Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
Short Rib n’ Grits – 18oz Bone-In Short Rib, Nora Mill Granary Corn Grits, Charred Corn, Haricot Vert, Sweet Garlic Bordelaise
Buttermilk Biscuits – Honey Butter, Strawberry Jam
Maple Glazed Bacon Brioche Donuts – Bacon Bits, Butterscotch Sauce
Cornmeal Chess Pie – Sorghum Chantilly, Caramel Sauce, Caramel Pretzel, Popcorn
Hickory Smoked Coffee Cake – Coffee Ice Cream, Chocolate Sauce
Apple Hand Pies – Pate Brisee, Vanilla Ice Cream and Graham Cracker Crumble
Deep Fried Oreos – Rice Crispy Doughnut Dough Fried Oreos, Oreo Ice Cream, Chocolate Sauce
Yardbird Banana Split – Caramel Popcorn Ice Cream, Vanilla Ice Cream, Banana Brulee, Banana Curd, Chocolate Sauce
Crunch n Munch Bread Pudding – M&M Chocolate bread Pudding, Popcorn Ice Cream, Caramel Popcorn, Pretzel
Chocolate Chess Pie – with Chocolate Chips, Orange Blossom Ice Cream, Citrus Marmalade, Chocolate Sauce
Red Velvet Whoopie Pie – Red Velvet Cake, Fluffy Cream Cheese Mouse, Pistachio Ice Cream, Crushed Pistachios, Raspberry Sauce
Blue and Black Cobbler – Blueberries, Blackberries, Oat Crumble, Honey Ice Cream
Bourbon Vanilla Milk Shake – Vanilla Ice Cream, Maker’s Mark, Gingersnaps
Bacon Butterscotch Cake – Pecan Filling, Bourbon Ice Cream, Butterscotch Sauce
Admittedly a fan of Yardbird, having now visited the Las Vegas location four times in its first two months of opening with another visit upcoming soon, it was on the invite of Chef Todd Harrington that I stopped in on Saturday to explore the reinvented dessert menu, and although a few of the restaurants biscuits reconfirmed my opinion that there is no better buttermilk version being served anywhere I’ve traveled while the Chef’s newly added shortribs were nothing short of falling off the bone perfection atop a mountain of charred-corn dotted grits, the star of the show was instead Vivian Chang – the woman responsible for twelve sweet selections which frequently left me dumbfounded that they weren’t the result of some old recipe from a grandma down South.
Beginning first with brunch selections, suffice it to say that the retooled brioche donuts are a dramatic improvement on the longjohn of past and with each tender, maple-lacquered bite studded by crispy bacon the ante is further upped by a sidecar of butterscotch sauce, a gluttonous accoutrement I nonetheless found myself dipping into frequently and later adding to the buttery apple pies, one eaten by hand with the second cut up and mixed with ice cream, graham crackers, and the aforementioned caramel for one heck of a makeshift sundae.
Continuing the morning-meal options, another re-imagined item from Todd and Vivian was presented in the form of ‘smoked’ coffee cake and although the young chef claims the moist bread is only stored in the smoker for two minutes the result is a substantial hint of hickory with chocolate chips and robust coffee ice cream adding just a bit of sweetness, a task completely unnecessary when enjoying the sorghum sweetened chess pie whose creamy texture atop an all-butter crust rivals the best I’ve experienced anywhere in Amish country or the Southeast.
Transitioning to dinner desserts, both Yardbird’s signature Bacon Butterscotch Cake and Crunch n’ Munch Bread Pudding remain largely unchanged, the latter’s popcorn flavor scaled back a bit in order to let the dark chocolate notes better shine, but with six other desserts also available one would be hard pressed to decide which was ‘best,’ though large groups would be strongly encouraged to look into either the bubbling hot and simply delicious seasonal cobbler or rich Red Velvet Whoopie Pie as each are more than enough to share with the former currently featuring blueberries and blackberries while the silky cream cheese mousse of the whoopie pie is simply too much for even a hearty due of diners to tackle on their own…no matter how much they may wish to try.
Decidedly not a place for ‘light’ desserts, but one where a few smaller portions can be found, chocaholics and those interested in a true Southern delicacy would be well suited to order the chocolate chess pie served with both the orange blossom ice cream and blood orange marmalade to help to balance out the cocoa’s substantial heft while those looking for something a bit more ‘fun’ should find exactly what they’re looking for in Chang’s inspired take on fried Oreos, the oft-oily ‘fair-food’ staple perfected by protecting the cookie’s texture with batter while rice crispies add texture to both the dough and as a chocolate covered topping to the ball of ice cream at the center of the plate.
Consistently impressing with both the variety and quality of house-made ice creams it seems only logical that Chang opts to feature them in so many of the restaurant’s desserts, and rounding out the restaurant’s dozen offerings one would be well advised to consider either the upscale Banana Split or Bourbon Milk Shake to finish off their meal, the shake a drink best shared given its substantial portion even though the booze is very nicely balanced by both the vanilla ice cream and whip while the sundae is perhaps the most unexpected surprise on the menu as two types of ice cream along with banana pudding, caramel popcorn, chocolate sauce, graham crackers, and a torched banana provide a veritable ‘choose your own adventure’ of textures and flavors without a single underwhelming bite to be found.
UNABLE TO RATE: As the entirety of the meal was comped, with much of my time spent sitting and chatting with Chef Harrington, suffice it to say service was exemplary and with both savories as well as desserts this good played beneath a soundtrack including everything from old-school blues to Them Crooked Vultures preceding Thickfreakness-era Black Keys, Yardbird remains my favorite affordable restaurant on the Strip and a place which I recommend everyone check out for themselves.
RECOMMENDED: Biscuits (always,) Sorghum Chess Pie, Smoked Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake, Deep Fried Oreos, Yardbird Banana Split, Bacon Butterscotch Cake.
AVOID: For single diners, or even duos, the Red Velvet Whoopie pie is simply ‘too rich,’ something that could perhaps be corrected through the use of a stonefruit or citrus ice cream…or perhaps berries such as those previously utilized in Yardbird’s excellent Red Velvet Trifle.
TIP: With a talented and passionate team headed by Chefs Harrington and Chang making everything in house, those visiting should be aware that weekly specials as well as seasonal updates are planned and as such not all items listed here are guaranteed to be offered, the cobbler and pies in particular prone to frequent change.