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A quickie at Nobhill Tavern

October 19, 2009

Sometimes you need to go for a full three hours to feel satisfied.

Variation after variation, experimentation upon experimentation. Pushing the boundaries of taste and sensation.

But sometimes you only have 45 minutes to cut to the chase, knock it out and hit the road.

That was the case with Nobhill Tavern.

After consecutive 3 hour tastings at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon and Fleur de Lys over the past two nights, I had 45 minutes for a final meal in Vegas. It was either that or stop on the drive home at Baker or Barstow and their fine dining options are limited. And by limited I mean non-existent. There was no way I was ending my Vegas eating adventure with drive-thru.

And then Nobhill beckoned. Inviting, warm, familiar. And with the promise of quick and easy satisfaction.

Who was I to say no?


Walking through her doors, I was welcomed by a comfortable and warmly lit space. On the right are semi-private booths, separated by glass and curtains. On the left, a long narrow wooden bar with padded leather stools, rows of bottles and glasses lining backlit bookcases behind it. Explore further and the space opens into a larger dining room at the rear of the restaurant. I chose the private booth for our brief liaison, something I would highly recommend. Decorated in warm shades of brown and tan, leather, suede and wood, Nobhill Tavern feels at once neighborhoody and familiar. Kinda like Cheers for foodies.


The food here is Michael Mina’s take on modern American tavern fare. It serves as a counterpoint to Mina’s other Las Vegas restaurants: Michael Mina (the Vegas outpost of his signature San Francisco restaurant), Stripsteak (steak) and Seablue (seafood).


Being on a tight schedule, I skipped the foreplay of appetizers and cut right to the main course. Braised short ribs with whipped potatoes, a Worchestershire sauce and glazed mirepoix. The short ribs were deliciously tender, moist and flavorful. For a simple dish, one of the best executions of braised short ribs in recent memory. The mashed potatoes were creamy and silky smooth, forming a perfect pillow under the generous square of short rib and soaking up the sauce as it flowed off the meat. The glazed vegetables and greens were good too but I was here for a different kind of satisfaction. And this dish did not disappoint.


My dining partner ordered the American Kobe burger, “secret sauce” and balsamic onions, with a side of fries. As good as my short ribs were, I have to say this was one of the best Kobe burgers I have ever had. Nothing too fancy in its construction, basically just patty, lightly toasted sesame seed bun, with some caramelized onions, tomato and “secret sauce” (i.e. some form of mayo), it was the quality of the patty that really made the burger. Again, moist, dripping with flavor, and well seasoned. The fries were also excellent. Thin cut and double, maybe triple, fried for crispiness. We actually took the remainder of the fries with us for the road.

I would have stayed for a drink but couldn’t linger. Payment was made for services very well rendered and a generous tip for extras.

I hit the road feeling both satiated and excited to come back for a longer session next time I’m in Vegas. In the meantime, I’ve already made a booking for XIV back in LA.

But sometimes a quickie is all you need to leave Vegas a winner.

MGM Grand
3799 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 891-7337

Nobhill Tavern in Las Vegas on Fooddigger

Nobhill (MGM Grand) on Urbanspoon

One Comment leave one →
  1. Thegirl permalink
    November 12, 2009 11:06 pm

    Memorable burger.

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