November 11, 2010

A Teddy KGB Dinner

"Just like a young man, coming in for a quickie.  I feel so unsatisfied."

—Teddy KGB (John Malkovich) in "Rounders"

My recent Vegas weekend getaway was helpfully extended by the scheduling geniuses at United Airlines, so the sig other and I unexpectedly found ourselves at Harrah's Sunday evening.  Looking for a casual dinner, we wandered into the relatively new KGB, the upscale burger joint run by "celebrity" chef Kerry Simon.  Being a Food Network junkie, I had a vague familiarity with Chef Simon, but I hardly consider him as famous or as talented as he views himself.  Oh well, huzzah for narcissism!

We waited a few minutes at the vacant hostess stand until a rather provocatively clad young Asian woman approached us.  Now, the theme of the joint is supposed to be some kind of Russian industrial warehouse (just guessing; the decor is rather disjointed), so an Asian woman dressed in black fishnet leggings and a skimpy Victoria's Secret-esque outfit kind of seems out of place.  I suspect my traditional male readers would overlook the cognitive dissonance, while my traditional female readers would shoot withering glares at their male companions.  Seriously, I know it's Vegas and all, but do we really need a tramp one step removed from a porn slapper card seating folks at a burger joint?

The servers were males in jeans and white polos, who took casual attitudes over the edge into excessively familiar indifference.  Apparently management refuses to make sex objects out of their (male) employees.  Good for them, not so good for those of us non-traditional males and traditional females wanting a little equal time.  Still, it was a friendly vibe, so not a bad place for a relaxing dinner.  Also, the ostentatious single block of ice running the length of the bar, chilling numerous bottles of vodka, added a little Vegas pizzazz.

The burgers themselves come either in a handful of specialty burgers, or in a build-your-own approach.  I suspect most folks won't have much interest in the chef's creations, and the sig other and I were in that crowd.  So we commenced building.

Hmmm, $1 for lettuce?  Another buck for tomato?  And mustard or mayo?  And pickles?  And cheese?  And for bacon, mushrooms, or any other relatively standard topping?  Look, there were a few interesting toppings, and one could probably build a hundred different burgers with all the ingredient combinations.  But there were no "wow!" ingredients or interesting side dishes like one might find at The Burger Bar, Le Burger Brasserie, or BLT Burger.  I tried the vodka-cured peppers and was underwhelmed.  My burger itself had gorgonzola, wild mushrooms, and red pepper aioli.  The toppings were fine, but the burger was overwhelmed by the oversized jalapeno-cheddar bun, not to mention overcooked to the point of Saharan dryness (though I requested it medium).  I love sweet potato fries, but the sweet potato tater tots were bland as rice puffs.  The specialty cocktails (we sampled the premium margarita, blackberry mojito, passion fruit Moscow mule, and blackberry Collins) were quite tasty, but they should have been at $10 a pop.

All things considered, it wasn't a horrible meal, but for the price, I could've had a great dinner at any number of better burger joints.  I feel so ... unsatisfied.

4 comments:

  1. Fun post.

    $1 for lettuce, yikes.

    You mentioned blackberry mojito. They originally called it MOJO. They were worried that I'd sue, so they changed it slightly.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey, you got something against tramps?

    As for the burgers I can relate to the attitude on the chef's creations. Give an ego driven chef something as simple as a good old burger and watch them screw it up royally. Haute cuisine is for sit down dinners, not fast food. i always love looking at what some of these characters label a "Philly" cheesesteak when they make them. A real South Philadelphian, where the sandwhich was born, would look at it like, "wtf is that, you trying to poison me"?

    Thanks for the info. Staying at Harrah's for the WPBT weekend and I'll avoid being tempted.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I went to BLT Burger at Mirage after the AVP tournament. Same deal there: $1 per topping. I was not amused. Also, the burger/shake/fries combo only applied to the plain burger. You could not add it onto a special burger. I dropped $28 on a burger/shake/fries with no alcohol for the same quality you can get at Fuddruckers for half the price. Guess I should have known something was up when a restaurant in that high traffic area is always half empty.

    KGB was on my list to try (have been to Le Burger and Burger Bar in the past), but not sure I can stomach $1/topping again. I'm willing to pay more for better food, but once you get me up to the $30 range for lunch I might as well go to Bouchon.

    ReplyDelete
  4. @ MOJO & Tarpie: There's just something wrong about charging for pickles, lettuce, and tomato. It's ... un-American.

    @ Tarpie: I like Burger Brasserie the best for variety of options, value, and location. I really appreciate their lamb burger, with pancetta, italian herbs, and goat cheese. BLT Burger is a bit down the list, but it's a good place to use the Mirage poker room comps. Also, BLT has the best jalpeno poppers ever. They are large, stuffed with chipotle cream cheese, with a great salsa dipping sauce. Enough to make you overlook the price on the burger toppings. Well, almost.

    ReplyDelete