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GILLEY'S

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Treasure Island

3300 Las Vegas Blvd. S.

Las Vegas, NV 89109

702-894-7111

website

$20-$30

Sun-Thu 11am-2am

Fri-Sat 11am-4am

BBQ

A

AT A GLANCE

What is it?

Lots of good, down-home cooking in a country-western atmosphere.

Where is it?

At Treasure Island on the Center Strip.

What kind of food is served?

BBQ and other southern-fried style delicacies.

What is the atmosphere like?

Yeehaw.

How is the service?

Terrific - very friendly.

What are the prices like?

Moderately priced, especially for a Strip restaurant and this much food.

What else do I need to know?

They have a mechanical bull.

What's the bottom line?

A fun, relatively affordable option for a down-home style meal.

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FULL REVIEW

Made famous by the movie "Urban Cowboy," Gilley's was a fixture in Las Vegas for years at The Frontier. Luring in cowboys and tenderfoots of all stripe, the restaurant/saloon/dance hall/mechanical bull pen closed down when that hotel did in 2007.

But Gilley's is back and that's good news not only for those who love all things country, but for everyone else as well since the new incarnation at Treasure Island is a terrific dining experience whether you appreciate cowboy hats or not.

Located right along The Strip, with great people watching opportunities, the main dining area of Gilley's is a light and bright affair with plenty of windows and a authentic, but not overdone, roadhouse theme. It's all rough-hewn wood and country-western paraphernalia with lots of TVs showing music videos from the Yearwoods, Gills, and Underwoods of the music world. I'm not a fan of the genre so to me it sounded like one very long song (something about a pickup truck and dog), but the volume is kept at a decent level so it just becomes background noise after awhile.

And then there's the food to distract you from any of that. Lots of food; as in the portions are huge, the way that good-ole down-home cooking should be.

The menu is full of selections that would probably make your doctor write out a double-prescription of your cholesterol medication but really, who cares when it is this good?

Appetizers start with things like Buffalo wings, jalepeno poppers, nachos, a BBQ chicken quesadilla, and some perfectly breaded onion rings served with both a BBQ sauce and a yummy cilantro ranch.

But you may want to consider skipping that part and heading right to the chili. They have several types but it is their pork green variety - winner of a 2009 chili cookoff - that should be required eating. Done with hatch and poblano chiles and so-tender-they-fall-apart-on-your-spoon pieces of pork, this concoction deserves the award it won and a few others. Spicy but not overwhelmingly so and satisfying enough to almost make an entire meal out of.

They have some salads as a nod to more healthy minded eating but note that one comes with fried chicken on top and the other with pulled pork. Yeah, it's that kind of place. And we love them for it.

Speaking of pulled pork, that's one of the main events in their BBQ selections, which also includes short ribs, baby back ribs, hot links, and rotisserie chicken. The pork was darned-near perfect and their sauces, which include Jack Daniels, Carolina mustard, and smoked onion are fantastic. Each of their BBQ selections come with corn bread and a choice of two sides (potatoes, cole slaw, baked beans, corn on the cob, grits, fries, and more).

Main courses also get the sides and include fried chicken, a couple of different steaks (including a chicken-fried version with country gravy), and blackened salmon on white cheddar and green chili grits.

You can get the BBQ pork in sandwich variety also along with several burgers and chicken sandwiches. The Lone Star burger was huge, with a nice smoky charcoal flavor in the black Angus beef and perfect for adding their smoked onion BBQ sauce to.

Prices are moderate, which in Vegas standards means that most main courses are between $10 and $20. If you keep your appetizer and beer consumption to a minimum you can easily do lunch or dinner for around $25 per person, which is pretty good for a Strip restaurant and especially one that this serves this much good food.

The service was terrific from the famous Gilley Girls; friendly and chatty without being intrusive.

Once you're done with your meal, you can mosey on inside to the nightclub portion of the program, which includes a couple of bars, a dance floor (where they have line dancing lessons on select nights), and yes, the mechanical bull is back! Dare you! And if you go on a Tuesday night, be sure to check out Cowboy Karaoke... and say hi to my mom Pauline. She's usually there.

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