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BOBBY'S BURGER PALACE

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CityCenter

3750 Las Vegas Blvd. S.

Las Vegas, NV 89109

702-598-0191

website

$10-$20

Daily 10am-12am

Burgers

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AT A GLANCE

What is it?

A burger joint from celebrity chef Bobby Flay.

Where is it?

At the base of the Mandarin Oriental hotel tower at CityCenter, only accessible from The Strip.

What kind of food is served?

Burgers, of course, but also a couple of sandwiches and salads.

What is the atmosphere like?

Casual and sunny with large, shared tables.

How is the service?

Everybody we ran into was friendly and efficient.

What are the prices like?

About typical in the Vegas burger wars - figure about $10 depending on which style you order.

What else do I need to know?

Their milkshakes are amazing.

What's the bottom line?

A worthy competitor in the Vegas burger wars.

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FULL REVIEW

The burger war rages on in Las Vegas with this, the latest front in the attack with no less than celebrity chef Bobby Flay leading the charge. If you don't know Flay from the Food Network, maybe you know his othere Vegas restaurant: the fantastic Mesa Grill at Caesars Palace. The question for the burget battle is whether or not Flay's burger joint it a valiant warrior or so much meaty cannon fodder? Definitely a warrior in my opinion.

At my count there are now more than 8,000 burgers joints on The Strip. I may be rounding up on that figure but pretty much every major hotel has at least one and many of them have recognizable names behind them like Gordon Ramsay (BurGR at Planet Hollywood) and Kerry Simon (KGB at Harrah's). Setting yourself apart from the crowd requires some original presentation and a high quality, both of which Bobby's has in spades.

Before I get to the food, it's probably important to talk about the location. The restaurant is on the ground floor of the Mandarin Oriental at CityCenter, facing The Strip. It is not accessible through the hotel or the adjacent Crystals mall. Instead, you have to enter from either the sidewalk on The Strip or off the main driveway for the Mandarin Oriental. Your best bet if you are walking north from Monte Carlo you'll go right by it. If you are walking South, cross the bridge over the Aria main driveway, turn left, and go down the escalators toward The Strip. If you are driving, it's probably best to park in the Aria parking garage and walk down to The Strip. I'm making it sound harder than it really is but it's not as easy as most, which are located in or adjacent to casino floors.

The room has high ceilings and big windows giving it a very airy feel. There are a handful of tables outside along The Strip while inside has a bunch of long communal tables, meaning you'll be sharing your eating space with total strangers most likely. That's okay - it's a good way to meet people.

The menu is mostly burgers, unsurprisingly, although you could be a rebel and get one of the handful of salads or sandwiches like a grilled cheese with five different kinds all melted together or the deluxe version of same with upscale inclusions such as brie and goat cheese thrown into the mix.

But burgers are the primary lure - hence the name - and here you get about a dozen options including a classic with American, lettuce, and tomato; a blue cheese variety; a spice crusted patty topped with coleslaw and BBQ sauce; the Philadelphia with onions and hot peppers; a Miami, which is basically a Cuban sandwich pressed with ham; one with avocado and watercress; and more. Any of them can be made with beef, turkey, or chicken.

Their signature is the Crunchburger, which puts potato chips atop the patties and American cheese.

We sampled a bunch of them and couldn't find a bum note in the group. The Crunchburger is a little odd at first but grows on you and the blue cheese burger is drenched in the stuff - a good thing in my opinion. The burgers themselves are thick, juicy, perfectly cooked, and seasoned "just so" to give them a nice, smoky flavor. I approve.

Sides include regular fries, sweet potato fries, and some fantastic, thick-cut onion rings.

And don't forget about the shakes. Hand scooped ice cream in a bunch of different flavors with whipped cream and even booze of various types if you want.

Prices are about typical for a burger joint on The Strip, which is to say more than McDonald's but less than most lunch buffets. Figure around $10 for the burger, another few bucks for sides, and shakes all under the $10 mark unless you get one with alcohol. You can easily do this for under $20 including tax and tip.

Service is usually limited to your interaction with the staff at the counter where you place your order but everyone we met was friendly and more than willing to help.

So how does it stack up in the burger war? Although I really enjoyed it, I still have to tip my hat to KGB for the best burgers in town. I'd put Bobby's in a tie for second place alongside Gordon Ramsay's BurGR.

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