Located inside the Mandalay Bay, the Burger Bar is Hubert Keller’s casual restaurant. Their specialty is what they call the “ultimate burger experience” where you can add a wide range of gourmet toppings (including black truffles and foie gras) to customize your burger. They also have a number of shakes, floats, and alcoholic versions of these drinks.
We stopped here for a late lunch/snack. Even though the lunch rush should have long dissipated, the place was packed. I suggested eating somewhere else, but we decided that, since we were there anyway and the place was supposed to have excellent burgers, that we could tolerate the 20 or so minute wait. The use of buzzers allowed us to wander the shopping area a bit, but we couldn’t go too far because of the buzzer’s range. Once the buzzer did go off we were promptly seated. Service was relatively good for the entire meal.
The restaurant uses a lot of darker woods and was still quite busy and loud. A long bar ran the length of the restaurant, and the rest of the place was filled with booths and tables.
For food, we decided to split a meal as we weren’t terribly hungry. My dining companion had one request – that we choose something that wasn’t too heavy. And this, I think, is where we made a huge error because instead of ordering beef or bison, we decided to order a veggie burger on a whole wheat bun. I really should know better by now not to order veggie burgers from restaurants that aren’t vegetarian or health-food focused, but I figured that someone like Hubert Keller wouldn’t put a crappy burger on their menu. The menu description deceived me as well:
Chef’s Veggie Burger
This burger will flirt with your taste buds and delight your palate with its intriguing combination of whole grains, brown rice, onions, soy, cheese, mushroom, garlic and special spices. Feel good from the inside out.
As each burger also came with pickles, tomatoes, etc. and this particular burger was supposed to have cheese, onions and mushrooms on it already, we decided not to order any additional toppings. I did add a side order of their buttermilk zucchini fries.
Ok, now that you’ve seen the description, have a look at what we were served. Is that what you expected? I know it wasn’t what I expected.
The flavour of the burger was heavily dominated by the taste of lentils. I couldn’t identify any cheese or mushroom flavour in there at all. The patty was also quite soft; when I bit into the burger the patty became mushy and slid out from in between the bread. I don’t know; were my expectations too high? If I go to a “gourmet burger” place I expect something better than a mediocre burger, even if it is a veggie burger. If you can’t execute it better than that, why put it on the menu in the first place? It’s not like they didn’t have a vegetarian option – their vegan burger made with portabello mushrooms could have easily filled that spot by itself.
The only saving grace of our meal were the zucchini fries. These were excellent. Spiced, crispy batter on the outside and melty zucchini on the inside reminded me of a slightly healthier version of battered cheese sticks. They were devoured relatively quickly, in between disappointed bites of the veggie burger.
After our burger fail we decided to cut our losses and forgo ordering any milkshakes or dessert.
Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas