Mandalay Place (last visit: May 2010).
Chef Hubert Keller came to Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino to run the very fancy Fleur de Lys. While waiting for it to open, he amused himself by opening the very un-fancy Burger Bar. It offered an upscale experience - for a hamburger joint - and now has several imitators on The Strip.
If you look hard enough you can find other things, but the real reason to come here is for a hamburger. Your burger is completely customizable. Choose beef (regular or American Wagyu), lamb, turkey or veggie. Choose from dozens of topping choices, including all manner of vegetables, meats, foie gras and even truffles. There are even dessert burgers, made out of things like chocolate, peanut butter and fruit.
Half café, half sports bar, it's an informal place. The restaurant is long and narrow, with a food bar as well as tables. Several televisions are tuned to sports stations. During a busy lunch time, service was a little slow, but not bad.
I started with a vanilla shake. As far as I could tell, it was made with nothing except for rich ice cream and rich milk. It was...well...rich. It was also huge. Part one was served in an old fashioned sundae fountain glass. Part two - the leftovers - was served in a steel mixing cup, of the type once used to make milk shakes. In any case, it was an excellent version.
I ordered a Black Angus burger, medium, with Swiss cheese and a fried egg. The meat was loosely packed, juicy and flavorful - in short, a really good burger. Worth noting:
(1) Lettuce, tomato and the like come on the side, as do condiments.
(2) The burger is quite large - perhaps 8 ounces.
(3) When I ordered the burger medium, the server warned me that it would come pink all the way through - which it did. To me, that's actually what medium means. It wasn't red, and the meat was warm all the way through. In any case, I was happy.
I also ordered sweet potato fries. They were only slightly thicker than shoestring type, but somehow managed to remain soft and moist on the inside. The sweet potato flavor was actually discernible. As with everything else, the portion was very large.
I've eaten here three more times, and have the some opinion - Burger Bar serves a very good hamburger, very good sweet potato fries, and very good shakes (I can also recommend the Brown Cow, with hot fudge and chocolate whipped cream). I've tried the slightly cheaper Ridgefield Farm burger, and the natural beef as well, and didn't notice any difference - but since the meals were months apart, my memory is suspect. It's also worth noting that the fried egg is cooked over easy - be careful not to spill liquid egg all over yourself, as I very nearly did.
I've had a better burger or two, but only at much higher prices. The food here is very good indeed. My only warning is that the portions are large; consider splitting with a friend. As it was, I ended up barely touching the delicious milk shake, and most of the fries were left as well.
A typical burger selection will run around $10 - $15. Go super fancy with Wagyu beef, truffles and foie gras, and it can hit $60.
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