Vegas Bright Millennial Foodie, Michael James, reviews Yardbird Southern Table & Bar at The Venetian.
[Author’s Note – I can’t believe I missed this review from my Las Vegas trip over seven months ago. Mea culpa, but please read on.]
If you followed along with my six night trip to Las Vegas this past April, you might have noticed very little of it was spent on The Strip. To me, Vegas is more than the area between Tropicana Ave and Desert Inn Road, filled with a zillion tourists just looking around, bad gambling odds, monetization of all but the air (but give them time on that one) and an artificially manufactured vibe.
However that being said, my wife still really likes the touristy side of Las Vegas so on our last full day, we decided to park (for free!) at The Venetian, walk south to the MGM Grand, cross The Strip and head back the other side… stopping to smell the roses along the way.
In addition, my wife and I are big fans of Gordon Ramsay’s schtick on TV, and we’ve really enjoyed each of his branded restaurants. On the last season of Hell’s Kitchen prior to our trip, the winner, Kimberly Ryan, won the “head chef” position at Yardbird Southern Table. This intrigued us, as most recent Hell’s Kitchen prizes are at his Las Vegas restaurants, and as far as I can tell, Ramsay doesn’t own a stake in Yardbird (get it? Stake? Steak?)
So when we decided to start our day at the Venetian, we chose to start it with an early lunch at Yardbird. We had made a reservation for 11:00 AM, but though the restaurant was a little busier than I figured, there was plenty of available seating.
After being seated and taking our drink order, our waiter (in a brilliant example of suggestive selling) mentioned that if we’d be interested in dessert, we should order it now because the peach cobbler was individually made and needed over 30 minutes to cook. Here we are, starving and formerly fat, and he mentions dessert. OF COURSE we ordered it. But more on that later.
Being a millennial (Side note; just because I am pushing 50 years old, I can be a millennial. My motto “I identify, therefore I am”) we reviewed the menu from home and we were pretty sure what we wanted. Fried chicken.
Another bit of backstory; at the time of this lunch, my wife and I were still in the process of significant weight loss and I was down well over 90#. However, this was Vegas and we were at a fried chicken restaurant. What the hell did you think we were going to have for lunch?
The chicken was excellent. The breading was flavorful and the chicken moist and juicy. Not sure what “spiced” the watermelon, but I did note the taste of basil. I am not a Biscuit Man, but if all biscuits tasted like this, I’d reconsider. Now when I am ordering from a menu – especially on vacation – any meal for $15 doesn’t even arouse suspicion. But when I saw what I received for my $15… two pieces of chicken, four squares of watermelon and one biscuit? Really? I am the first to say “You’re on vacation, go ahead and splurge”. But in this case, I kinda felt ripped off. That’s just not a lot of food.
Good thing we ordered a side to share.
With the, um, moderate portions, we still had room for when our dessert did arrive.
I drank water and my wife had two Diet Cokes. Would it surprise you at this point if I told you that those cute 10 ounce bottles were $5.00 each? Well, I was surprised.
I need to repeat and to make clear that the taste of the food was delightful, and the service was spot-on. However, it was basically fried chicken and macaroni and cheese. I didn’t take a photo of the receipt, but according to my credit card statement, the total with tax and tip was $79.00. For a fried chicken lunch.
In my opinion, my wife and I paid a tax of at least $20 to dine at a Strip property that – let’s be honest – is filled with (and therefore caters to) convention center patrons and their expense accounts. If $79.00 for lunch doesn’t faze you, Yardbird is certainly a great place for a meal.
[Photos: Michael James]