Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
Fried Green Tomato BLT – House Smoked Pork Belly, Smoky Tomato Jam, Frisee, Pimento Cheese, Lemon Vinaigrette
Mama’s Biscuits – Classic Buttermilk Biscuits, Honey Butter, Apple Butter
Grits – Nora Mill Grits, Vermont Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Lewellyn’s Fine Fried Chicken – Honey Hot Sauce
Blueberry Pie Pancakes – Fresh Local Berries, Brown Sugar Florentine, Pure Maple Syrup
Biscuit & Gravy – Country Gravy, Bacon, Crispy Chicken Thigh, American Cheese, Sunny Side Up Egg
State Fair Fry – Fried Oreos, Fried Twinkies, Rice Crispy Doughnut Dough, Confectioner’s Sugar, French Vanilla Ice Cream, Strawberries
Beignets – Nutella, Confectioner’s Sugar
Japanese Pancakes – Caramelized Bananas, Banana Pudding, Whipped Cream
Butterscotch Cake – Bacon Frosting, Butterscotch Sauce, Praline Bacon, French Vanilla Ice Cream
Blackberry Sorbet – Macerated Berries, Edible Flowers
Cornmeal Chess Pie
Acknowledging the rapid turnover of Las Vegas’ dining scene, a situation now equally prevalent in the community as on-Strip, it had been nearly eighteen months between visits when four guests sat down at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar on Saturday, the longtime Fried Chicken favorite still putting on a fine show while drawing glowing reviews from a steady crowd.
Now old enough to be considered a staple of Las Vegas Boulevard, Miami-based 50 Eggs having since expanded further west to Los Angeles and overseas to Singapore, it is approaching “Restaurant Row” from either The Venetian or Palazzo that guests are witnessed lining up, an entirely unique situation in comparison to The Factory Kitchen, Sugarcane or Chica which are each also open but virtually empty around noon.
Almost entirely overhauled from day one in terms of staff, a revolving door of Chefs likely attesting to the difficulties presented by big crowds and long hours while serving John Kunkel’s apparent goal of standardizing the menu for expansion, it is following a warm welcome that guests are led from podium to table, service still above average from captains to bussers who are frequently overheard saying “y’all.”
Louder than remembered, a packed house and overhead music creating an environment where guests must raise their voices to be heard, it was shortly after seating at room’s center that drinks were poured and menus navigated, Coffee with an array of sweeteners truly bottomless while Yardbird’s “Fried Green Tomato BLT” remains balanced and bold in terms of taste as well as texture.
Not about to miss “Mama’s Biscuits,” four somewhat lacking lamination explained-away by a new baker accidentally using the wrong Dough, it was both as part of “Biscuit & Gravy” as well as a to-go order that golden Buttermilk sheets were found enjoyable as ever, the former a bit skimpy with Sauce for $24, though that was easily remedied at no extra cost while Bacon, Egg, Cheese and Chicken all held up their end of the bargain.
Improved from previous as relates to both Fried Chicken and thick Nora Mill Grits, the “Lewellyn” signature offering more robust Herbs than memory serves, it is having 86ed “’77 Elvis Pancakes” that guests will now find “Blueberry Pie” in their place, the stack still tall and fluffy beneath plump Berries, but otherwise lacking in terms of creativity.
Turning things over to Pastry Chef Keris Kuwana from here, at this point one of Yardbird’s longest-tenured staff, suffice it to say that “State Fair Fry” is well-executed considering the Ingredients utilized while Butterscotch Cake remains remarkable from delicate Crumb to creamy Frosting, though rumor suggests it may be soon retired.
At this point sated but not stuffed, Yardbird’s portions typically large enough to share, it was as a surprise that Chef Kuwana additionally presented three upcoming items plus one old favorite, the Japanese Pancakes imagined as Bananas Foster – plus Pudding – entirely delicious and feather-light while Nutella-filled Beignets and Blackberry Sorbet were each enjoyable, but quickly forgotten in the wake of a made-to-order Cornmeal Chess Pie that guests never fully embraced despite being the very best of its kind.
THREE AND A HALF STARS: Although still good, it is difficult to remember the early days of Yardbird Southern Table & Bar as well as The Venetian without it, an entirely unique situation whereby everything including the crowds seem to have always been there despite very little about the staff or formulaic menu resembling what was originally so exciting.
RECOMMENDED: Fried Green Tomato BLT, Mama’s Biscuits, Lewellyn’s Fine Fried Chicken, Grits.
AVOID: The first batch of Biscuits was serious cause for concern, and Blueberry Pie Pancakes aren’t going to wow anyone at $16.
TIP: Butterscotch Cake is reportedly being discontinued soon while Chess Pie, Japanese Pancakes and Beignets were all off-menu gifts.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.