Keeping it mini in Sin City

Small serving, big bite

By Nikki Neu

 As the saying goes, bigger is better.

But if you’re in Las Vegas, sometimes smaller portions do the trick. With such vast dining choices available in Vegas, it would behoove you to save room so you can try more.

“People enjoy mini-foods as it gives the ability to sample many different dishes without the filler,” said Eli Fortney, specialty room chef for KGB: Kerry’s Gourmet Burgers.

From a mini-burger to a micro-mini burger to a not-so-average peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Vegas restaurants prove mini is the new super-size.

A selection of hors d'ouevres at Michael Mina, including (from back to front) mini foie gras peanut butter and jelly, mini crab BLT, mini steak Tartare bites and mini trout bites.

A selection of bite-sized hors d'ouevres at Michael Mina, including (from back to front) foie gras peanut butter and jelly, crab BLT, steak Tartare bites and trout bites.

These mini-foods may be small bites, but have big flavor.

Mini PB&J with foie gras at Michael Mina

Some things just go together like bread and butter or the Captain and Tennille – or peanut butter and jelly. This childhood favorite is reinvented at Michael Mina in the Bellagio with the addition of foie gras.

“The flavors and textures are so familiar that the sandwich has the ability to transport you back to childhood,” said Ben Jenkins, chef of Michael Mina Las Vegas.

The sandwich is made of foie gras mousse, which is cooked to a fluffy peanut butter-like consistency, a huckleberry gelée and toasted brioche bread.

The concept for adding the foie gras in place of the peanut butter makes an exotic food more approachable.

”It’s a fun play on what some see as a rather sophisticated food,” said Jenkins.

Mini milkshake trio at KGB

KGB offers mini milkshakes in several flavors.

KGB offers mini milkshakes in several flavors.

Chef Kerry Simon never fails to bring his “A” game when it comes to hearty comfort foods. But comfort drinks? One please – or make that three.

“The trio of milkshakes allows the guest to try three flavors of milkshakes instead of only one flavor as when ordering our regular-sized shake,” said Fortney.

You’ll most likely want to try more than one.

A favorite flavor on the menu is the Cap’n Crunch milkshake. This delicious treat mixes the cereal with milk and vanilla ice cream. Other flavors include espresso, vanilla, strawberry and a rich double chocolate.

The mini milkshakes come in small glasses with mini straws, the perfect pairing with your double cheeseburger (not mini).

The grilled cheese bites at Max Brenner come with a brush to paint your fries.

The grilled cheese bites at Max Brenner come with a brush to paint your fries.

Mini grilled cheese bites at Max Brenner

It doesn’t take much to see Max Brenner’s talent. The man has created a name for himself in the world of chocolate with playful and whimsical artistry. But at Max Brenner in the Forum Shops at Caesars, it’s a savory menu item that gets our attention.

Marcus’s Mini Cheese Bites are small grilled sandwiches, oozing with cheese and stacked on a skewer. The cheese bites are served with “french fry shields” better known as waffle potato fries. There’s even a little brush included to slop on the ketchup.

These kid-friendly cheese bites come vertically on a skewer, making them the ultimate leaning tower of cheez-a.

The mini, mini burger at Guy Savoy

Guy Savoy is a two Michelin-star restaurant in the Spa Tower of Caesars Palace. From the bread cart to the amazing delicacies that Guy Savoy offers, nothing is ordinary. Naturally, neither is their mini-burger.

“Our mini-burger is a one-bite explosion in which you can taste all the amazing components of the burger,” said Franck Savoy, director of restaurants for Caesars Palace and son of Guy Savoy.

The mini burgers at Guy Savoy are about the size of a quarter.

These Guy Savoy treats are about the size of a quarter.

A category all its own, the Guy Savoy micro mini burger is made with savory ingredients like cornichons, capers, shallots, Dijon mustard and more to create a one-bite hors d’oeuvre packed with flavor.
Don’t forget the Parmesan bun.

The original mini burger at First

Some say it’s the original mini burger that has grandfathered thousands of replicas. But most would say regardless of its paternity it just tastes good.

Chef Sam DeMarco keeps it simple. The burger is a beef patty with sauce, pickles, lettuce, tomato, grilled onions and cheese. The bun is the perfect texture – spongy and sturdy – think White Castle.

Why should you try it? Like most originals, DeMarco’s mini burger can be imitated, but never duplicated.

Mini mac and cheese bites at Society Cafe Encore

Macaroni and cheese is one of those comfort foods that just make your day better. If nothing else in your day went right, a bite or two of mac and cheese and suddenly, life ain’t that bad.

At Society Cafe Encore, Chef Kim Canteenwalla masters mac and cheese and puts it in a bite-sized portion. After all, who wants to mess with a spoon?

These bite-sized mac and cheese morsels are coated in Panko bread crumbs and fried golden brown. The result: a textural overload with an initial crunch and a velvety soft, cheesy interior.

If all of these bite-sized foods sound tempting, don’t worry – you can try them all – without filling up.

“Mini-foods are enjoyable because they allow you to try many different flavor combinations without committing to just one,” said Jenkins.

So keep your options open – for more small bites, that is.