Bar Code Burger Bar
Chicken Strippers – Buttermilk and Dill Brined, House Spiced Breading, Code Sauce
Squid Vicious – Buttermilk Chili Brined Calamari, Lightly Breaded, Code Sauce, Lemon
Bar Code Burger – Short Rib + Brisket and Chuck Blend, Newcastle Onion Jam, Smoked Bacon Aioli, Blue Cheese, Arugula, Pickled Red Onions, Peppers w/ Fresh-Cut Fries and Sriracha Ketchup
BBQ Big Burger – Blueberry BBQ Sauce, Smoked Boston Butt, Applewood Thick Bacon, Vermont White Cheddar Cheese w/ Fresh-Cut Fries and Sriracha Ketchup
French Strippers – Challah Bread French Toast, Housemade Strawberry Vanilla Maple Syrup, Strawberries, Buttermilk Chicken Strippers
Recently celebrating their first anniversary, an eastside location not far from UNLV placing the 24/7 joint far from tourists and their unwavering willingness to pay Holsteins or Gordon Ramsay $15+ for nothing more than an All-Beef Patty, Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, Mayonnaise, Ketchup and a Pickle, Bar Code is something of a hidden gem for in-the-know locals, Executive Chef Joe Valdez and his team turning out Food far better than they need to at a price that low-balls The Strip without sacrificing creativity or quality.
Difficult to peg as a place for craft Cuisine from the street, a single story along East Flamingo near Blueberry Hill and the Sketchers Outlet largely blending into the background with a sign that simply suggests it might be a good place to “Eat / Drink / Play,” those entering Bar Code will find the interior surprisingly modern, several LCD Televisions centrally located and perfect for watching sports while well-lit alcoves contain darts, shuffleboard and pool tables.
At this point amassing a fair number of regulars, the lunch and after-work crowd said to get fairly large in addition to the typical flow of traffic on game days, it was with greetings from a lone bartender/server that two friends were seated just past 5:30 on a Saturday featuring little more than the NFL Preseason, Chef Valdez present along with one other in the kitchen and happy to chat about his background which started here in Valley before stints in Colorado and years working in the Red Robin test kitchen.
Present at Bar Code from the start, a gig as Sous-Chef quickly seeing him advance to the lead role thanks to hard work and a willingness to go the extra mile in order to make the Restaurant’s collection of Burgers, Sides and Salads stand out in a city where there is never a lack of competition, it was after several minutes of candid conversation with Chef Valdez that the decision was made to defer an order to the young man, the meal divided into two Appetizers, two Burgers and “Dessert” lasting just under an hour as the Rams took on the Cowboys.
Not drowning out the game sounds with a jukebox, a welcome change compared to places like Aces & Ales or B.A.R. that cannot seem to get enough Journey or Def Leppard regardless of the time or event, it was after a few minutes further perusing the menu that Joe emerged from the kitchen carrying two trays including the lightly fried “Squid Vicious” and hand-breaded Chicken Strippers, the Calamari tender and nicely spiced beneath a crispy coat of Panko while the later was Pickle-brined and herbal with a lightly adherent layer of breading that was flavorful and practically oilless.
So far so good, the Code Sauce of Ketchup, Mayonnaise and “secret” Spices pairing well with both Appetizers and advisably kept to sauce Fries, it was after another ten minutes that Chef Valdez once again arrived tableside with two of Bar Code’s signature Burgers, the 70/30 blend of Brisket, Short Rib and Chuck forming a juicy backbone to housemade Blueberry BBQ, Pulled Pork and freshly fried Bacon on the BBQ Big Burger while the restaurant’s eponymous signature gets funky and fragrant with Beer-braised Onions, Bacon Aioli and Blue Cheese.
Grilling the Buns before service and making every Sauce, Jam or Aioli on-site, a labor intensive process most would not expect from a Video Poker and Sports Bar so far east of Las Vegas Boulevard, it was after a few too many fresh-cut Fries had been eaten that Chef Valdez at last arrived with “Breakfast for Dessert,” the French Strippers described as a dish he’d invented for his girlfriend making one say “what waffles?” as hand-trimmed strips of Chicken Breast brined in Buttermilk were just as crunchy and juicy as those served earlier, but without the Dill and instead laid on a bed of custardy Challah Bread with Fresh Strawberries, Whipped Cream and Housemade Strawberry-Vanilla Maple Syrup.
FOUR STARS: Going well above what is necessary for a 24/7 restaurant in Sin City, and smart enough to keep the menu well-crafted and focused rather than offering sub-par versions of “everything for everyone” Pub Grub like so many others, Bar Code rivals any Burger-centric spot on the Strip in terms of quality with prices that are about 33% less.
RECOMMENDED: Bar Code Burger, French Strippers.
AVOID: The Sriracha Ketchup served with Fries can be a bit abrasive for patrons who don’t take note of it on the menu while those sensitive to smoke will be challenged by dining at Bar Code as seating is not far separated from the bar where at least three out of every four patrons had a cigarette in-hand.
TIP: 21+ only and Trivia Night 7-9p on Tuesdays. Breakfast offered from 2a-10a daily.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.