Border Grill and CraftHaus Brewery Craft Beer & BBQ Dinner
Pulled Pork Torta
Dino Bone & Jalapeño Corn Bread
Burnt Ends Burrito
Peruvian Potato Salad & Chipotle Coleslaw & Spicy Broccolini
Mac & Cheese
Housemade Baked Beans
Corn Flake Fried Chicken Taco
Admittedly stunned by news of Border Grill’s sudden closure at Caesars’ Forum Shops it was with a bit of regret for not visiting more often that two guests descended the stairs to a special event at Mandalay Bay’s longstanding location, Chefs Mike Minor and Susan Feniger teaming up with CraftHaus Brewery for a Craft Beer & BBQ Dinner.
Described as a Backyard Barbeque style Meal held on Mandalay Bay’s ample outdoor patio, a 6:30pm start and late-Las Vegas Spring combining for shaded temperatures in the upper-80s, it could also be assumed that this night served as a preview for Minor’s June-debuting BBQ Mexicana concept opening adjacent Border Grill’s nearly twelve year old outpost, his time running Truck U having built a strong local fanbase atop what had already been created during a prior stint with Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken in Las Vegas.
Beginning promptly at 6:30pm as the Golden Nights looked to claim a 3-1 series lead over Winnipeg en route to the Stanley Cup Finals, a fair number of attendees decked out in Black and Gold from Jerseys to Scarves, it was after checking in with pre-paid tickets that guests were given a glass into which several Beers could be poured from taps located around the yard, several stands in between offering a dozen hot items in addition to two tables of cold Sides and Salads on either side of the Bar.
Priced at just over $80 all-inclusive, not so bad a price provided one can hold their own in terms of Beer, Micheladas or a limited number of Cocktails, it was with a glass of Lemonade in hand that each live cooking station was investigated before kicking things off with a slider-sized Pulled Pork Torta that came across juicy and sweet beneath housemade Coleslaw, the follow-up Beef Rib cooked with a considerable Crust but smoky and supple inside while Jalapeno Cornbread was crumbly and toothsome beneath a sizable dollop of Butter.
Happy to see Chef Minor once again in a joyful mood while serving bits of Burnt Ends on wooden skewers, the blistering hot bites merely whetting appetites for an over-stuffed Burrito that will quickly be a signature once BBQ Mexicana goes live, it was taking a moment to resuscitate tastebuds that a stop was made for Salad, the Cowboy Caviar skipped to save room for meatier things while Purple Potato Salad and steamed Brocolini with thinly sliced Peppers both came across pleasantly spiced and refreshing, as did the Chipotle Coleslaw this time tasted on its lonesome.
Amused by other’s amusement with pint-sized skillets, their contents including gooey Macaroni and Cheese as well as slightly over-sweetened Baked Beans personally of greater interest, it was with Corn Flake crusted Fried Chicken tucked into a Flour Tortilla beneath Slaw and two Sauces that savories concluded, though perhaps not really as even Churro-loops hung on a wall near the exit were studded with Bacon.
N/A: A touch pricey for those who dislike Beer and have a low tolerance for Alcohol, though obviously not the point of a Craft Beer Dinner, Friday Night at Border Grill gives Las Vegans and Tourists a lot to look forward to when Minor has a chance to do what he loves at a full-scale Restaurant when BBQ Mexicana opens its doors.
RECOMMENDED: Burnt Ends Burrito, Pulled Pork Torta, Corn Flake Fried Chicken Taco, Peruvian Purple Potato Salad.
AVOID: Baked Beans needed more smoke and less sweetness.
TIP: Border Grill offers a wide array of Private Dining options including off-site Catering, Weddings and events like this BBQ Dinner – see http://www.bordergrill.com/groups-special-events/las-vegas/mandalay-bay for details.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.