Mezcal Supernova – Sombra Mezcal, Cinnamon, Blue Corn Syrup, Lime Cordial, Egg White
Stealth Margarita – Cazadores Blanco, St. Germain, Cucumber, Lime, Chili
Carrot Nachos – Carrot “Chili”, Carrot Habanero Hot Sauce, Mezcal Pickled Carrots, Cilantro
Chorizo and Tripe Nachos – Chorizo and Tripe Stew, Pickled Red Onions, Radish
Special Wild Mushroom Nachos – Huitlacoche, Cotija, Poblano Salsa, Shaved White Truffle
Heating up New York nightlife since late 2016 it was one month after the rest of Block 16 Urban Food Hall opened that Las Vegas finally caught a glimpse of Ghost Donkey, its discreet location not dissimilar to Secret Pizza creating an ‘in the know’ feel likely to appeal to club kids, though unlike the original in NoHo this spot does not yet require model-good looks or a lengthy wait to get in.
Built on a backbone of Mezcal and Tequila, low lights and loud music above the small bar and plush seating complete with pillows, it is by way of what appears to be a stairwell that guests access Ghost Donkey and once eyes adjust the scene that unfolds is quite dramatic while service is paradoxically fairly low key and pleasant.
Offering some fifteen Mixed Drinks plus just under one hundred Shots by the ounce, prices from $14 to $16 for hand-crafted Cocktails on par for The Cosmopolitan, it was opting for one Mezcal and one Tequila-based Beverage that both proved impressive, the smoky Supernova something like a Pisco Sour thanks to Citrus and foam while the Margarita was herbal, refreshing and smoother.
Scaling back on Food offerings from Ghost Donkey on Bleecker Street, only five styles of Nachos plus a bowl of Chips and Guacamole felt necessary considering the bevy of Block 16 choices outside, it was opting first for a Vegan version plus the impressively funky Chorizo and Tripe Nachos that bites were sampled, thick housemade Chips holding up well in either case while which was “best” came down to personal preference though all agreed Vegetarian Chili has never been so bold and Mezcal Pickled Carrots definitely need to become a “thing.”
At this point approaching 9:00pm with Marquee’s queue beginning to grow, a sudden influx of well-dressed guests suddenly packing the bar two deep, it was despite losing the server and thus further Drinks that attention instead focused squarely on something truly special, a blend of Mushrooms including tender King Trumpets fortified by Corn Smut and showered in freshly shaved White Truffles from Alba.
FOUR AND A HALF STARS: Although top-shelf Tequila is easily found throughout Las Vegas with Mezcal becoming more common there are few places in Sin City quite so focused on a singular vision as Ghost Donkey, and whether one is interested in Cocktails or tasting a flight of Shots along with some seriously delicious Nachos the best bet seems to be visiting early before Cosmo’s cool kids catch on and there isn’t a seat to be had.
RECOMMENDED: Mezcal Supernova, Carrot Nachos, Wild Mushroom Nachos.
AVOID: With just one server working the room those looking for more Drinks or to cash out during busy times should stay close to the bar instead of more comfortable couches.
TIP: Open 4p-midnight Sunday through Thursday and till 4am on Friday and Saturday.
BONUS TIP: There are expectedly no Desserts at Ghost Donkey, but District: Donuts. Sliders. Brew. is open just as late every night with new flavors such as Lemon Meringue and Candy Bar dropping each week.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.