Wedge – Bacon Lardons, Red Wine Onions, Tiny Tomatoes, Blue Cheese, Scallions
Romaine & Blistered Brussels Sprouts Cesar Salad – Parmesan, Torn Croutons
Hard House Salad – Bibb Lettuce, Roasted Tomato, Red Wine Onions, Toasted Bread
Meze Platter – Red Beet Hummus, Edamame Hummus, Traditional Hummus, Toasted Naan, Tomatoes, Olives
Turkey, Jamon & Swiss Meatballs – Turkey Meatballs Stuffed with Swiss Cheese, Prosciutto, Peppercorn Sauce
Charcuterie Board – Prosciutto, Mortadella, Bresaola, Aged Cheddar, Brie, Burrata, Local Honey, Horseradish Aioli, Olives, Cornichons, Toasted Bread, Grandma’s Butter Pickles, Turmeric Pickles
8 Way Deep Fried Mozzarella – Tomato Basil Sauce
Buffalo Fried Oysters – Blue Cheese, Scallions
Fish n’ Chips – House Fries, Ketchup, House Tartar Sauce, Lemon
Adult Bologna and Cheese – Butter Toasted Brioche, Mortadella, Aged Cheddar, Tomato, Montucky Cold Snack, House Pickles
Rabbit Sausage Bangers & Mash – Barley Wine Braised Onions
Hardway 8 Burger – Bacon, Sunnyside Egg, Caramelized Red Onions, Aged Cheddar, Brandy Mayo-Ketchup, Sesame Bun, Fries
Tenaya Creek Bonanza Brown Beer Can Chicken – “Ratatouille,” Beer Jus
Inspired by the first UNLV Runnin’ Rebels basketball team to make the Final Four it was after several empty years that JJ’s Bar re-opened as Hardway 8, former Aureole Chef John Church offering consultancy on a menu that looks beyond Wings and Burgers to lure more than just neighbors down to Henderson’s Water Street.
A rapidly evolving area, nearby construction including upgrades to Gold Mine Tavern joining longtime tenants including Chef Flemming’s Bake Shop, guests entering 46 South Water Street will quickly notice 5,000+ square feet well lit by both natural and artificial means, a wall lined with nostalgia and televisions showing sports to one side and the bar made from Las Vegas Convention Center’s old bleachers to the right.
Co-owned by Bryant Jane and Lyle Cervenka of Starboard Tack, their familiarity with Sin City giving Hardway 8 a head start in terms of word of mouth, it was shortly after opening on Saturday that several parties entered, staff suggesting this to be a continuation of busy nights prior during which Chef Teddy Jefferson and team have been executing Johnny’s menu with resoundingly good feedback.
Smartly designed with a retractable garage door and various styles of seating, everything from banquettes to bar stools available for guests 21 and older, it was after perusing Beer and Cocktails that a three-page menu was presented, Salads starting things off with the $8 House basic but big while Wedge and “Cesar,” misspelled or intentional, both go well-beyond typical pub grub in terms of constituents ranging from seared Pork on the former to blistered and shaved Sprouts topping chopped Romaine and buttery Brioche Croutons with the latter.
Offering vegetarians several choices, Pasta and Panini included, those looking for something sharable would be well served to order Hardway 8’s Meze Platter offering three styles of Hummus along with Olives, Tomatoes and Bread, the best bites including chunky Edamame on toasted Flatbread and Veggies dragged through creamy Beets.
Heavier henceforth, though gently packed Meatballs with a molten Swiss core eat lighter than they read thanks to impactful Peppercorn Sauce, it is for $18 that Chef Jefferson offers one of the area’s best Charcuterie bargains, three styles each of Meat and Cheese all well-portioned and accompanied by Crostini, Condiments and housemade Pickles.
Going interactive with Mozzarella cut tableside, house Tomato Sauce helping an otherwise predictable plate stand out, guests seeking spice will be happy to know that in addition to Chicken Wings Hardway 8 also offers crispy Oysters with a kick, though in terms of fried items it would be hard to name a better Fish n’ Chips anywhere in town whether enjoyed with or without Dill-accented Tartar Sauce.
Adding an off-menu “Adult Bologna and Cheese,” imported Mortadella generously replacing Oscar Mayer on buttered Toast alongside a tongue-in-cheek dig at Henderson’s old nickname, it was finishing big that Rabbit was presented as boldly-spiced Sausage amidst braised Onions and smashed Potatoes, the follow-up Burger also anything but subtle and best eaten with fork and knife while Beer Can Chicken finished tableside with Tenaya Creek Jus is worth both the mess one will make of their hands and $32 for a portion that will easily feed two-to-four diners.
FOUR AND A HALF STARS: Not intended as fine dining, and thus fairly judged in comparison to other sports and gaming venues throughout the 702, Hardway 8’s biggest challenge going forward will be convincing fans of PT’s or Aces & Ales that better is possible, but for those who always expect more from their Food and Beverage Chef Jefferson, John Church and the team behind Starboard Tack have created something special on Water Street that warrants immediate attention.
RECOMMENDED: Romaine & Blistered Brussels Sprouts Cesar Salad, Meze Platter, Turkey Jamon & Swiss Meatballs, Charcuterie Board, Fish n’ Chips, Rabbit Sausage Bangers & Mash.
AVOID: Noise level is variable across the room, so those who may not want to hear Sting or Duran Duran at top volume may wish to assess the ceiling for speakers when choosing their seats.
TIP: 11a till midnight daily, 21+ only.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.