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In the midst of all the fine elegant dining in Las Vegas there exists a loyal following for Barbecue. As a result Las Vegas Direct has put a special panel together to find and review the Top 10 Barbecue Restaurants. In creating this list we noticed there are many different spellings for Barbecue. These include BBQ, Bar-B-Q, Barbie and Barbeque, but like somebody said, “It’s all good.”
The panel was made up of a food critic, local residents, ourselves and a few tourists who practically swore they were barbecue experts.
Many people think that for a barbecue restaurant to be good it must have rickety tables and sawdust on the floor. This is certainly not true for the Mesa Grill which is located in the middle of Caesars Palace.
The Mesa Grill is unique for two reasons. First, it combines typical American barbecue with the flavors and spices of Southwest cuisine. Secondly, it is run by the television celebrity chef Bobby Flay, who puts a gourmet twist to almost every item on the menu.
Typical menu items are New Mexico spiced rubbed pork, spicy chicken, coffee rubbed fillet mignon, Black Angus steak and their special Mesa burger.
Along with the meat servings there is a variety of seafood and side dishes all with a Southwest cuisine flavor. In addition there are two items in the appetizer menu not to be missed. They are Yucatan Chicken Tacos and Roasted Corn Soup. A real winner on the dessert menu is Deep Dish Banana Pie with peanut brittle.
If you think the Memphis Barbecue is the creation of some good old southern boys using an old family recipe, forget it. But, their food being so tasty, it doesn’t really matter where they are from. The real story is the word Memphis comes from Memphis Championships an award they won.
There are three Memphis Barbecue restaurants in Las Vegas . The menus are the same for each of them. The one we are reviewing is on Warm Springs Rd. , it is closest to the Strip.
Being near the Strip the restaurant attracts a goodly number of celebrities; Celine Dion, Deacon Jones, The Pointers, Penn and Teller to name just a few. Keep in mind that all though it is strictly a barbecue restaurant the decor is above average and there is a full bar. Price wise, they are moderate.
The menu favorite is Baby Back Ribs. These may be ordered in combination with other meats or ribs such as St Louis Ribs or even Beef Ribs. There is a very wide choice of other barbecue or smoked dishes such as chicken, pork shoulder, hot links, brisket, southern catfish, grilled salmon, shrimp, pork steak, smoked turkey, rib-eye and N.Y. strip steak.
There is a hamburger and sandwich menu made of grilled and smoked items that is worth looking at.. If you enjoy meat and potatoes, how about this? On their sides menu is a meaty baked potato stuffed with an assortment of meats.
Various other side dishes are offered on their menu ranging from coleslaw to French fries. There are salads for those with vegetarian tendencies. The dessert menu is not too inspired.
Rollin Smoke Barbeque is "off the chain" good. The food was just amazing! It is a small family-run business that you might otherwise pass by without even noticing. We had a Meat Trio consisting of brisket, pork and ribs with waffle fries and Mac n Cheese. The meats were tender, juicy and full of smoked goodness flavor. The house BBQ sauce adds even more flavor than we thought possible.
The waffle fries were very crispy. You will want to order extra. You can order an All You Can Eat plate of beef ribs if you can handle it and the price is reasonable too. Sides include traditional corn bread, fried onion straws, greens, and even corn nuggets. Yum is all I can say. Pulled pork, hot links, beef ribs, pork ribs, and rib tips are all smoked to perfection and simply delectable.
The chicken and brisket were good too with a a perfectly matched sauce that was not too sweet or overly spicy. If you can possibly have room for dessert, go for the cobbler. The only downside was that the place itself isn't much to look at when it comes to decor, but they keep it very clean. The location is a bit off the beaten path, but that is a small price to pay for such delicious food.
This is a great BBQ joint. Even though it is a "chain," you won't find much better BBQ anywhere else in town. They start out bringing you homemade chips to try all the sauces with before your plates arrived. It is a fabulous idea so you can taste all the great sauces using the chips instead of with your fingers.
They have what are possibly the best ribs we have ever eaten, and trust us, we have eaten plenty of ribs! Each rib is super tender and falls of the bone - and with the sauces provided, we all were simply in heaven. We made full use of the big paper towels at each table. The portions are huge too, so you might be taking some ribs home with you to enjoy later.
The fries are simply awesome. Even the beans were extremely good. Corn on the cob and a corn muffin come with dinners, which was also very tasty. We tried the jalapeno Mac and Cheese (not sure how we had the room for it) and liked it a lot. The BBQ chicken is an excellent choice for variety and very juicy. Sausage is served with a very flavorful mustard relish and was a big hit too. Dessert was a bit limited, but we really did not have any room left for it. Head on over to Famous Dave's and you won't be disappointed!
It isn’t too often that our panel will review a restaurant that is outside of Las Vegas . Since Lucille’s Smokehouse is only a fifteen minute drive and so many good things have been said about the place we decided to go there. Lucille’s is located in Henderson , NV which actually has a few interesting places to visit, if you are in to such things as a chocolate factory.
Lucille’s Smokehouse had its origins in a small lunch shack just outside of Greenville , Texas . Lucille’s grandmother owned the place and developed (you guessed it) a secret sauce. Lucille was sworn never to give the recipe to another soul. Somehow the oath must have been broken because there is now a chain of Lucille’s Smokehouses.
The restaurant has a western look on the outside. Inside it is clean and all that you would expect of a barbecue restaurant.
Before getting into the menu, you should know there is a full bar located in their Flying Pig Lounge. The lounge has live musical entertainment almost every weekend from 7pm to closing.
The menu itself offers Baby Back Ribs, St Louis Ribs, Beef Ribs, Beef Brisket, Tri tip and ½ Smoked Chicken. Other items include Pork Chops, Pan Blackened Catfish, New York and Sirloin Steak, Jambalaya, Smoked Chicken Pasta, Smoked Salmon, Fried Chicken, New Orleans Gumbo and Mardi Gras Chicken.
On the appetizer menu you will find Fried Pickles, Fried Green Tomatoes, Fried Okra, Sweet Potato Fries, Onion Straws, Spinach and Cheese Dip, Shrimp and Wings. Make sure and sample the homemade Biscuits with Apple Butter.
Even though we did not try each and every item on the menu we thoroughly enjoyed both the Baby Back and St Louis Ribs. They were tender, tasty and delicious. The Sweet Potato Fries and the Coleslaw went well with the meal. Nobody was too enthused about their coffee.
There is a really first rate Corn Chowder on the soup and salad menu along with an assortment of salads made with either Chicken, Tri tip, brisket, Sirloin or Smoked Salmon.
Lucille’s Smokehouse has a Sandwich Menu. Almost all of their barbecued and smoked meats are available for sandwiches. Additionally they serve a very decent looking ham or cheese burger. The restaurant also has a diverse sides menu. It has various forms of potatoes, mashed with garlic, fried, baked, potato salad, as well as grits, beans, braised vegetables along with macaroni and cheese.
If you are into desserts (who isn’t?) here are your choices: Chocolate Cake, Ice Cream Pie, Banana Pudding, Red Velvet Cake, Fruit Cobbler and Bread Pudding
The first thing you should know about the Harley-Davidson Cafe is that you do not have to be some burley, tough talking biker to go there. In fact it is a very nice restaurant usually filled with very nice people. It is however unusual and a little quirky even by Las Vegas standards.
Located in the heart of the Strip, it is just a stones throw from the Bellagio Hotel. What makes the cafe so extraordinary is that it’s a combination motorcycle museum, wedding chapel, clothes and souvenir shop and first class restaurant that has barbecue items on their extensive menu.
