The Kitchen Pickle Jar ($6) at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar is an automatic order, an obviously perfect way to start your meal. It’s a colorful assortment of house-pickled vegetables, almost always containing carrots, tomatillos, two different kinds of cucumbers and bright yellow cauliflower seasoned (and painted) with turmeric.
But that’s just the tip of the pickle iceberg at Yardbird. If you know chef Todd Harrington, you know he doesn’t like to be outdone. When he found out the kitchen at the original Yardbird in Miami was making 11 different pickles, he decided to double it. Vegas Yardbird has at least 22 different pickles available at all times from okra, jalapeño and turnips to mustard seed, fennel, and hard-boiled eggs made red from beet juice.
Harrington and his crew are pickling oysters. They’re pickling sauerkraut for sandwiches. They’re pickling watermelon rind with sweet, sour, almost cinnamon-y results, thanks to a bit of allspice in the brine. They’re pickling two or three times a week with 19 different brines and the best seasonal vegetables they can find. They’re pickling cucumbers with Kool-Aid, which is apparently a thing in the South and needs to be tasted to be believed. So next time you eat at Yardbird, pay attention to your pickles, and maybe ask for more of your favorites.
Yardbird Venetian, 702-297-6541. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-midnight; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m.