520 E. Fremont St.
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Vegas4Visitors Grade: B+
At a Glance
What is it?
One of a small (primarily) West Coast chain of restaurants that serves locally sourced pub grub type fare.
Where is it?
In the Emergency Arts building at the corner of Fremont and 5th, across the street from El Cortez.
What kind of food is served?
It’s sort of a pub grub type of place with salads, sandwiches, burgers, and more but with a locally sourced spin.
What is the atmosphere like?
An industrial chic dining room opens up onto Fremont Street East, great for people watching.
How was the service?
Very good and very friendly.
What are the prices like?
A few bucks more expensive than a lot of other Downtown Vegas restaurants but cheaper than The Strip.
What else do I need to know?
Check out the waitstaff’s t-shirts.
What’s the bottom line?
If you’re Downtown and hungry, this is a good option.
Downtown Las Vegas has come a long way in the last few years, now featuring interesting bars, restaurants, and stores. It’s a big change from the sad relic it had become but as with any gentrifying neighborhood, it is taking awhile for it to find its real identity. Eureka may be a bellweather for that search in ways good and maybe not so good.
One of a chain of mostly West Coast outlets, the restaurant is on the ground floor of the Emergency Arts building, in the space formerly occupied by the Beats coffee shop. It has been completely redone with an industrial chic design (think Restoration Hardware) and has a patio and big doors that open up onto the Fremont East Entertainment Distric. It’s a great place for people watching although be warned that while the neighborhood is moving upscale, some of the people who hang around there aren’t. We’ll call it eccentric.
A friendly wait staff has fun t-shirts – take the time to read them. My favorite: “Oh that’s a horrible idea! What time?”
The menu is mostly pub-grub style fare – sandwiches, tacos, burgers, salads, and a couple of entrees. It is all locally sourced and while not exactly healthy it leans toward that end of the scale with evidence in things like the cauliflower bites done in garlic aioli and lemon zest or the protein salad.
Of course the other end of the scale is represented as well with things like the fried mac and cheese balls with beer cheese sauce and Fresno chiles. Yes, we ordered those instead of the cauliflower and we don’t feel badly about it at all.
We tried a bunch of items – the Cobb salad, which was a little light on dressing for our taste, but otherwise quite fine and fresh with piles of chicken and veggies; the steak dip sandwich, done with caramelized onions and a horseradish mustard aioli, which was great for dipping in the accompanying jus; the fried chicken sliders, piled high with mashed potatoes and cole slaw and done with a Buffalo sauce; and the cowboy burger, with bacon, fried onion strings, and BBQ sauce. Everything was very good – the burger, while maybe a tad smaller than typical Vegas portions (I still couldn’t finish it), was especially noteworthy.
It’s worth noting that there is a weekend brunch with eggs, French toast, and more.
So, appealing design, good service, and good food. What’s the problem?
One of the usual issues with gentrification is that things get more expensive and that’s certainly the case here. We’re talking $12-$18 for most of the main courses with the entrees like salmon, halibut, and skirt steak all over $20. With sides, drinks, and tip you’re looking at $20-$25 per person easily, which is not out of line for this type of restaurant and cheaper than what a comparable restaurant on The Strip will set you back but it’s on the high end for Downtown Las Vegas. This is the land of $8.95 buffets and cheap Thai food so these kinds of prices are worth noting.
There are plenty of good options for eats in Downtwon Las Vegas these days. If you can handle the price, Eureka is one of them.