By Nikki Neu
Juicy. Plump. Perfect buns.
We can’t get enough of burgers and apparently, neither can you. The popularity of burgers is climbing nationwide, with 95 percent of consumers eating burgers at least occasionally, according to the restaurant research and consulting firm Technomic.
In Vegas there has been an undeniable surge in burger offerings, from upscale restaurants like Bradley Ogden giving guests a highbrow route, to casual places like First Food & Bar, offering guests a $3 “Whimpy” burger for those latenight cravings. Entire restaurants are even created around the burger, like Burger Bar, celebrity chef Hubert Keller’s homage to the luscious finger food.
With such popularity and selection comes originality. Vegas has some of the most unique burgers that will ever tempt your tastebuds. From burgers stuffed with foie gras and short ribs to burgers made of donuts and cheesecake, Vegas has something for everyone.
Burgers are in high demand
There’s no doubt that burgers have been in high demand lately. The growth of popularity in burgers can be attributed to a few things.
The first is oh-so-Vegas. “Finger foods are more sexy,” says Sam DeMarco, executive chef of First Food & Bar. DeMarco should know — his mini burgers have been one of his signatures since 1994. More than 15 years later, they’re still as popular as ever at his Palazzo hotel eatery.
DeMarco also cites the downward economy and costly steak prices for the burger’s acclaim. Burgers give steaks a run for their money.
“In a world where steak is so expensive, burgers are the other red meat,” explains DeMarco.
Although First has an inexepensive “Whimpy” burger on their menu (an intoxicating fast food-like sandwiching of thin beef patties, smashable bun, ketchup, mustard, chopped onions, pickles and a secret sauce) burgers in Vegas are anything but ordinary.
Places like N9NE Steakhouse and Burger Bar offer Kobe beef burgers. Strip House, known for their mouth-watering steaks, also offers a gourmet burger alternative in their bar area. The burger is served with your choice of toppings and onion straws.
Alternatives to mainstream
With the burger’s growing prevalence, sometimes the patties don’t even include beef. The Mirage’s BLT Burger serves a lamb tandoori burger that captures all the traditional flavors of Indian cuisine including mint, cilantro, yogurt sauce and cucumber.
Many restaurants now also offer vegetable burgers like Lucille’s at The District at Green Valley Ranch and Le Burger Brasserie at Paris Las Vegas.
Salmon, chicken and turkey burgers are other choices making a big splash on the scene at places like Burger Bar inside Mandalay Bay and Stripburger at the Fashion Show mall.
If you’re game, the spicy 666 Devil Burger at First Food & Bar is the perfect way to start or end your stay in Sin City. Not for the faint of heart, this burger is a devilishly delicious piling of Andouille sausage, jalapenos, pepperjack cheese and chipotle ketchup, served with firey fries. Luckily, it’s also served with a green goddess dip to tame the flames and your mouth. The spicy burger mixed with the cool flavor makes for one bodacious burger.
Bigger is Better
Perhaps in honor of Vegas’ obsession with excess, two Vegas restaurants decided to go above and beyond with their burger offerings. One gutsy burger to attempt this is the Challenge Burger from Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, a 4.5-pound burger including a whopping two-pound patty.
“At Toby Keith’s we wanted a burger that made us stand out in the crowd,” says Executive Chef Kevin Knight.
The Extreme Burger at LBS: A Burger Joint at Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa is a piling of six half-pound beef patties topped with American cheese, bacon, Portobello mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, burger sauce, spicy mustard, mayo and ghost peppers, all atop a sweet egg bun served with one pound of french fries. If you finish it, it’s on the house.
The “Surf & Turf” burger at Burger Bar boasts Black Angus beef, half a grilled lobster, grilled asparagus and a plain bun.
Of course, the burger’s slightly steeper price could also be attributed to the bottle of Dom Perignon Rose it’s served with. Savoring a burger with champagne? How divine.
Certainly you’ve had a regular burger, but if you’ve never had a dessert burger, you might need to change that on your next trip to Vegas.
The creamy cheesecake burger at Burger Bar consists of a sliced warm donut with cheesecake and carmelized pineapple. Another version is the chocolate burger that includes a warm donut, chocolate ganache, passion fruit, strawberry and mint. The delicious blend of fruits, chocolate and the donut earn this burger two thumbs up from people of all ages.
From savory sensations to sweet treats, Vegas’ burger scene is alive and thriving with some very unique findings. Much like the city’s other offerings, there’s something for everyone.