Only a few days more in Las Vegas left and we still have so many new restaurants to try. After yesterday evening excesses, we almost changed our plans to have lunch at Border Grill, but since we were all shopped out and it was a Fish Friday (Lent began a few days ago so we avoid meat on Fridays until Easter), we decided to drive to the end of the strip to the Mandalay Bay hotel and taste the modern Mexican cuisine of Food network’s “Two Hot Tamales” – Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger.
Eating out at one of Las Vegas’ mega-hotels when you’re not staying on the strip is a parking nightmare. Since the hotels are so big and the many restaurants are scattered all over the hotel, the problem of finding the shortest route to the restaurant is complicated. To valet or not to valet – that is the question. As we chose to self-park, we somehow ended up near the Mandalay Ball mini-mall that connects the hotel to neaighboring property, the pyramid and Egyptian-themed Luxor. Well, it turns out that Border Grill is at the other end (many hundred meters away through the mall, the casino and all the other restaurants) near the pool area and Shark Reef so we worked (or rahter walked) up an appetite before we finally reached the restaurant.
The place was pretty full for lunch and since it was a warm day, we chose to sit at one of the terrace tables overlooking the pool area. Menus were given, filtered water poured and a basket of fresh tortilla chips with three types of salsa served. We ordered some of their famous guacamole with it while going through the menus.
After skipping all the meat-items, we choice one of the special appetizers – Green corn tamales and for our main course: Grilled fish tacos for me and the spicy rock shrimp tacos for A. I chose a fresh lemonade to go with my lunch which was both refreshing and useful as the sourness was a welcome spice-quencher.
The warm crispy tortilla chips were very good and so were the salsa. The guacamole was chunky and tasty but was unexpectedly mild and lacked the kick of extra chilis. Our starter of green corn tamales were three deliciouse sweet corn tamales. Eaten on their own, the tamales were too sweet but mixed in with a bit of the sour cream and salsa fresca, the tamales were delicious. While waiting for our main courses, we managed to finish off the bowl of tortilla chips.
Our seafood tacos came next. My fish tacos were three handmade corn tortillas filled with grilled mahi-mahi and topped with a cucumber-citrus slaw, while A‘s were three corn tortillas filled with chipotle marinated rock shrimp and topped with cucumber jicama slaw. Both came with more guacamole, red rice, green rice and black beans. My grilled fish tacos were good but again lacked the spicy bite that I was looking for. On the other hand, A‘s rock shrimp tacos were so spicy that he couldn’t finish them and had to trade me one of his tacos for one one of mine. The server had warned us that on a scale of 1 to 10, the shrimp tacos were a 4 so we thought we were getting a mildly spicy dish, but they were more like a 6.5. It must have been the chipotle marinade. Another lemonade and an espresso to finish off our meal before heading back out to the desert where we ended up taking a wrong turn and drove around for an hour in the sand before finally finding our way back home. Border Grill was worth the detour though and I definitely have to eat there again when I can try some of the Mexican meat specialties.
Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino
(near Shark Reef and the pool)
3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Tel: + 1 702 632 7403
* Open daily from 11:30 p.m. for lunch and switches over to the dinner menu at 4:00 p.m.