Burger Quest 2010!
We were at our wits end on this one, folks. There are just too many damn good burger joints in Las Vegas. So this year, we asked our food critics, John Curtas and Brock Radke, to pick the Valley’s four best burger restaurants, both high-end and more affordable, and sent Contributing Editor Ken Miller to each to try their signature burger. There’s no winner here—you’ll have a fantastic burger at each of these places.
Smashburger’s Sin City Burger: This is the opposite of a burger cooked on a George Foreman Grill. That is to say, all of the fat stays in through a “smash” cooking process on an extra-thick grill, carmelizing a ready-to-eat burger in minutes. The result is a product nearly unmatched in texture and taste. It’s greasy as hell, but that’s kind of the point here. (So no angry letters, health nuts!) Every Smashburger countrywide has its own signature burger. The Sin City Burger contains half a pound of meat, fried egg, bacon, American cheese, grilled onions, haystack fried onions and Smash Sauce. Simply put, the flavor is relentless. 7541 W. Lake Mead Blvd., 982-0009.
Bradley Ogden’s Bradley Ogden Burger: Chef Todd Williams believes in keeping things simple. As a result, his burger, a half-pound blend of prime chuck and prime ribeye, comes with nothing on it except cheddar or bleu cheese. You have your choice of the usual condiments, as well as bread-and-butter and dill pickles (his grandmother’s secret recipe) and a small salad with vinaigrette that he says can be put on the burger. Take my advice: Use the condiments sparingly and eat the burger as it comes. This is burger-making at its best, and you really don’t want anything getting in the way. Plus, the pickles are eat-’em-one-at-a-time transcendent. At Caesars Palace, 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 731-7731.
BLT’s BLT Burger: Of all the burgers on this list, this is the most traditional. Nothing fancy here—just a great, 7-ounce piece of certified Angus beef—a combination of sirloin, short rib, chuck and brisket—topped high with double-smoked bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions and BLT Burger Sauce. The toppings never overwhelm the taste of the meat; rather, the flavors complement each other nicely, and the meat is perfectly seasoned. An extremely pleasant experience. At the Mirage, 792-7888.
Burger Bar’s Hubert Keller Burger: Perhaps the most jaw-droppingly delicious burger of the bunch, it’s easy to see why this is Chef Keller’s favorite. It’s a carefully assembled concoction of buffalo, bleu cheese, spinach and carmelized onions on ciabatta bread. The buffalo meat—notorious for being hard to cook exactly right—was flawless, smooth as silk, and while there was a generous dollop of bleu, it only enhanced the intense flavor. This is a place where making your own burger is encouraged, but we’d be hard-pressed to ever create something this good. At Mandalay Place, 632-9364.