More exciting for me than Batali’s new burger joint, Bobby’s Burger Palace just opened at the Mandarin a couple weeks ago. While this is a bit of chain, there are several items exclusive to the Vegas menu and I must review all things burger in town either way. I’ve been to the Massachusetts location a couple times now, and was more than happy with my experience so I knew this would be a good addition to the burger scene in town. The location was a bit questionable as a restaurant placed at the sidewalk directly on the Strip surely doesn’t appeal to a local, so could the concept be as good as the execution?
The interior of the space is lively, colorful and large. All of the restaurants have a similar look to them with the same wall tile, curved seating area, decorative lights, etc., and this is no different. There is an entrance both directly off the Strip, as well as from the Mandarin valet making this maybe a bit easier for a local to visit. Bobby Flay’s ‘unique’ twist to his burger joints is the option to “Crunchify” any burger for free, which involves adding a layer of Lay’s potato chips to all of the burgers on the menu. Speaking of the menu, the Vegas franchise offers 11 different pre-designed burgers almost all named after various cities throughout the country. You also have the choice of shakes, sandwiches and salads.
I went with the Vegas burger of course, which comes with white American cheese, Fresno red chiles and BBQ crunch. The bun looks deceptively large for the meat when it is brought out in its valiant presentation, but once you squish everything down the ratio becomes a bit better. Unlike the couple I’ve had in the past, this bun was slightly dry but still well-proportioned to the patty. It is slightly griddled; maybe a little more butter or something would have helped in this case. The meat was of really good quality, cooked well and prominent with not much seasoning but good beefy flavor. The cheese wasn’t too prominent, but the red chilies had a slight pop to them and really good flavor. There may not have been enough on the burger, but they were still good. I wasn’t that into the ‘Crunchified’ thing coming into this, but the BBQ chips on the burger actually provided good flavor in a few bites and the contrasting texture was welcome. Overall this was a very good burger; I just wished the bun was a little fresher.
The fries were really good; thick, very fresh and well cooked. The serving size is easily large enough to share between two people. Unfortunately I’m a little put off by the prices; granted prices differ from city to city, but looking at their online menu the Palace Classic burger is $6.75, in Vegas it is $9.50. Their signature Crunchburger is $6.75 in another location, but $8.50 here. Fries are a dollar more than what’s shown for another city online, shakes are $1.50 more, even the griddled cheese is $3 more! I fully understand that this is placed dead center in a tourist trap area so prices will be a bit inflated, but as a local this kind of sucks. That being said, $13.50 for a burger and fries isn’t the end of the world, especially for what you get here. Off-Strip I’d like it to be a few dollars less, but given this location I’ll take it. I’ll just have to get used to taking advantage of the Mandarin valet to get there.