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YARDBIRD SOUTHERN TABLE & BAR

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Venetian/Palazzo

3355 Las Vegas Blvd. S.

Las Vegas, NV 89109

702-297-6541

website

$15-$40

Daily 11am-12am

Southern

A

AT A GLANCE

What is it?

A warm and inviting restaurant serving up some down home southern cooking.

Where is it?

At The Venetian on the Center Strip.

What kind of food is served?

Slap ya mamma southern specialties.

What is the atmosphere like?

A little rustic, sort of like an upscale roadhouse, and very loud.

How is the service?

Very fast and friendly.

What are the prices like?

It's not cheap but not too expensive either.

What else do I need to know?

Bring your appetite - the portions are huge.

What's the bottom line?

Apparently it is possible to get good southern cooking outside of the south.

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FULL REVIEW

I'm a fan of many different types of food but if you were to pin me down and force me to pick just one favorite it would have to be southern cooking. Give me a good fried chicken or grilled pork chop or barbecue and some mac and cheese on the side and I'll be as happy as whatever farm animal you happen to pick rolling around in whatever you happen to envision it rolling around in.

But I am also a bit of a snob when it comes to southern cooking, believing that it is virtually impossible to find the real deal outside of the American south. Note that I said virtually, because Yardbird Southern Table & Bar at The Venetian is absolutely an exception to the rule.

The restaurant itself is done as sort of an upscale roadhouse with brick and wood plank walls, exposed wood or stamped tin ceilings, and the like. It's warm and inviting but all the hard surfaces conspire to bounce the conversation and general noise around like sonic ping pong balls, making the place very, very loud. Quiet dinner conversations are not on the menu.

But what is on there is a little slice of down home heaven, all done with a modern gastropub twist. Deviled eggs come with dill, chive, and smoked trout roe; the "mac" is drowning in five artisanal cheeses; the fried green tomatoes come on a BLT with smoke pork belly and tomato jam. You get the idea.

You could try one of the salads made with produce from local farmers but that isn't why you came here.

You came for Mama's biscuits, warm buttermilk flaky bits of genius that you can get with just honey butter and house-made jam or topped with brisket, crispy chicken or Virginia ham. The latter comes with Vermont sharp cheddar cheese and that, in combination with the smoky, salty, yummy ham and mouth-watering biscuit was almost perfect in presentation and taste.

At lunch you get several sandwich options including smoked brisket with Swiss, an open-face chicken salad sandwich with avocado, a burger, and the like. Go up the ladder a bit for a daily fresh fish, chicken wings, or shrimp and grits.

At dinner - sorry, they call it supper here as they rightly should - you get some BBQ pork ribs, short ribs, and a roasted artichoke pasta that I'm just going to presume has some sort of southern origin to it and move on because what you really need to be paying attention to is the chicken.

This is some good bird, served fried with honey hot sauce or smoked with a house-made BBQ sauce. Or you can kick it up a notch with the fried chicken, watermelon, and waffles served with a bourbon maple syrup. I have had some excellent fried chicken in my time but I tell you what, this was a mighty fine example of the delicacy. Tender, juicy, crunchy, just the right amount of heat - you won't find better anywhere in Las Vegas and it's a right fine challenger to some of the best of the bird from the Deep South.

Prices are moderate on most items. At lunch most items are under $18 except for the chicken specialty dishes, which break the $20 and even $30 barriers. It's worth noting that while the fried chicken by itself will run you $26, it's for half a chicken and could easily feed two people.

At dinner most of the main courses are in the $20-$30 range, which I categorize as not bad especially for this much of food this good.

As I write this I am currently planning another southern-fried road trip and dreaming about all of the amazing food I'm going to eat. It's nice to know that if I ever have a hankering, I can just head to Yardbird in Vegas to tide me over until I get there.

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