Tiramisu Shake – Mascarpone Ice Cream, Ladyfinger Crumbs, Patron Xo Café, Chocolate Syrup, Cocoa Powder, Espresso Beans
Banana Cream Pie – Bananas, Vanilla Custard, Nilla Wafers, Caramel, Crème de Banane, Licor 43, White Chocolate Covered Nutty Banana
Crispy Pork Belly Bun – Chinese steamed Bun, Hoisin Sauce, Cucumber, Pea Shoots
Rising Sun Burger – Kobe Beef, Teriyaki Glaze, Nori Furikake, Crispy Yam, Spicy Mayo, Tempura Avocado with Onion Rings
Truffle Lobster Mac n’ Cheese – Creamy Tallegio-Mascarpone Sauce, Maine Lobster, Black Truffle
Shrimp & Grits Hush Puppies – Rock Shrimp, Andouille, Cheddar, Remoulade
Un-Birthday Cake – Confetti Cake, Vanilla Frosting, Berry Crumble, Sugar Spirals, Cotton Candy
Another concept restaurant from Block 16 Hospitality that has generated raves since its inception at The Cosmopolitan I’d frequently entertained a visit to Holsteins but it was not until nearly three and a half years after first visiting the property that I finally sat down for lunch, a $130 meal for two at a casual ‘shakes and buns’ place rather absurd in retrospect even though much of the experience was admittedly quite good. Large, loud, and sceney on its own and all the more so with Marquee launching its dayclub across the way it was amongst the sunkissed and scantily clad that we entered Holsteins at the eleven o’clock opening hour and led to a large table with views of both the televised NHL playoffs as well as the crowd our meal began promptly with buttered popcorn and water as effusively friendly and efficient service guided us through the new spring menu. Not particularly fond of burgers myself but willing to share in the setting of other selections it was with a duo of creamy, boozed-up shakes alongside four underwhelming hushpuppies that tasted neither of shrimp nor spicy pork that our order kicked-off and progressing at a good pace as the dining crowd swelled it was not long before the second wave arrived; the $17 pasta hilariously overpriced given the dearth of lobster and small size but both the belly on bao and burger truly delicious – the later a perfect medium with great balance and texture derived from impeccable accoutrements including the melting avocado. Never one to skimp on sweets, particularly in belated celebration of my friend’s birthday, it was with the new “Un-Birthday” cake that our meal concluded and featuring layers of dense cake juxtaposing smooth frosting in a portion large enough for four suffice it to say that the $15 charge is warranted, a rarity on any Block 16 menu.
THREE STARS: Entirely underwhelmed by Flour + Barley and generally finding the one-off concepts from Block 16 to be excessively overpriced I was pleasantly surprised by Holsteins. Certainly not a bargain by any stretch of the imagination it should be no surprise to anyone that restaurants on The Strip carry a significant upcharge and focusing only on the shakes and buns one could enjoy a good meal here for less than $30 all-in with impressive ingredients and creativity trumping other similarly priced burger spots within the major hotels.
RECOMMENDED: Burger, Shake, Birthday Cake
AVOID: Flavorless Hush Puppies, overpriced ‘exotic’ ingredients like truffles and lobster.
TIP: Known to garner waits of up to ninety minutes during weekend lunch and dinner service reservations are a great idea for those choosing to dine during peak hours. For those too young or simply averse to boozy shakes it should also be noted that all signature shakes can be ordered virgin for $3 less…or with another shot for $3 more.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor