January 3, 2010

Border Grill

Today I had the pleasure of dining at Border Grill at Mandalay Bay on the Las Vegas Strip. Regular readers of this blog know that I avoid dining on the Strip as much as possible, but today, was a wonderful exception!

According to the website, Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, Food Network’s “Too Hot Tamales”, want to "spice up your day" and they certainly spiced up ours!

At the hostess stand, we perused the menu - I noticed right away several dishes that could be made to be vegetarian or vegan, but my friend made a point of telling the hostess that I am a vegan and would I be taken care of? She assured us that the chef was able to make anything on the menu vegetarian and if we spoke to the server, there would be no problem in creating a vegan dish. Woo hoo! Show me to the table!!

We were treated to chips and 3 types of salsa: chipotle, tomato & tomatillo. Each had their unique charm, and it was difficult to decide which I liked better. The chipotle was smokey and dark, the tomato was sweet and smooth, and the tomatillo was cool and citrusy. We pretty much devoured it all - stopping just short of licking the monkey dishes.

Time to order... When I told the server I was vegan and what would he suggest I order, he immediately jumped enthusiasitcally to my aid. He pointed to several dishes that could have the meat and cheeses removed, but said that the chef usually makes black bean tacos (this is an off-menu item and many of us vegans are used to eating off-menu!) with 2 types of rice (green & red) and pico de gallo served with warm home-made soft corn tortillas. The server assured me that the rice and black beans were 100% veg*n, no lard. My friend ordered Chile Relleno (roasted poblano pepper • manchego • panela • cotija cheeses • roja salsa • tomatillo salsa • rice • black beans) which I am now realizing is vegetarian!

My black bean tacos were to die for because of the simplicity! I love eating foods where I can identify in one tasting and name all the ingredients in English, not in chemistry terms. Simple and delicious.

With the help, confidence & knowledge of the hostess and the server, and the ease with which the chef whipped me up something as delicious as these tacos, I am happy to give Border Grill 5 sprouts and recommend that if you are on the Strip and looking for Mexican food, visit Mandalay Bay for this hidden treat located over the lazy river & along the way to the Shark Reef.

Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino
3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89119
phone: 702.632.7403 fax: 702.632.6945

Executive Chef - Mike Minor
General Manager - Kent Harman