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PBR ROCK BAR & GRILL

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Planet Hollywood

3663 Las Vegas Blvd. S.

Las Vegas, NV 89109

702-750-1685

website

$20-$40

Daily 9am-Close

American

B

AT A GLANCE

What is it?

Down home American food in a country/rock environment.

Where is it?

At Planet Hollywood on the Center Strip.

What kind of food is served?

Big portions of high calorie food.

What is the atmosphere like?

There's a mechanical bull.

How is the service?

Good.

What are the prices like?

Surprisingly affordable.

What else do I need to know?

The tire swings are just for employees.

What's the bottom line?

It's a theme restaurant so go in with your expectations firmly in check and you could have a good meal here.

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FULL REVIEW

Years ago, if you dined in this space at Planet Hollywood, you'd be having an elegant Cajun/Creole inspired meal at the Las Vegas version of Commander's Palace, considered to be one of the finest on the planet.

Then for a while you could've been eating Pacific Rim themed food amongst tanned bikini clad women while it was the Hawaiian Tropic Zone.

Now, you can eat Dorito encrusted macaroni and cheese while people ride a mechanical bull.

I'm not saying this is a bad thing, I'm just saying...

PBR Rock Bar and Grill is one of many theme restaurants to take up residence on The Strip. Located at Planet Hollywood, it might not be the most successful but it's certainly a fine example of the form.

PBR, for the uninitiated, stands for Professional Bull Riders and so it is no surprise that the venue is heavy on the rodeo kitsch. There is lots of rough-hewn wood and roadhouse style decor throughout the massive 13,000 square-foot space plus the prerequisite mechanical bull and even some tire swings above the tables. Sorry, the latter are reserved for staff members.

They also have four bars, a private dining room, a Strip-side patio, 115 flat screen TVs, a DJ booth, a dance floor, and an indoor/outdoor stage for live performances. It's a rowdy type of place that isn't designed for quiet reflection - it's definitely a party spot.

Need proof? During the Adult Entertainment Expo that happens in January of every year, they had porn stars riding on the mechanical bull... and they called it the Ho-Down Hoedown.

You gotta admit that's kind of funny. Tacky and tasteless, perhaps, but funny. The entire place is like one big western themed Will Ferrell movie.

The grill part of the PBR Rock Bar and Grill serves up big portions of big calorie American grub. They start with a few breakfast items at 9am (chicken and waffles, flap jacks, French toast, etc.) and then move on to the Buffalo wings, burgers, pizzas, ribs, sandwiches, salads, fried chicken, and the like all the way into the stumble home portion of the evening.

If you're looking for heart-healthy and/or fine dining style cuisine you're probably not going to be happy here. This is the kind of place that starts with fried pickles, mini corn dogs, and BBQ potato chip nachos as appetizers and

never looks back.

Okay, there are a couple of salads but one of them comes with BBQ pork on it so really, let's get serious.

Their chicken noodle soup and smoked chicken gumbo were both the hits of our entire meals at PBR, the former being loaded with lusciously thick noodles and tender chunks of white meat with the latter thick and spicy (but not outrageously so) with veggies, sausage, and chicken. It's worth noting that both came in bowls roughly the size of my head so a quick pre-dinner cup of soup is not on the menu. I should've had a clue when after ordering the soup and a sandwich, the server said "You want both?" with obvious concern in her eyes.

Pizzas include pepperoni, pulled pork, and BBQ chicken or you can make your own from a variety of toppings; burgers and sandwiches feature a crispy pork cutlet, fried chicken sliders, BBQ pork, and Sloppy Joe sliders (the latter living up to their name with tons of tangy tomato sauced ground beef); ribs, brisket, fried chicken, and smoked salmon round out the entrees; and sides run the gamut from French fries to corn on the cob to deviled eggs and even their signature Dorito crusted mac and cheese.

Regarding that dish, it's probably a sinful bit of decadence for a lot of people unless you, like me, eat nacho cheese Doritos on a semi-regular basis. Granted I don't combine them with mac and cheese, but the flavor combo, while interesting, didn't seem all that special to my Dorito de-sensitized palate.

Desserts are big and gooey as a general rule with banana cream pie, peach cobbler, sundaes and floats, and even cupcakes from The Cupcakery served on skewers and snack cakes (Suzie Q's and Snowballs) drenched in chocolate and whipped cream.

Prices are refreshingly low, especially for a Strip restaurant. Appetizers, soups, salads, and most of the burgers and sandwiches are under $10, with pizzas and the entrees, which can easily serve more than one person, mostly in the $12-20 range. It's easy to get out of here with a non-alcoholic beverage, tax, and tip for under $20 per person.

Theme restaurants abound in Las Vegas and while this is not the best of them, or even the best with a mechanical bull, it's fun and serves up huge portions of solidly good food at reasonable rates. Hard to argue with that.

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