While almost all of my reviews are planned ahead of time through my always growing to-do list, every once in a while I end up at a random restaurant with clients and the chance to try a random burger. Such is the case with Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, which is where I ended up at recently. Historically this scenario ends in disaster; I hate succumbing to peer pressure and ordering the default burger on some menu because I’m the ‘burger guy’ and everyone wants to watch me eat one, but in this case it actually turned out fairly well.
Located in the back corner of the casino near the Cirque theater and Robuchon, Puck is a large space that’s very open to the loud surrounding casino. A minimal railing and some decorative elements define the perimeter of the restaurant, but it’s mostly open to the slots and bright lights of everything around it. Picture your typical casino café setting filled with tourists and conventioneers. There are both lunch and dinner menus available depending on the time of day, and it seems like they are almost identical with maybe a few less items on the dinner menu. They both feature soups, salads, apps, pizzas and many main courses. Both also offer the Grilled Prime Burger with Vermont cheddar, smoked onion marmalade and fries, and that’s exactly what I was pressured into ordering.
The bun was a bit too thick and dry, but acceptable with prominent poppy seed and onion flavors. It kind of reminded me of the bun I had at BurGR recently, but not as well proportioned; the bun to meat ratio was off as I had a good crescent shape of bun left over at the end. The meat was cooked a little more than medium rare, but seasoned well and had a good fresh beefy flavor. There was a bit too small of a topping of an almost cole slaw with shredded lettuce and onions on top, and two small tomatoes. The cheddar was melted well, but didn’t stand out too much. The star and prominent flavor was the onion marmalade, both during and after my meal; it was sweet and had a good strong onion flavor. This was a very messy burger between the marmalade, mayo below and slaw juices, but overall way better than I anticipated.
The fries were also decent; your typical skinny variety cooked well with some skins and no oily flavor. This is both surprising and sad, as some strict burger joints I go to can’t even get fries right these days. All of my pleasant surprises aside, I do have a major problem with the $17 price tag for this burger. Given the fact that most of the main courses on the lunch menu range from $20-39 a $17 burger seems ok, but I would counter with the argument that all of these prices are far too high and this is once again a case of a Strip restaurant taking advantage of the convention/tourist crowd while utilizing the name of a famous chef. So while this was admittedly a good burger, I wouldn’t send you specifically to the MGM Grand to try it unless you already happened to be there and don’t mind overpaying for it. Plus, with Mina’s new 1842 about to open including hopefully a far superior burger, there will be better alternates on site.