I love John Curtas’ Food for Thought segment on KNPR. Curtas is a Las Vegas lawyer who decided to put his business lunches to good use a couple decades ago when he began doing Las Vegas restaurant reviews on public radio. When Curtas named El Sombrero 2007 Ethnic Restaurant of the Year, I tried it and found one of my favorite Las Vegas restaurants in a building I never would have gone into on my own.
So, ever since he named the burger at Bradley Ogden in Caesar’s, the “best burger in Las Vegas,” I could not wait to try it. This past weekend, Shannon wanted to exchange a birthday present at Niketown in the Forum Shops, and we realized the time had come to try this mythical burger.
First, let me say that the idea of having a lounge with its own menu instead of just the usual bar is genius. And the menu looked so good, we almost deviated from our burger plans…almost. I began with a salad and Shannon tried the fried shrimp. My salad was amazing, especially the dressing. Shannon’s shrimp had great flavor but were a little soggy (thanks, by the way, for taking off the tails).
It took a little while, but our burgers and fries finally arrived. The fries were amazing. Skin on, crunchy outside, soft inside with great big pieces of salt.
And the burger? Well…
Shannon and I each ate our burger quietly, wondering if the other was thinking the same thing: “I mean, it’s good…but not that good.” The bun was incredible. The meat was top quality. The artisan cheese was perfect. But the burger as a whole didn’t taste very good. It was greasy and watery and had an odd bacon-y flavor, and the meat wasn’t seasoned well. I wished it had come with more pickle slices because it needed the acidity.
I finished with a delicious snickerdoodle cookie and some butterscotch pudding (I’m a big fan of anyone with the guts to serve a simple cookie and homemade pudding for dessert). I was surprised that the service was pretty awful: slow and inattentive. We only left a 10% tip.
I’d like to think that the problem was execution, that we caught them on a bad night. I realize that Bryan Ogden left for L.A. last year, and maybe the kitchen is no longer run as well. But at a restaurant of this caliber, consistent quality is a ticket to the game. We had a great time, but we left disappointed that the “best burger in Las Vegas” had not lived up to its name.