I still think that one of my most surprising burger meals of the year came from a restaurant that is unfortunately closed now, Nobhill. It was a Vegas institution for over 12 years until it closed in March, and I somehow missed eating there until just before it left us. But with that sad bit of news came something positive; a new Michael Mina restaurant to take over the old Seablue space by the name of PUB 1842. We all secretly hoped that a replacement burger would be made there, and were even given hints at something fantastic during some preview events, so after giving them a few weeks to get their kinks worked out I made my way over just to see what they came up with.
At first glance 1842 has a nice ‘old’ pub style to its interior, but upon closer inspection it feels not much better than a glorified Applebee’s. There are some neat light fixtures, but lots of hard surfaces, mostly oversized booths and a really odd back bar make this for a strange replacement to the classy interior that was Nobhill. The restaurant is located in the middle of restaurant row and picks up huge crowds from the convention center and MGM Grand Arena, so plan accordingly if you’re there during a peak period. I was there on a weekday at noon and was able to get a seat right away, but just 10 minutes later some convention broke for lunch and there was a line out the door. There are way too many items to list on the menu, but many of them sound great. Now that I’ve gotten a burger out of the way, I’ll have to head back for the fried homemade pickles and lobster corn dogs at a minimum.
Out of the several burgers they offer, I went with the one that sounded the most interesting, the peanut butter crunch burger with bacon jam and potato chips. Upon first bite I was hit with a fantastic beef and char flavor that instantly brought me back to the Nobhill burger I enjoyed so much, but things changed a bit from there. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed this burger but it had some flaws if I’m going to be my nit-picking self. The bun was a bit too thick and dry, which didn’t help with a burger that has peanut butter as one of its main toppings. As I said the meat had excellent flavor, was cooked well, but this was not a juicy patty at all. The bacon jam had great flavor, and really paired well with the potato chips even though you can’t taste them too well in the mix. Overall this assembly is just naturally not very moist, and loses something for me. The two people I had lunch with both ordered a bacon cheeseburger, and theirs looked so much juicier than mine. I’d love to come back and sample both that one and the 1842 burger in the near future. All of the right flavors are there; I know they can most likely still produce something fantastic.
Unfortunately the fries seemed somewhat of the generic frozen variety; they weren’t quite as good as before, but had a good rosemary flavor and were cooked well. I really wished for something a little more original when paired with something as odd as a burger with bacon jam, peanut butter and potato chips on it. As for the price, $17 seems way too steep for this burger, with a couple of them at $18 on their menu. I understand that this is a convention centric dining spot, and I get that strategy, but it’s still a bit hard to cough up that kind of money for a burger. Plus if you consider that their last restaurant, which was arguably fancier and more intimate served what was possibly a better burger for $15, it makes this a bit more troubling. Regardless, PUB 1842 seems to have quite a good menu, and seems to offer several really good burgers, so if you’re at MGM Grand you probably won’t find a better offering.