Border Grill
 Susan Feniger & Mary Sue Milliken

  Las Vegas, Nevada        Date of Visit: 12/18/11

Okay, the Two Hot Tamales are in Las Vegas? They’re still doing Mexican inspired food…correction…authentic Mexican food? Apparently their food has earned both of them spots on different seasons of Top Chef Masters. When I started watching the Food Network so many years ago with the Bumbling Emeril, the Two Fat Ladies, and the show with the “comedian” who couldn’t cook; Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Miliken were preparing foods that had not yet found their way to Ohio.



Great Salsas

We took the long stroll through Mandalay Bay to find the Border Grill and entered it’s linear modern interior. The hostess was probably the best we had encountered in Vegas who came prepped with questions about our trip and how our day was going. Too bad our server couldn’t follow her energy, he gave every impression of phoning it in. We ordered a couple of apps the Quinoa Fritters and the Citrus chicken Quesadilla and followed those with two types of tacos the Kobe Beef and the Fish Ensenada.

Everything started with a basket of warm chips and three small cups of salsas. One red garlicky chunky concoction, a tomatoesque red smoothie and a citrusy green salsa verde. The salsa verde was stupendous with lots of bright notes to balance the staples. The appetizers arrived with a scoop of guacamole which was smooth as silk and carried in nice limeness over the garlic.

Fresh Chips

Super Smooth Guac, Nice Lime Punch

Crispy Quinoa Nuggets, Great Sauce


Tender but Needed a Citrus Punch

The fritters had a nice crisp crust and sat on an Aji Amarillo aioli which is a vinegary mayo like concoction using a hot yellow Peruvian pepper paste. Pickled onions, cotija cheese and dressed greens (I think epazote) worked exceptionally well together. The quesadilla was fine but devoid of any sense of citrus that either of us could detect, but the chicken was incredibly tender and tasteful with the manchego, panela and cotija cheeses.

The taco plates arrived and we were already ruing the number of chips and dips we had imbibed in. Both plates held some veggies which were well treated and black beans which were a dark sludge that was deliciously beany with a sprinkle of cotija cheese over the top. The fish plate came with red and green rice (Christmas?) with the red being much favored by both of us. The three small handmade corn tortillas on both plates were loaded with ingredients.


Kobe Beef Tacos


Lotsa Steak and the Pineapple Really Works

Ensenada Fish Tacos and Funky Rices

Even Better Combo Than The Steak

The beef was marinated in a way that stood out in the finished product and was topped with a pineapple salsa and guacamole. The pineapple worked well with the rich beef, I just didn’t care much for the fresh tortillas. I don’t know if it is my Americanized understanding of the product but I found their taste and texture to detract from the dish instead of improving it. The beer battered fish was even better with a tomatillo avocado crema. Crispy fish and great condiments were also held back by the wrapper for me…but it could be just me.

Against our better judgment we agreed to try a couple half portions from the dessert menu. The server suggested the Flan which we ordered although I have never been a fan of the Mexican version of the custard. It has always been under sweet or over eggy and too sweet if you know what I mean. Their version was actually very nice with the caramel sauce putting the dish squarely into the dessert category. We also tried the Pastel Rufina which consisted of wondrous layers of puff pastry, filled with sweetened cream cheese and chocolate chunks, served with fresh berries. The pastry took on a tangy sweetness that enveloped the crunchy chocolate chunks and was the winner for the night.

Both Were Better Than Imagined. Esp. the Rufina



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