I really love everything that’s going on around East Fremont; with all of the new bars and restaurants the scene is really coming together. But along with all those new venues comes droves of hipsters almost as intolerable to me as the droves of tourists on the Strip, so I tend to visit this area during the day for lunch and weeknights. My impatience aside, the downtown area needs great food to go with its great bars, so I was very excited to hear that the new Park on Fremont was going to be serving more than just snacks. Billed as a gastro-pub, this recently abused word suggests a fancy array of snacks and main dishes to go along with a large drink menu. But can this suggestion truly become a reality?
Park has recently opened, taking over the failed 18+ hookah lounge that was there previously in a prime location on the corner of East Fremont and Las Vegas Blvd. It sits alongside another neighborhood newcomer Radio City Pizza, and all of the other popular First Friday spots that have quickly taken over the scene with long pretentious lines to get in. I hate waiting to get in to places on the Strip, this new development of ropes and lines on Fremont is a bit much, even as ‘cool’ as some of these places might be. The interior of Park is quite odd, and I’m not quite sure how to explain it. Striking wall coverings, cool art, and stuffed birds decorate the interior dining and bar area, with a small patio up front and a large outdoor ‘park’ in the back complete with an adult teeter totter and plenty of lights. I went during the day so the inside was more than fine, although I’m sure the outdoor area in the back looks much better at night. While their menu has some interesting sounding items, it’s kind of all over the place and I’ve heard most sound better than they actually taste. Options like a fried chicken and waffle sandwich, Philly mac and cheese steak and a corned beef Reuben all sound tasty, if not unhealthy.
Either way, I’m not here to report second hand information, I’m here to tell you about my burger experience. And in this case, it’s their stuffed burger with Monterey jack and cheddar, and applewood bacon. Upon picking it up I bit into my dry bun with a really cold spot in the center where the pickles were sitting. What’s with all the cold buns lately? The meat had no decent flavor on its own; it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t seasoned or presumably anything special. There was surprisingly some pink to the meat, which is a rare sight for a stuffed burger given how much longer they usually have to be cooked, although given the unknown quality of the meat I’m not sure if this is a good thing. The bacon inside was soggy and took away from any cheese or onion flavors, which weren’t anything too great either. The lettuce, tomato and onion on top were fresh and ok, but overall there was nothing special about this burger which was surprisingly dry despite being stuffed with so much.
The fries were nothing special either; of the larger cut variety, but soggy and barely at room temperature. It seems like the reports I’ve heard are true: everything here looks way better than it actually is, which is surely unfortunate as I really want everything that opens in this particular area to be great. Still, I’m sure it will do just fine as this food is probably more than acceptable for the drunk crowd that takes over East Fremont all weekend. Just not for the overly critical like myself. $12 for a stuffed burger and fries is a reasonable price, I just wouldn’t recommend it when you have better options close by at Triple George and newly opened La Comida (review for their really good burger coming next week).