Harley-Davidson is a name you associate with motorcycles. The Cafe provides you with a most interesting display. To start with, it has a 28 foot tall replica Harley. There are numerous machines on view including some celebrity owned bikes such as the one that belonged to Elvis Presley. Running through the restaurant on a specially designed conveyer belt is a presentation of unique motorcycles. One of our panel said, “The only thing missing is a statue of a biker being hauled off to jail.”
The barbecue menu items (which are excellent) are: A full rack of Pork Baby Back Ribs, BBQ Chicken, Wild Hog Plate consisting of Baby Back Ribs, Chicken, Pulled Pork and Sausages. Other barbecue dishes are Smoked Pork Loin, Brisket along with Hamburger and BBQ Chicken Sandwiches. The Harley homemade biscuits are a real treat.
For those who enjoy other meat dishes besides barbecue there is a good selection of steak, ham and roast turkey.
Along with the barbecue and meat items there is also a seafood menu and extensive appetizer, salad, and dessert menus.
When a rib joint wins the “best of barbecue restaurants” in a reader’s poll given by the Las Vegas Review Journal, it is time to try the place out. They have two locations. The one we chose is on Tropicana Ave. about a 15 minute drive from the Strip. Our panel members are willing to swear to the fact that even though this location is the one with a full bar and a happy hour, it had nothing to do with their selection.
The restaurant although small by Las Vegas standards is neat, clean with pleasant and friendly servers. As one of our staffers put it, “When you walk in the sweet smoky smell of the meat makes your mouth water and the portion of your brain that deals with dieting melt away.”
Before telling you about their dinner menu there are a few things you should know. Portions are really large, unlike other barbecue restaurants, they serve their secret barbecue sauce (everybody has a secret sauce) on the side not on the meat, also do not expect to be served on fancy dishware.
On the dinner entree menu: full slab of ribs, farmed catfish, pulled pork, rib tips, beef brisket, Andoulle sausage and a whole barbecued chicken. They have combination dinner plates of these items. There is also the option of family size dinners. Everything on the menu is smoked or cooked to perfection.
A substantial selection of side dishes are available. These include: barbecued beans, coleslaw, corn on the cob, collard greens, mixed vegetables, macaroni and cheese, potato salad, black eye peas and rice, French fries and sweet potato fries.
The appetizer, salad and dessert menus are adequate, but keep in mind this is really a mouth watering barbecue joint.
Buzz BBQ has a lunch menu. On it they offer smaller portions of their evening menu along with various meat filled sandwiches. Reservations are not needed or taken, but they seem always to be busy.
I said to the panel, “Tonight we are going to a restaurant that claims to serve the best ribs in Nevada .” One of the panel members looked up at me and said, “They all say that.”
I said, “Well maybe it’s true, they were picked by the staff of Las Vegas Review Journal.” She just rolled her eyes and gave me a sarcastic smile.
TC’s Rib Crib is about a 12 minute drive from the heart of the Las Vegas Strip. It is small, clean, very friendly and prides itself on a pleasant down home atmosphere. To give you an idea of just how down home it is, they serve Kool-aid as one of their beverages.
After dinner we all agreed that everything we ordered was excellent and just maybe we were tasting the best ribs in Las Vegas . They serve spare ribs, beef ribs and baby back ribs. The baby back ribs are the most popular. Other barbecue meats on the menu include: pulled pork, pulled chicken, beef brisket, rib tips, links and various sized portions of barbecued chicken.
Friday is catfish day along with all their other menu items. There is a sandwich menu featuring their barbecued meats, a children’s menu, and a lunch time very moderately priced menu.
While we are on the subject of menus, the Rib Crib also has a breakfast menu on Sat and Sun. The menu has omelets, waffles, potatoes, bacon sausage, catfish and assorted barbecued meats. It requires a hearty appetite to really appreciate it.
Their down home feeling extends to the dessert menu which features: banana pudding, glazed donut bread pudding, peach cobbler and vanilla ice-cream. They also serve a sweet ice-tea that is so sweet, one reviewer said, “It will give you diabetes on the spot.
