Well, I should have known. Just weeks after I visited, Mainland closed, presumably due to the horrible economy and lack of business.Palazzo (last visit: November 2008).
Noodle shops have become popular on the Strip, and Mainland joins a growing crowd. It's one of the less expensive options at the Palazzo.
Mainland offers dishes from several countries. There's pho from Vietnam, pad Thai from, well, Thailand, and sweet potato noodles from who the hell knows where (Korea, maybe). There are also duck potstickers, and a toasted marshmallow milkshake that has received its share of praise. For the more adventuresome there's a durian shake; having once tried durian, I have no desire to sample that delicacy ever again.
As the pictures show, it feels very modern. Semicircular tables provide communal seating. Music plays at a moderate level. Smiling servers provided was very friendly service, almost to the point of obsequiousness.
Lunch consisted of a Toasted Marshmallow Shake and Mainland Ramen Soup.
The Marshmallow Shake was served in a tall glass, with a little whipped cream and a well toasted marshmallow on top. The milk shake base was appropriately thick and creamy, but what made it a winner was the authentic toasted marshmallow flavor in every sip. It had the sweet but burnt flavor of a marshmallow cooked over an open fire - just like I remember from childhood. Delicious!
Mainland Ramen Soup was accurately described as having "ramen, pork two ways, pea leaves, fish cake, hardboiled egg, bamboo, scallion, bean sprouts." What may not be obvious from the pictures is that it was a big bowl. The soup had an excellent fishy flavor, and was not too salty. It was full of tasty ingredients: shredded pork (loin?), rectangles of something that tasted like meaty bacon but was hard to bite through, a hardboiled egg whose outside looked as if it had been colored with tea, loads of noodles, a fish cake that I liked but is an acquired taste, plus all the other listed ingredients. I wasn't expecting much, but it was surprisingly good - definitely worth ordering again.
At first glance, Mainland doesn't look like much. Don't let that stop you. It provides very good food at prices that are much lower than most restaurants in the area.
The meal was $21 plus tax and tip.
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