I have had my share of burgers in Las Vegas and in fact I have my favorites (usually accompanied by a great beer list) This year I have asked E.C. Gladstone, local Vegas writer, food guy and spirits connoisseur to give us his ideas on the best burgers in Vegas. So he has taken to the streets and eaten way too many burgers.
These were the 2011 Top Burgers in Vegas and they still are pretty good today.
Finding The Best Burger in Vegas
I sampled 36 burgers, including 16 in a 48 hour period (brought to you by the makers of Lipitor). Usually, I ordered the house standard or signature offering, judging first by the meat itself, then factoring in bun, standard embellishments, presentation, and whether or not the server was cute (just kidding).
Comme Ça, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Exec Chef David Myers says this burger, which he first served in LA as a “family meal” for his Sona staff, is nothing more than his mom’s original recipe, but I suspect he’s fudging. A third-pound of savory, juicy ground prime chuck is framed with shredded iceberg lettuce, aged hook cheddar, Vidalia onions--a really secret sauce--and an egg-brushed potato flour bun add just enough sophistication to the quintessential backyard burger. It was difficult to stop eating.
Most Refined Vegas Burger:
L’Atelier du Joel Robuchon, MGM Grand
For $32, Robuchon’s pair of mini-burgers — don’t call them “sliders”— look pretty meager, the ultimate “nouvelle” joke. But you actually may have a hard time finishing these gorgeous little creations, loaded with rich flavor and buttery texture. Wagyu tenderloin and hangar steak is cooked just until dripping with juice, placed on delicate seeded egg brioche with seared foie gras, a bell pepper confit, baby onion and watercress, and served with a small cone of lightly fried crinkle cut potatoes and a ginger gastrique.
Delmonico, The Venetian
Delmonico’s burger weighs in at a half-pound,is ground in-house from trimmings of their dry aged angus filet, strip and ribeye steaks, with extra short loin fat (a decadent 25% fat total), it has an almost game-like refined intensity of flavor, augmented by a little creole seasoning and good grill char. Densely constructed, with hand-cut Belgian-style fries (properly double-fried).
Bradley Ogden, Caesars Palace - CLOSED
House ground of a somewhat secret blend of trimmings from several cuts, Ogden’s burger was handily the best in town a few years ago, then stopped trying. Now, it’s back. On a butter-toasted simple dry brioche, it explodes with rich, juicy beefy flavor but remains expertly constructed, eating clean. Comes with good fries and two kinds of amazing house-cured pickles.
Most Extravagant Vegas Burger:
Fleur, Mandalay Bay
Infamous as the “$5000 Burger,” Chef Hubert Keller’s rarified round is in fact sold for $75 if you forgo the vintage Petrus and imported crystal stemware in the world’s most expensive “meal deal.” Served on a poppy-seed brioche bun, the charbroiled patty of Kobe beef sits in a pool of Madeira reduction and under blankets of foie gras and sautéed black truffles. It is remarkably savory and rich, but honestly tastes more of the truffles, foie and Madeira than the meat, and is strictly a fork and knife affair.
The “Stacked” Burger is a rich, beefy 10 oz. Kobe puck on a toasted sesame seed bun well constructed with Boston lettuce, tomato and pickle. Just a little on the greasy side—thanks to Kobe’s fat content—and a little overpriced at $29 (also available at sister steakhouse Brand in the Monte Carlo).
STK, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
STK’s “lil’ BGRs” are made from “Kobe” fillet and skirt with some prime skirt for texture and extra Kobe fat for flavor. They are juicy and rich and come on house baked soft buns with truffled potato logs (Fix in Bellagio, Serendipity 3 and Max Brenner, both in Caesars Palace, also have top sliders).
Most Creative Burgers in Vegas:
Bachi Burger, 470 E Windmill Lane
This simple storefront on the most unlikely corner, miles from the Strip has a high concept: American burgers finished with Japanese finesse and condiments. Others like LA’s Umami Burger have a similar spin but Bachi is far more imaginative. The Ronin Burger is 7 oz. of Angus (or Snake River Wagyu, if you want to upgrade) with caramelized onions, Japanese cole slaw, miso goma dressing, fried egg, katsu bbq and yuzu citrus aioli. The only detraction is the chef’s insistence on cooking everything medium-well in order to fully exploit the charcoal flavor. It’s a trade-off. Most versions hover around $10.
Best Vegas Burger Deal:
The culmination (for now) of Kerry Simon’s burger obsession, Kerry’s Gourmet Burgers puts out a tender but toothy, juicy and flavorful patty on a toasted bun with lettuce, tomato, American cheese and a paper thin red onion slice. For $9 (unless you add any of several toppings), the American Standard is as good as several burgers twice the price. Simon at Palms Place also has a fine, slightly fancier version. Excellent fries, too.
Best “Fast Food” Burger in Vegas:
Smashburger, several locations
Vegas has become a fancy fast food battleground lately, with In’N’Out, Tommy’s, Fatburger, and now Five Guys and Steak & Shake all fighting for attention. But Smashburger rises above for a tasty, tender, fresh-tasting butter-crisped burger on a split top bun with bibb lettuce, red onion, ripe tomato and American cheese atop. Binion’s Snack Bar downtown is equally good, but a bit more trouble to get to.