Not worth prices well in excess of $100.
Based on my first experience, I planned to not return. However, in 2007 John Curtas, food critic for local radio station KNPR, waxed eloquent about Bradley Ogen's hamburger. I decided to give it a try.
The restaurant consists of lots of dark woods, with a dark stone floor. Medium volume vocals play in the background. It's quiet enough that one can hear other peoples' conversation, but they're not intrusive. Overall, it comes across as relaxed and friendly.
Sitting at the bar, there's a prix fixe menu available for a very reasonable $29. It's limited to a choice among just two appetizers, two entrees, and two desserts. However, since their hamburger was one of the choices, I went for it.
To stave off hunger while waiting for dinner - OK, OK, to keep me from getting embarrassingly plastered on one drink - I partook of their bread offerings. Small blue corn muffins were very good. Simple country bread was also good. I failed to write down the third variety.
My appetizer, simply described as Caesar salad, consisted of a stack of whole Romaine leaves. Each leaf was coated with an appropriately strong anchovy flavored dressing. The stack of leaves was topped with a generous amount of shaved Parmesan cheese. A few good croutons were sprinkled on the plates. It was one of the better Caesar salads I can remember.
I ordered my hamburger medium, with blue cheese. The meat was loosely packed, cooked just as I requested, and had excellent flavor - a truly beautiful burger. Las Vegas has a number of restaurants with reputations for great hamburgers, and I haven't eaten at most of them, but Bradley Ogden's hamburger is the best I've had so far. Oh yeah, the French fries were pretty good as well.
Dessert was butterscotch pudding: a small portion of nicely flavored pudding, with whipped cream and roasted pumpkin seeds. Two small sugar cookies accompanied the pudding. This isn't one of my favorite desserts, but I thought this version was pretty good.
I was much more impressed with my meal this time around. At $29, it was a real bargain.
Index of Restaurants