Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill, Las Vegas

There are the meals that you eat to try new experiences, and there are the meals that you eat to relive old memories. Then there are the meals that you eat to enjoy old experiences, but they so surpass your expectations, they become new experiences.
This is one such meal. 
Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill, started by the original celebrity chef, is located on the casino floor of the MGM Grand hotel, right in the midst of all the action. It isn’t quiet, but it does maintain a sense of elegance and refinement with its colorful but streamlined decor and consistently courteous and competent waitstaff.
I have eaten here many times for a quick bite, and each time, the food is just what I feel like – well seasoned, inventive spins on classic American dishes.
The only difference this time was that the food was exceptional.
Were the soups always as complex, as herby, as perfectly smooth as this tortilla soup? It had a smoky, earthy flavor that was complemented by the comforting taste of chicken and the kick of cilantro. Not at all hot, but definitely full of spices, it was balanced by chunks of creamy avocado. It was soothing, inviting yet interesting to the palate. A definite appetite starter.
Was the Maytag Blue Cheese Potato Chips always so perfectly balanced a dish? Were the chips always so thin, so crispy, unsalted to let the tangy, pungent, funkiness of the blue cheese show through? The cheese sauce was velvety and creamy with gigantic chunks of soft blue cheese, the heat revealing all of it’s umami flavor.
I love these more than I love my family. True story.
Was the Chinois Chicken Salad always so refreshing yet satisfying?
Puck introduced this salad in the 1998’s at his Chinese fusion restaurant, Chinois on Main. This basically revolutionized the modern Chinese Chicken Salad, with its acidic dressing, lightly poached chicken and shredded vegetables, and the salad is just as delicious today as it was then. The chicken was in credibly tender and flavorful, and the dressing was light but flavorful with acid and sweetness. The vegetables were all shredded to equal sizes, which I SWEAR makes a difference in the taste. The wontons were freshly friend and irresistible, and the peanuts (on the side so my peanut-allergic friend could try some), were candied and crunchy. This is the gold standard of Chinese chicken salad.
Was the pizza always so…pretty good for restaurant pizza?
I really don’t’ know the answer to this – I haven’t ever tried the pizza here before. But this had outstanding toppings – tender meatballs, fragrant with basil and garlic, creamy wads of mozzarella stretching out over vibrant, intensely tomato-ey sauce.
  The crust was a bit thicker than I like, but beneath the pillowy top lay some good char. While I wouln’t order pizza here, it isn’t per se bad. It’s just that everything else is so satisfying.
 Say what you like about Puck – that he sold out, that he is never in the kitchen, that he looks like a cheerful kitchen-elf. Say what you want, but the truth is – his restaurants have damn great food, and this one has especially great prices. This is nice enough for a meal celebrating a birthday, but casual enough to sit at the bar and enjoy a quick burger. The staff is knowledgeable about the items but never tries to upsell. The service is prompt and the food really goes beyond expectations.
And every time I go there, the food is better than I remember it.

Comments

  1. JustinM says:

    A few years ago I was in Vegas with my family. I chose to sit at the bar by the sports book and watch football and drink beer, but they all went to Puck's for some late afternoon grub. I was happy with my choice until my brother starting telling me all the snacks they had.

  2. Ada says:

    Yum, that looks like an awesome restaurant. So glad you're having fun in Vegas!!!

  3. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    @Justin-hey, ya live, ya learn, right? ;)
    @Ada-thanks!! It really was a BLAST!

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  1. [...] is the best Chinese chicken salad I have had since Wolfgang Puck’s version in Las Vegas. Really a perfect version of this California cuisine standard. The chicken is poached so it is [...]

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