BBQ Chicken Drumsticks – Carolina BBQ Sauce, Blue Cheese Dressing
Calamari – Fried Point Judith Calamari, Smoked Marinara, Lemon and Garlic Aioli
1842 Nachos – Heritage Pork Chili, Cheddar, Black Bean and Jicama Relish, Fresnos, Crema
Hot Soft Pretzels – ‘Merican Beer Cheese, Poached Egg, Bacon
Chilled Beets – Charred Radicchio, Spiced Pecans, Gorgonzola Fondue
Chinese Pork “Chop Salad” – Shredded Cabbage, Char Sui Pork, Shitake Mushrooms, Carrot, Daikon, Pickled Fresnos, Peanuts, Ginger Vinaigrette
Slider Sampler – Double Smoked Bacon with Smoked Gouda, ‘Merican Cheese, Lettuce, Secret Sauce, Bacon and Bacon / Peanut Butter Crunch with Bacon Jam, Potato Chips, Pimento Cheese / The 1842 with Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms, Truffle Aioli / Korean BBQ Salmon Burger with Cucumber Kimchi, Ginger Aioli
St. Louis Ribs, Pulled Pork Sandwich, Beef Brisket, Half Chicken – Dry Rubbed and Smoked Over Apricot Wood – Served with Jalapeno Cornbread
Pub Mac n’ Cheese – Five Cheeses, Caramelized Onion
Roasted Butternut Squash – Brown Butter, Sage, Hazelnut Streusel
Crispy Fried Brussels Sprouts – Granny Smith Apples, Apple Cider Syrup
Kale Caesar – Baby Kale, Parmesan, Garlic Streusel
Baked Beans – Heritage Pork, Kansas City Sauce
Chocolate Sticky Toffee Cake – Chocolate Bundt Cake with Hints of Bourbon and Coffee, Warm Spiked Caramel, Lightly Salted Caramel Corn
Apple Cobbler – Spiced Apples, Vanilla Ice Cream, Caramel Sauce
Salty Caramel and Chocolate Malted Shake Tasting
At one time proclaiming Michael Mina my favorite American Chef it was with gusto that I made my way to PUB1842 shortly after its debut, but clearly suffering an identity crisis as a restauranteur attempting to turn casual it was that experience followed by the disaster of Stripsteak that suddenly caused me caution – questions as to whether Mina had “sold-out” and whether his concepts could ever again be as innovative or well executed as before thankfully answered affirmatively by the 2015 launch of Bardot Brasserie, thus providing the impetus to investigate past impressions once more.
Now in its third year of operation, long past the days of lobster corn dogs or confit duck with an all-in focus on American eats like burgers, wings and ‘cue, PUB1842 continues to occupy a sizable space within The District of The MGM Grand and although Chef Tony Schutz may not be a household name amongst tourist or locals a tasting of the menu shows the work of someone with more passion than most would imagine from mere *bar food*, each and every item not only “better than it has to be” but a labor intensive investment in quality ingredients treated with both care and skill.
Arranging the tasting through Josh Smith of Bardot, a fixed price giving Tony carte blanche to serve as he’d like, it was just after PUB1842’s 11:30am opening that myself and three friends were greeted by Assistant General Manager Dana Hostmeyer and led to a table, the nearly-two dozen menu items to follow offered in sharable portions with beverage service coordinated by a staff that is friendly, timely and well informed.
Declining beer flights, none of us imbibing but instead opting for iced tea and coffee from LAMill, it was following greetings from Chef Schutz that the the afternoon got underway and kicking things off with meaty drumsticks alongside lightly battered calamari the quality of accompanying sauces showed good attention to detail, the same to be said of an enormous “half portion” of PUB1842’s signature nachos tinged in Fresno peppers balanced by a cheesy blend and chili made from slow-roasted Heritage Pork.
Amused by the “Celebrity Chef” endorsement stamped on a menu substantially overhauled from day one it was not long before a duo of salads was delivered by Tony and Dana, the vibrant beets accentuated by cheese and spiced pecans while the Chef’s Special Chop Salad looked eastward with chicharones and Char Sui liberally tossed in a bed of Napa cabbage, shredded carrots, and Shitake mushrooms along with pickled peppers, peanuts, and a tangy ginger sauce.
Requesting the Beercheese pretzels outright, the longtime menu staple with a poached egg still a highlight from visit one, little has changed as the sauce remains spoon-worthy long after the soft batons are finished and moving on to a quartet of sliders one would be hard-pressed to name a “best of” as all were well crafted with bronzed buns perfectly amenable to copious toppings, the Peanut Butter Crunch warranting praise for both the housemde Bacon Jam as well as Pimento Cheese while the Korean BBQ Salmon was surprisingly craveable thanks to the quality of the meat and fermented flavors complimented by ginger aioli.
Lamenting the quality of barbeque in Las Vegas, much like most who have properly investigated the genre across the land, it was with admitted skepticism that I approached Schutz’s loaded silver tray, but setting aside pulled pork that trended more Kansas City style sweet than my preferences for Carolina vinegar the answer to “where to find good BBQ in Las Vegas?” was quickly answered, the sticky ribs easily sliding from bones with a rich, porky sapor while the fatty brisket melted across the palate with uncompromising smokiness accentuated by salt and pepper, even the chicken noteworthy as crisp skin clung to juicy flesh beneath.
Not particularly sold on the side of Kale, though Butternut Squash and fried Brussels Sprouts with Apples scored high marks along with pepper-spike cornbread that necessitated extras served with smooth honey butter, it is somewhat disappointing that low sales have set limitations for Mina’s ever-strong pastry program, but doing their best with what is offered it should be assumed that any shake made with Ice Cream from Straus Family Creamery is a safe bet, as too is the simple apple cobbler while the Sticky Toffee Cake puts a cocoa and coffee spin on the British classic beneath boozy caramel sauce and salty popcorn.
FOUR STARS: A bit more pricey than some would expect for ‘bar food,’ though no moreso many Las Vegas Boulevard properties offering a similar bill of fare that is likely far less well-crafted, PUB1842 has clearly matured nicely under the care of Chef Tony…now if only they could compliment that Barbeque with some Pecan Pie or Banana Pudding.
RECOMMENDED: Hot Soft Pretzels, Cornbread, Korean BBQ Salmon Burger, Crispy Fried Brussels Sprouts, BBQ Brisket or Chicken, Chocolate Sticky Toffee Cake.
AVOID: Pulled Pork Sandwich, Kale Caesar.
TIP: Boisterous around the bar, with dozens of televisions and a rock n’ roll soundtrack, those looking for a more sedate experience are encouraged to sit on the makeshift ‘patio’ overlooking the district where keg-tables and booths both seem to be in high demand.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.