When you go to T C’s Rib Crib you get a $20 meal served on plastic plates, so it damn well better be good. It is.
They accept reservations and they deliver.
When selecting the top 10 barbecue restaurants in Las Vegas it is easy to forget Tony Roma’s because having been around so long we just take it for granted and look for new places.
As we found out, it has been around so long because it is a very good place to eat. The original Tony Roma’s started in Miami , Florida in 1972. It did so well with its ribs that locations grew through out the United States . At this time they have nearly 200 restaurants in 32 different countries. This includes one in Tokyo , Japan that has been there since 1978.
Their secret of success seems to be; discover what people like to eat and serve it to them in a pleasant clean atmosphere.
There is full bar service at the restaurant which includes some very fancy margaritas.
On the starter menu there is one item you should consider ordering, potato soup. It is served with bacon, cheddar cheese and chives and is excellent.
Tony’s has numerous menus including steak, seafood, chicken, pasta sandwich, salad, lunch and dessert. But the barbecue menu is what Tony Roma’s is all about.
The barbecue menu features ribs and combination dinners. Most popular are the baby backed ribs which are served with your choice of sauces. They also serve St Louis ribs which are a bit more marbled and much meatier than baby backs. You can order beef ribs or beef short ribs. The short ribs are topped with a wine glaze.
They have a combination plate of ½ rack of baby back ribs and filet medallions. There is also a combination of ½ rack of St Louis ribs and your choice of chicken, shrimp or salmon.
Another interesting combination is a St Louis rib sampler served with four different sauces.
There is of course a sides menu: rice pilaf, coleslaw, fried potatoes, and potatoes mashed or baked. Fresh or fire roasted vegetables are available as well corn on the cob, macaroni and cheese, last but not least, creamed spinach.
Some very smart person at Tony Roma’s figured out they should make the desserts a small size so the patrons would not feel too guilty ordering them. Unfortunately, they also give you the option of ordering any three at the same time. For those of you health minded enough not to take advantage of this option here are the choices: red velvet cake, key lime tart, raspberry brownie royale, golden apple tart, strawberry cheese cake and chocolate chunk cookie sandwich. There is no need to tell you the three I picked.
At the end of our meal all the panel members agreed the food was good, the service was good and we would all be willing to come back to Tony Roma’s
We usually think of barbecue as coming from the southern parts of the United States , such as Texas or Louisiana . So when somebody mentioned they heard interesting things about an Hawaiian barbecue, we decided to check them out. As you can see, they made our Top 10 List.
Oharas came to the mainland from Hawaii in 1999. The restaurant opened seemed to blossom in California . They then branched out through the country including Alaska . As of today they have approximately 200 restaurants. One of our panel members said, “They must be doing something right.”
The appetizers or starters on the menu have an Asian flair. They serve a saimin or noodle soup made with your choice of chicken, beef, fried shrimp or spam (spam is not a misprint).
You can order musubi which is another name for sushi type rice rolls made with either Portuguese sausage, chicken or spam.
The side order menu contains some unusual items: malasadas which are an unsweetened donut like food, cryoza dumplings are similar to wonton served in Chinese restaurants, kim chi is a garlic pickled cabbage, manapau a pork filled roll, French and gravy fries, macaroni salad and shrimp garlic noodles.
When it comes to the main menu items there is an assortment of combinations plates. They offer a seafood platter consisting of breaded shrimp and mahi mahi with a choice of Hawaiian barbecue beef, chicken or short ribs.
There is a seafood platter without any meat. One of the more popular items is a mixed barbecue combination plate consisting of Hawaiian barbecued beef, chicken and short ribs.
Ohana’s also has a lunch menu which includes hamburgers and sandwiches of barbecued salmon or mahi mahi, along with pork dishes and Portuguese sausages.
It should be mentioned that their menu prices are quite moderate. Even though Oharas is not a fine gourmet restaurant, the food and service were good and we enjoyed ourselves.
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