WE LOOSEN OUR BELTS FOR THE GREATER GASTRONOMIC GOOD
There are burgers — and then there are burgers. A great hamburger requires wisdom and skill to make right. It’s gotta be thick, it’s gotta be juicy. And when you bite into a really fantastic burger — complete with a light, fluffy bun, maybe with a lot of toppings, maybe by its naked old self — well, you might as well have died and gone to heaven.
Vegas, which has everything (and a lot of it), also has its share of amazing burgers and burger joints. Here are a few of the best:
Le Burger Brasserie, an elegant sports bar at Paris Las Vegas, features the world’s most creative burgers — and some of the priciest. At $777, the restaurant’s signature Kobe beef and Maine lobster burger is crowned with caramelized onions, four layers of imported Brie, crispy prosciutto and 100-yearaged balsamic vinegar, and served with a bottle of Rose Dom Pérignon champagne. Pass on the bubbly, and the burger costs a mere $77. Delicious, juicy, cooked to perfection, it’s so big you and your partner can split it. The waffle fries are divine, too. (www.parislasvegas.com)
A traditional no-frills burger cooked to order and scrumptiously seasoned, the BLT Burger at the casually hip BLT Burger at the Mirage is many steps up from the ordinary. At $13, the 7-ounce piece of certified Angus beef — a combination of sirloin, short rib, chuck and brisket (ground on site), is topped sky-high with double-smoked bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions and ultra-tasty BLT Burger sauce. The toppings and the sauce, which should overwhelm one another, instead work together in taste-bud-pleasing harmony. Sides include jalapeño poppers, fried pickles and eight types of fries and rings (all made in-house). (www.bltburger.com)
Go to Stripburger, a low-key eatery adjacent to sister restaurant Café Ba Ba Reeba! at the Fashion Show Mall, and head straight for the Famous Bleu Cheese Burger ($8.95 — what a deal on the Strip!). The creation, made with a special blend of alfalfa-sprout-fed beef, is covered with creamy bleu cheese, thin crispy onions, pickles, lettuce and tomato, and framed by a signature bun that manages to be soft and supple while keeping its shape. Try a side of extra-delish sweet-potato fries, dusted with a combination of sugar, salt and spices and served with a sweet-and-spicy creamy barbeque sauce. (www.stripburger.com)
So, you could build your own magnificent burger at Hubert Keller’s Burger Bar at Mandalay Place, choosing from a gazillion different toppings, or you could just order the fantabulous Rossini Burger, a bargain at $60. Named after a 19th-century Italian composer whose love for fine food was legendary, this Kobe beef burger features sautéed foie gras, shaved truffles and a rich brown Madeira sauce on a remarkably fresh onion bun. We’re talking rich — Hubert Keller, of “Top Chef” fame, knows what he’s doing. Order the buttermilk zucchini fries for an ideal accompaniment, then invent your own milkshake from more than 60 ingredients, among them gummy bears and Jagermeister. (www.burgerbar.com)
Finally, there’s the Perfect Burger at LBS: A Burger Joint at Red Rock Casino and Spa. A gourmet burger without the gourmet attitude, the hefty Perfect Burger is made with 100% Hereford beef (28-day dry aged), artisanal Gruyére cheese, applewood smoked bacon, herb mayo (made on site), LBS sauce (their own version of ketchup, also made on site), frisee (curly lettuce), red onion marmalade and oven-roasted tomato, served on a sweet egg brioche or whole wheat bun. The price was just reduced to $13.75 and includes hand-cut fries to boot.
--Andrea Kahn, Custom Publishing Writer