Vegas is a town full of great food, but Border Grill will be tough to beat. Located in Mandalay Bay, which makes it super convenient for BlogWorld Expo attendees, there’s more to this Mexican restaurant than meets the eye. I dare you to find a better strip restaurant for casual dining.
Oh, and if you’re too lazy busy to read this review, skip to the end and watch the video instead!
Executive chef Michael Minor is someone I wish I could hire to feed me every night. Mexican food is too commonly associated with Taco Bell, and his offerings are anything but. If it wouldn’t have been a sin to keep him out of the kitchen, I could have listened to him all day, talking about learning authentic secrets to great food while on vacation in the Yucatán. It’s pretty apparent that Chef Mike loves food and spares no expense at putting out the very best.
Border Grill was nice enough to do a little tasting menu for me, so I got to sample a lot of amazing food from Chef Mike’s kitchen. My three must-haves?
- Baja Ceviche
- Pork Tacos
- Fruit Sorbet
Ok, yeah, that’s four. In trying to choose just three, I found that I couldn’t.
Start with the chips and guacamole. If you’re anything like us, I bet you can’t stop nibbling, even when the rest of your meal comes.
I love ceviche, And not only was the plate pretty (see the above-right picture), but it was delicious. In fact, I fully intend to go back and have it again before I leave Las Vegas. Some ceviches are really fishy (in a bad way), but at Border Grill, it tastes cool and refreshing – perfect for a hot day. The avocado adds a smooth texture to your mouth, perfectly contrasting the bed of crunchy homemade totillas.
And how can you not love a really well done taco? At border grill, the tacos are overflowing to the point where you almost have to eat them with a fork, and my favorite, by far, was the pork. If you check out the video below, I mention Chef Mike’s slow-roasted pork at least twice. I want to have that pork’s babies. If pork isn’t your thing, though, all of the tacos I tried were outstanding. Who would have thought you can get tasty, fresh fish tacos or spicy shrimp tacos in the middle of the dessert?
Seriously, save room for dessert. I’m usually not hungry enough for a huge dessert after lunch, despite my love for chocolate cake. I got to try their homemade sorbet sampler instead – and wow. It was a great way to finish the meal, and much to my surprise, there were frozen pieces of real fruit within the creamy sorbet, which burst in your mouth when you bite them. By this point in the meal, you’ll likely feel like you want to explode from eating so much, but it is totally worth the pain.
Also, please, please, PLEASE try the flavored lemonades, either alone or as part of a mixed drink. Yum. They’re sweet, but not syrupy like some flavored drinks.
The wait staff? Amazing, though I’ve yet to come across a poor waitress or waiter in Las Vegas. Mine for lunch was Rachel, and if she’s working, do yourself a favor and request her. I understand that we might have gotten a little special treatment because they knew I was going to write a review, but Rachel clearly knew what she was talking about with every dish – that’s not something you can just quickly learn for the sake of a reviewer. I also took notice that the staff was really attentive of all the guests in our area, making sure to keep the water glass full and checking on diners regularly (but not so often that it gets annoying).
The biggest downside to this restaurant, as I see it, is that it’s easy to miss as you walk by. The restaurant looks tiny from the outside, and kind of…well…typical, nothing special. Inside, that is clearly not the case. Beyond requesting Rachel, do yourself another favor and walk downstairs for seating – you’ll eat right by the river and waterfall. The balcony is also a great option, since the view of Mandalay Bay is gorgeous. Don’t judge this restaurant book by its cover.
- Mandalay Bay’s Border Grill is open for both lunch and dinner, and they also have to-go options for bloggers on the move. They have a bar, a dining room, a balcony, and an outdoor eating space available for guests.
- It’s great for the blogger who wants to experience the best of Vegas food, but who is also on a budget. You can get an amazing lunch there for under $25 and dinner for well under $50.
- You can check out a sample of their menu here (the actual menu has more to offer).
Check out this video for more food porn, videos at the restaurant, and more:[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiviOKv8ir8[/youtube]
Big thanks to Ashli Kimenker from Kirvin Doak Communications for joining me for lunch and making this review possible!