Every once in awhile, I’ll read a blog post or message forum thread in which people express their opinions about “the best burger in Las Vegas”. Of course “best” is always subjective, dependent on personal taste, and it’s impossible for anyone to really say what is the “best” of anything, unless they’ve sampled a burger at every single one of the hundreds of restaurants in a given city. Still, it’s fun to discuss, because most of us who are carnivores will probably have a burger at some point during a trip to Vegas, and reading about other people’s favorites may inspire us to try some of them for ourselves on a future trip.
On my last trip to Vegas, I had my “burger-of-the-trip” at Pub 1842 at the MGM Grand. I had lunch here on a Monday when it wasn’t very busy. As is often my habit, I bypassed the booths and tables and sat at the very long bar, which is just inside the door. Even in the middle of the day, the pub was pretty dark, so I can’t really describe the decor. Luckily, the bar is fairly well lit, so I could see to read the menu and the bill. There are the ubiquitous TVs set to sports above the bar so you have something to look at while you eat and drink. Sports bores me, but I got a kick out of their funny bar signs.
My bartender was pretty cool. (I think that’s a requirement of the job, because I can’t think of a bartender I’ve ever met that wasn’t cool.) He didn’t rush me as I read the menu, but was available when I was ready to order. I chose the 1842 burger, my theory being that since it bears the Pub’s name, it ought to be the best damn burger they serve. Makes sense, right? (Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.)
Well, let me just go on record right here and now and say THIS was the best burger I’ve eaten in my 15 years of traveling to Las Vegas. It was better than the Burger Bar, better than BLT Burger, better than the Cheeseburger in Paradise at Margaritaville, better than I Love Burgers, far, far, better than the former KGB Burger, and wherever else I’ve had a burger in the city. (You don’t honestly expect me to remember every place, do you?)
The 1842 burger is topped with caramelized onions and mushrooms and comes with a side of fries and truffle aioli. It also typically comes with a bun, but I passed on the bun so the bread wouldn’t fill me up. I ordered it cooked medium-well, which still had some pink in the middle. It was so moist and delicious and perfect and there’s a reason for that: My bartender told me they grind their own hamburger.
Not only was the burger scrumptious, but the BBQ spiced fries were amazing, too. They were fried crispy and tasted both sweet and salty. Instead of putting the aioli on the burger, I dipped my fries in it. Oh my God, it was a heavenly taste sensation. I could eat those fries with the aioli every day of the week.
Because it was a blisteringly hot day in Vegas, I was dehydrated and only drank water with my food (served out of a mason jar, of course, because: trendy). But I’d go back for a drink here any time to sample some of their many, many beers (bottled, canned and quite a few draft selections as well).
So there you have it. I have officially weighed in on the “best burger in Vegas” debate. Also, if you’re the type of person who likes the cachet of being able to say you ate at a Michael Mina restaurant without your meal bearing the price tag of one of his pricier restaurants, here’s your chance. Don’t limit yourself to the 1842 Burger, either. The Pub’s creative menu features lobster grilled cheese, the Peanut Butter Crunch burger, a vegetarian falafel for the anti-meat crowd, and lobster fritters, among other things.
Cost of lunch: $14 before tip (in late August 2015).
As an aside, I just want to thank those of you who have contacted me via email and Twitter to express concern about my long absence from this blog. It’s been four months since my last post, and even that was written by someone else. Don’t worry; I’m fine. The quick story is that I had to take a break from blogging for awhile to focus on a number of other “real life” priorities that needed my time and energy. I’ll try to get back to a semi-regular blogging schedule now.