Black Coffee or Vanilla Flavored Coffee of the Day
San Francisco Benedict – Canadian Bacon, Sliced Avocado and Tomato. Served with Hollandaise and Hash Browns.
½ Order Fried Chicken & Waffle – Half a fried Chicken and a Belgian Waffle, topped with Powdered Sugar and sweet, Strawberry Butter. Served with our signature sweet and spicy Sauce.
Spicy Honey Chicken Biscuit – Warm Biscuit with a Spicy Honey Glazed Chicken Breast Tender
Pound Cake French Toast – Four slices of Pound Cake, battered and grilled to perfection. Topped with Powdered Sugar.
1/2 Order Strawberry Cheesecake Yo Hala on The Square – Two thick slices of Challah Bread stuffed with Strawberries and Cream Cheese, prepared like French Toast. Topped with Strawberry Compote and Powdered Sugar!
Monte Cristo – Fried Sourdough Sandwich stuffed with Turkey, Ham, Cheddar and American Cheese, topped with Powdered Sugar. Served with Raspberry Preserves and your favorite side (Onion Rings + $0.50)
Key Lime Pie – Whipped Cream on the side
Salted Caramel Brownie – Vanilla Ice Cream
Originally opened in 1992 in Jacksonville Florida and described as “Where the Locals Eat” ever since, it was entirely by accident that it was discovered that Metro Diner had recently expanded to the Las Vegas Suburbs, ongoing discussion about who was doing a ‘true’ Monte Cristo Sandwich in the local market bringing up results for a familiar name just a few minutes away that had not been there just last month.
Not to be mistaken for Metro Pizza, though both they and the Diner chain now with nearly two-dozen locations show a similar commitment to Scratch-made classics invigorated by contemporary techniques and great ingredients, it was just past 8:15am on Saturday that a party of three entered the converted former drive-thru Burger joint now decorated as a cozy space with checkered floors and green tables, a few televisions showing Sportscenter as early 2010’s Pop hits flittered overhead.
Arriving before most of the crowd and greeted by local Operating Partner Tony Alonge, whose name had been passed along from corporate after an E-mail inquiring as to whether the Monte Cristo was available at Breakfast since the online menu seems to indicate otherwise, it was at a sizable four-top next to the kitchen that seating was offered and menus presented, the servers with an ever-present smile that almost seemed contagious throughout the morning – a few of them even passing their limited free time dancing and singing along to the music.
Featuring a sizable menu, though not the outlandish ‘everything to everyone’ mishmash of some, it was after some perusal and questions about sourcing that a relatively sizable order was placed including a few half-size plates allowed in order to sample more variety, the total cost of just over $70 still a bargain considering all that was entailed and easily a place where a check less than $15 per person would be realistic as an average.
Honing recipes now for nearly 25 years, each restaurant offering similar classics plus several specials that change from week to week, it was with Coffee and Water poured and kept filled that the meal quickly got underway, a miscommunication about wanting items sent out in rounds soon seeing the whole table flooded with eight plates that made it difficult to taste everything while still warm, the Pound Cake French Toast, for instance, saved till last and at that point just above room temperature which made it difficult to get a sense of how good it might have been piping hot and more capable of melting the butter.
Moving on to items better assessed hot from the kitchen, a one-and-one Benedict featuring housemade Hollandaise, Canadian Bacon and Vegetables beneath medium-poached Eggs atop toasted English Muffins as good as most in the city alongside nicely fried Hash Browns, Metro Diner’s Fried Chicken and Waffles proved very impressive considering the price point, a half-order of the bone-in Bird plump and juicy with a good spice profile served with supple Waffles and a scoop of Strawberry Butter.
Not offering the option for Pure Maple Syrup, but instead creating their ‘signature’ sweet and spicy Sauce tableside by combining Crystal Hot Sauce with Warm ‘syrup,’ it was with good fortune that neither the aforementioned Pound Cake nor the signature “Yo Hala on The Square” Stuffed French Toast required any additional garnishment, the thick slices of Challah Bread stuffed with Strawberries and Cream Cheese making for one tasty weekly special beneath a liberal ladle of warm Strawberry Compote.
Not particularly impressed by the “Cheesiest Grits,” even the addition of a layer of Cheddar both top and bottom leaving the grains a bit runny and flavorless without adding salt, Metro Diner’s Buttermilk Biscuits feature the drop-style common throughout most of Florida and are well flavored with light sours of Buttermilk, the addition of a Honey-Glazed Chicken Plank to make a $4.79 Sandwich well worth it for those not wanting to invest in the whole Chicken and Waffles plate.
Speaking finally on the Monte Cristo, most versions in town either outright lying by serving a French Toast Sandwich or bastardizing the original recipe by omitting the Turkey, Metro Diner finally gives Las Vegas what so many have been requesting for years, the soft Sourdough Batter-dipped and deep-fried around a thick stack of two deli-Meats, Cheddar and American Cheese with almost no residual oil plus a big bowl of Raspberry Preserves at its side.
Using the same light Batter to coat the Onion Rings as that on the Monte Cristo, other options for sides including Fries, Breakfast Potatoes, Mac n’ Cheese and more, it was with compelling words offered by the chalkboard at the back of the room that Dessert became necessary, the Salty Caramel Brownie served warm with a big ball of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Chocolate drizzle while the Key Lime Pie is imported straight from Jacksonville for the sake of consistency, anyone familiar with the debate certain to be amused by Whipped Cream offered on the side, but certainly not on top of, the generous and tangy slice.
FOUR STARS: Cooking up some old-time classics and obviously paying attention to culinary traditions while still coloring outside the lines at times to keep things interesting Metro Diner is a welcome addition to the competitive Las Vegas breakfast market, their success likely to be determined by how well they build brand loyalty while also luring customers back by way of good prices, weekly specials and quality service.
RECOMMENDED: Monte Cristo, Chicken and Waffles, Yo Hala on the Square, Key Lime Pie.
AVOID: Cheesiest Grits, ordering too much at once without instructions to course things out as the kitchen moves FAST. The Corn Syrup-based Jelly and lack of an option for Real Maple Syrup is also disappointing.
TIP: All items offered all day, 7a-8p Sunday through Thursday and till 9:00pm on Friday and Saturday.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.