Take Chef Michael Mina; ask him for a pub concept and let the possibilities run wild in your mind. The menu at Pub 1842 inside of the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino shows once again why chefs are truly mad scientists in the kitchen—and when it comes to Las Vegas, a pub is anything but a pub.
The typical pub dining experience of a beer and burger is a great direction to go at Pub 1842, but as you can guess you are going to get a lot more than typical. To start off with, whatever burger you order it will it is going to be prepared to perfection as Pub 1842 uses American Wagyu beef and cooks the burger over a wood-fired grill. Just don’t destroy the flavor of this delicacy by ordering it any higher than medium-rare. The burger that has created a buzz since Pub 1842 has opened is the “Peanut Butter Crunch Burger.” The best thing about this burger is that the Wagyu still is the centerpiece; the peanut butter is layered nicely to let you know it is there, without being overpowering. The sweet and salty combination is then accentuated by the addition of a bacon jam. Each bite is an experience!
It might be blasphemous to say, but as good as the burgers are at Pub 1842, my favorite item on the menu was a salad. The taco salad prepared with carne asada was simply the best salad I’ve ever had. It starts off with the carne asada strips that were prepared rare and tender, as asked, and I found that there was plenty of carne asada so you could get some with each bite. Not being a fan of overly hot dishes, I was a little reluctant as the salad itself contains queso fresco, tortilla tomatillo and cilantro dressing. The rich dressing was spicy but not hot and really engulfed the finely shredded lettuce.
Pretzels and cheese: now how far can Michael Mina take this dish? Pretty far, actually! Start off with a pretzel so soft and tender it feels as if it went right from the baker’s hands to the oven, to your plate without a moment of hesitation. Pair it with a bowl of Merican beer cheese and a poached egg for dipping and you have a sauce that is simply rich and indulgent. The sauce is so good I could think of probably 100 other uses for it. A beer with this appetizer is the best way to get things going at Pub 1842.
Pub 1842 has enough of an eclectic menu that you would be hard pressed to find anyone who could not take pleasure from something on this menu. You can go from a lightly battered fish fry, to a baked ziti pie or a cedar wrapped salmon just to wet your appetite. I recommend steering clear of the healthy dishes, not because they aren’t fabulous, but because this is Vegas and you can worry about eating healthy when you get home. But if you insist, you can order the Heritage Turkey Burger or the Vegetarian Falafel Burger and leave Pub 1842 quite satisfied.
The macaroni and cheese was the only dish that left me in a quandary: it was full of flavor, thanks to the combination of black truffle and smoked Gouda. and everything was brought together in a very rich, thick and heavenly sauce. Then the broccoli appeared. Sadly, it does not appear on the menu, so it was a little shocking to find it in the dish itself and it really did nothing other than to take away from the other flavors. If you are going to order this you might see if they can prepare it sans broccoli.
Onto to the beer, as this is a pub. You are not going to be limited in terms of selections as Pub 1842 has over 50 selections and you can do a beer flight to get a taste of an assortment of beers that might be new to you. On the day I visited Pub 1842 I was lucky enough to have Will as my server. Will has probably forgotten more about beer than I will ever know and he will take you in whatever direction you are looking to go with his amazing advice. He pointed me to Full Sail Session from Oregon, and I think I have a new favorite beer for life. At Pub 1842 you are going to find beers from all over the world and I highly doubt they have any losers in the bunch. If you have a group of people you can also get a table that has its very own tap, allowing you to pour as much or as little as your group likes.
There is no question that the beer menu is amazing at Pub 1842, but you would be amiss if you did not take a look at the cocktail menu. Pub 1842 did their mixology work in bringing a number of classic spirit flavors to their menu to create some tasty cocktails. They use Bulleit Bourbon in two cocktails, the classic Old Fashion and their own creation, the Heist. The Heist gives you a little bite with a strawberry-pepper syrup to go with the bourbon, while maintaining a nice balance with the addition of vanilla and lemon juice. If you are looking for a lot of bite, you can go with a shot of the house-made fireball, a mix of Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey and cinnamon water. You really can't go wrong with any of the barrel-aged or infused cocktails, this is what a cocktail menu is meant to be.
You might not necessarily have come to Las Vegas to eat at a pub, but with the Michael Mina stamp on Pub 1842, this is one pub that is certainly worth your time. At the end of your trip you want to leave Las Vegas with a memorable experience and Pub 1842 has the food and atmosphere that will leave you and your friends with exactly that.
For more information on Pub 1842, visit: http://www.mgmgrand.com/restaurants/pub-1842.aspx