Chayo Mexican Kitchen + Tequila Bar
The Don Margarita – Don Julio Blanco, Fresh Lime, Cointreau, Ginger Syrup
Mexican Sunset – Patron Silver, Amaretto, Peach Schnapps, Pineapple Juice
Chips & Salsa – Housemade Molcajete Salsa, Crispy Tortilla Chips
Guacamole – Fresh Avocado, Cilantro, Lime, Jalapeno, Crispy Tortilla Chips
Queso Dip – Mexican Cheese Fondue, Roasted Chiles, Crispy Tortilla Chips
Chipotle Wings – Crispy Chicken Wings, Chipotle Hot Sauce, Cilantro Crema, Pickled Vegetables
Tortilla Soup – Fire-roasted Tomatoes, Shredded Chicken, Crispy Tortilla Strips, Cilantro, Avocado, Queso Fresco
Baja Shrimp Tostada – Gulf Shrimp, Lime, Onions, Cilantro, Jalapenos, Avocado / Spicy Tuna Tostada – Fresh Ahi Tuna, Black Beans, Serrano Peppers, Avocado, Cilantro, Mango Vinaigrette
Tacos – Chicken Al Pastor, Pork Chile Verde, Carne Asada on Corn Tortilla
Enchiladas – Modelo braised Short Rib, Cascabel Chile Sauce, Jack Cheese / Roasted Corn, Poblana Rajas, Portabello Mushrooms, Jack Cheese, Tomatillo Sauce with Refried Beans, Mexican Rice
Prime Rib-Eye – Mole, Crispy “Street Corn Style” Potatoes, Peppers, Onions
Tres Leches – Sponge Cake, Tres Leches, Housemade Grand Marnier Cream, Fresh Berries / Flan – Traditional Caramel Custard, Fresh Berries
Brownie Sundae – Warm Chocolate Brownie, Vanilla Ice Cream, Chocolate Sauce, Fresh Berries
Bread Pudding – Vanilla Custard, Raisins, Cinnamon, Vanilla Ice Cream
In a city rarely distinguished by subtlety, most people’s first thoughts of Las Vegas involving the flashing lights of slot machines or the pulse pounding beat of a club, it seems hard to image anyplace being “too much,” yet as dinner of Saturday proved there actually may be a point of diminishing returns at a place like Chayo Mexican Kitchen + Tequila Bar where the Food and Drink somehow get lost in the spectacle.
Now approaching its fourth anniversary, one of The Linq’s few opening-day venues that has not changed name or concept, it was earlier this year that Chayo came under the same management as HeXX Kitchen + Bar at Paris, Chef Steve Aguglia taking over as top toque and freshening up a menu that spans from Tacos and Burritos to innovative daily Breakfast and Dinner Specials.
Open from 8am until midnight or later daily, a Taco and Margarita Cart out front tempting passers-by as loud music overflows the promenade, guests entering Chayo will immediately find themselves engulfed in a Tex-Mex wonderland comprising everything from Sombreros and Luchador Masks to a Mechanical Bull, the Hip-Hop soundtrack later spun by a DJ fairly incongruous with the concept, particularly during NFR Rodeo weekend.
Eventually becoming accustomed to the scene, a process aided by excellent service provided by a College-age woman who kept up with Food and Beverage orders over the course of nearly two hours, it was with Cocktails in hand that Chips, Salsa, Guacamole and Queso Fundido were all served simultaneously, the housemade nature of each making them better than the typical Mexican joint with the smoky Salsa and Cheese Dip that never showed a sign of coagulating particularly stand-out.
Dining as a quartet and thus doing a lot of sharing, many of the items re-portioned or plated in order to facilitate this given the immense size of a comfortable leather booth, it was with a plate of Wings ordered for the youngster that adults were presented shallow bowls of Tortilla Soup filled with shredded Chicken and bold aromatics, a follow-up of two styles of Tostada really a tossup as to which was better, though the addition of Mango Vinaigrette to Spicy diced Tuna made it pretty hard to top.
Approximately half-full early but swelling with a mix of Cowboys and verbose tourists as the hours passed, Televisions showing Hockey and Basketball joined by a live feed of Buckin’ Broncos and Calf-Roping, it was just prior to Tacos being presented that a Photographer selling commemorative pictures stopped by to peddle her goods, a Magician soon to follow and finally two scantily clad Jack Daniels ambassadors selling $5 shots and ‘swag.’
Finding far more value in warm Tortillas packed with Chicken Al Pastor, Green Chili Pork or Carne Asada than any of the gimmicks, though a $10 Mechanical Bull ride was well-worth the thirty seconds of fun before being unceremoniously thrown to an airbag below, it was upon return to the table that two Enchiladas proved to be Chef Aguglia’s very best dish, the Short Rib tender amidst spicy Rattle Chile Sauce while the Roasted Corn fared even better alongside Cheese and strips of Mushrooms.
Fairly full at this point, tablemates taking only small bites of Rib-Eye plated atop Onions, Potatoes and a surprisingly convincing housemade Mole, it was with most of the medium-rare Beef finished that all four of Chayo’s Desserts capped things off, the light Sponge Cake holding up well despite being sopping wet with Condensed Milk and Boozy Cream while the Brownie and Bread Pudding were both rich and delicious, though no match for what might just be the sweetest and creamiest Flan in town.
THREE AND A HALF STARS: Offering superior Food and vastly better service than one might guess, the only real issue being an almost overwhelming amount of competing ‘activity,’ Chayo Mexican Kitchen + Tequila Bar undoubtedly fits what many love to criticize about Las Vegas dining, though it would be hard to name a better place serving this style of food on the Strip at such a portion and price-point.
RECOMMENDED: The Don Margarita, Chips and Salsa, Queso Dip, Spicy Tuna Tostada, Roasted Corn Enchilada, Flan.
AVOID: Guacamole is fairly basic and indoor seating once the DJ gets going is not for those looking to carry on a conversation.
TIP: Chayo validates Linq Self-Parking for up to 2-hours with Purchase.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.