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First Impressions Of Guy's Vegas Kitchen

Where: 3535 S Las Vegas Blvd [map], 89109
April 7, 2014 at 3:35 PM | by | Comments (6)

Guy Fieri drove into Flavortown Friday with UNLV cheerleaders in tow and to the tune of the school's marching band playing Viva Las Vegas to announce the arrival of Guy's Vegas Kitchen at the Quad. Or, near arrival. The doors open April 17 as first reported right here.

The celebrity chef is quite the polarizing figure (or, perhaps, not so polarizing judging by our Facebook commenters) but the welcome ceremony was a fun, rockin' event marshaled by a man that knows how to excite a crowd. A swell of followers gathered outside the Quad near Carnaval Court to watch a made-for-TV personality say a few words and accept his proclamation of "Guy Fieri Day" before cooking up masses of mini Bacon Mac-and-Cheese Burgers for the masses. (More photos including the Fieri selfie were added over the weekend to Friday's update for anyone needing more Guy.)

Once the pomp and circumstance wound down, the focus turned to the restaurant, its food and cocktails. Vegas Kitchen itself is a two-level space which can accommodate up to 200 diners, with one-third of its capacity available outside. One of the two levels won't be seen by the public, but is integral to their experience. In addition to the dining level kitchen, a second 4,000-square-foot kitchen is located below to allow nearly everything to be made on-site, from breads to meats and sauces.

The intent of Guy's Vegas Kitchen is to present the best of Fieri's experiences gathered from all over the country under one roof. We're aware reaction to his other restaurants have been less than stellar, but as the host of a successful TV show that has uncovered some pretty great restaurants, this writer is keeping an open mind and hoping some of that Triple-D success has found a home in Las Vegas.

The restaurant features plenty of wood integrated with reds and blacks in the form of leather and faux brick over a wooden floor. Outdoor dining should provide plenty of people-watching near Carnaval Court between Harrah's and the Quad, while the inside offers massive windows with views of the Las Vegas Strip, the Forum Shops and Harrah's. Flat screen TVs are dotted throughout the bar and dining area. They were tuned to the Food Network on Friday and we were told they'd likely always be pimping airing Guy-related TV. Sorry, sports fans. The spin here would be the food. And, the drinks which we'll review first.

DRINKS AND COCKTAILS

The beverage program focuses on three areas: beer, shots and cocktails. 16 beers on tap, 8 shots on tap, and 12 signature cocktails. Tap beers include Sam Adams Rebel IPA (a nod to Fieri's UNLV roots), Firestone Union Jack IPA, Magic Hat, a Brewmaster Reserve from Brooklyn Brewery, Anchor California Lager and an Ace California Cider. Multiple beer flights will be available.

The theory behind the frozen shot tap system is to provide ice cold pours that aren't shaken and watered down with ice. The purest form of Patrón and Fireball Cinnamon Whisky. Cocktails aren't an afterthought here and some interesting flavors are being mixed. The Crazy Hagar features Sammy Hagar's Beach Bar Rum, Belgium lambic Kasteel Rouge and fresh lemon sour. The Smoke and Mirrors combines Fireball Cinammon Whisky with apple and pomegranate juices. Azteca Chili Devil beer is featured in the Java Guava.

THE FOOD

The food focus is on two-fisted burgers, wings, street tacos, small bites, "shareables" and, in Fieri's own words, "outrageous desserts." Many signature items have been created out of the chef's personal history. He told a crowd a story about his lemonade, Kool-Aid and pretzel businesses growing up that inspired the Motley Que Sandwich: pulled pork cooked 12 hours in the in-house smoker on an in-house made pretzel roll.

The Vegas Fries honor one of his first memories as a student at UNLV. He craved a local college joint Stake Out, but lacked the funds for their signature buffalo wings. So, he would buy French Fries (cheap) and add ranch, hot sauce and buffalo sauce (all free). Today, his sidewinder fries are seasoned with buffalo and wing sauce, topped with shaved blue cheese, celery and carrots, served with a side of blue-sabi dipping sauce.

All chicken wings are "lollipopped" and in the case of the Fireball Wings brined, then baked, roasted and fried before tossed in buffalo-style sauce and spiked with Fireball Whisky. Meant to be eaten with fistfuls of napkins, these weren't too spicy, but were a little heavy on the sauce and light on flavor for our liking. The General's Wings (pictured above) are served with sides of wasabi dip, peanuts and honey.

Street Tacos include Bahn Mi Tacos: crispy baguette taco shells, firecracker pulled pork, fresh cilantro, pickled carrots, shaved jalapenos and sweet chili mayo with Sriracha dip. We were able to sample Tuna Tartar Tacos with soy and mango squeezed with lime that actually packed a pretty good taste. Or, to step into proper character, the Tuna Tartar were some slammin' street tacos. Amen!

Fieri has brought the "burger of all burgers" to Flavortown his Vegas Kitchen. The Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese Burger took home top honors in last year's Burger Bash competition in New York City. The award-winning burger is an all-natural ground beef patty seared hot and fast on both sides, covered in a five cheese mac with Gouda and Parm and served on a garlic brioche bun made in-house.

Salads are on the menu, but aren't your ordinary plate of greens and ruffage. Take the Asian Chicken Wonton Salad for example, served in a to-go box with ginger dressing.

Shareables include Italian Nachos, baked breadsticks wrapped in pepperoni and served with four cheese fondue that we embedded in Friday's story. The "bomb" Lettuce Cups serves chicken three ways (egg roll, open form, and kabob) with ginger, soy and of course Sriracha. Another is the onion rings or, as has Guy has named them, Righteous Rojo Rings in a sweet and spicy breading made by hand to a super crunch, served with a ketchup and Sriracha dip.

COMING SOON

Guy's Vegas Kitchen opens at the Quad April 17. The kitchen will cook seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Note that it will be open for dinner only the first three days of operation. Will this TV personality find success in Las Vegas? The small Quad isn't exactly bursting with dining options: there's Hash House A Go Go, a diner/cafe and Far East restaurant. And, the nearby Linq hasn't exactly garnered rave reviews for its initial restaurants. With a celebrity name and Strip-side footprint, if the food is at least average and prices aren't crazy ridiculous, Guy's Vegas Kitchen could carve itself a portion of the nearby Toby Keith's Bar and Grill market.

(PHOTOS: VegasChatter)

Comments (6)

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Prices??

What I'm hearing sounds good. Do you know the prices for some of these items that you described? The Mac and Cheese burger looks great. The problem is about 4000 calories total with the fries.

I'd try it

The pictures actually look really good.
Most of the people who complain about Guy's restaurants/food seem to be either pretentious food critics and or so called "foodies" who can't stand anything that would appeal to the vast majority of American tastebuds.  If I had to try a restaurant from a TV chef in Vegas, honestly I'd rather eat here than at one of Ramsay's overpriced restaurants which have zero Michelin Stars btw, or shudder Gia's restaurant at Cromwell.

Pass in spades.

If I have to eat at a TV chef place, it will be Mesa Grill or Table 10. Or Cut. Or CraftSeak. Or...well, you get the idea. A place associated with a chef, not a spiky-haired poser. Too much crap on everything in lieu of simplified purity of ingredients or plain old good cooking. This place isn't a step up from the Imperial Palace buffet.

My condolences.

If this is anything like the food at his Times Square location? Avoid like the plague. For all the flavor "pow" and "bam" there's so many things in everything on the menu, it all cancels itself out and there's no discernible flavor except fried. And usually lukewarm.

#pass

EOM.

Looks interesting

I am always willing to try new places to eat that I can't find here in Chicago. I will have to try his food

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