Saturday night we met Brian and Kari from Retro Bakery at the Burger Bar in the Mandalay Bay for a late dinner. The food was good and the company was even better. But, this is my review of the restaurant, so I’ll get to the food!
We had a pretty long wait to get in, but it is an easy environment to sit back and relax in while eating, so I can definitely see why it took a while. We were at our table for a long time once seated.
The premise of the restaurant is that you get to build your own burger. Kari said that the menu used to be more straightforward, a notepad where you marked off the items you wanted. Now they’ve gone a little flashier, with one side of the menu devoted to pre-made burgers (items paired by their chef) for those who find the decisions to be overwhelming, plus some salad entrees. But if you’re going to a place called “Burger Bar”, I think you should be required to order a burger.
The meat options were: farm beef, Kobe beef, buffalo, turkey burger, veggie burger and grilled chicken.
Then you choose a bun: sesame, onion, whole wheat, plain, ciabatta
Then you can choose your various toppings from sections called “The Garden” (veggies), and “The Dairy (cheeses), etc.
I ordered a turkey burger on whole wheat with lettuce, provolone and cranberries. The turkey was very good, not dry at all. The mix of cranberries and provolone worked well with the meat too. Spinach might have been a better choice, but the lettuce comes with each burger by default so I stuck with that. The bun was probably “mostly white with a little wheat” instead of “whole wheat”, but it tasted okay. It could have been a little heartier, since that is what I was expecting with the blend of toppings I chose.
Kevin got the Kobe beef with cinnamon bacon, grilled pineapple and swiss on the sesame bun. I didn’t take a bite of it, because the meat was far too rare for my tastes, but he enjoyed it.
They also have several different options for fries, so we had a good mix of fries on our table too. Kevin got the sweet potato fries, they were thin and crispy, really tasty. Kari ordered the thick fries, a solid fat steak fry. Brian ordered the buffalo shoestring fries, they were essentially a thin fry with a batter on them. But the best (in my opinion) was the zucchini fries I ordered, they were phenomenal. Coated in a batter reminiscent of mozzarella sticks, they were the most evil yet tasty way to enjoy a vegetable I can imagine!
And desserts, we were so stuffed but we couldn’t pass on the dessert burgers, just to experience the visuals they provided. Their original is a “burger” only in appearance, made on a donut bun with a chocolate ganache patty and various fruity items to create typical burger condiments. They also offered a cheesecake variation, that doesn’t have as much of a burger appearance, but most of us thought that one tasted better.
You can build your burger to be pretty affordable and basic or completely over-the-top and extravagant with foie gras and truffles. The whole place is kind of an experience and I would recommend it just because it’s a more unique dining concept than most places allow. The chance to play “chef” without having to actually do the cooking or clean-up, that’s kind of a nice way to have a meal every now and then!