Inside Gordon Ramsay’s Pub and Grill – Does His New Restaurant Cook Like the Fiery Chef? [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]
MOVE YOUR ASS! WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU #$%&! DONUT?!?! No, I didn’t hear any fun expletives from the fiery host of the Hell’s Kitchen TV series, but I got to sample his world famous cuisine at his new restaurant Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill. The question is – does his food live up to his reputation? Keep on reading to find out!
Chef Gordon Ramsay has been the host of Hell’s Kitchen on FOX since 2005, when the show moved across the pond to the United States. Created by Ramsay, the show aired live and with a different format in the United Kingdom, a year earlier.
Ramsay, a British chef, restaurateur, and television personality actually started his adult life with dreams of becoming a football player. After a serious knee injury, Ramsay focused on his second love – cooking.
By age 26, Ramsay began running several high profile restaurant kitchens and continued his culinary education with each step. Eventually, he became a partner in a London restaurant, where he would earn his first two Michelin Stars. Michelin Stars are awarded to restaurants based on the quality of the food and if the restaurant is worth making a special trip to. Getting a star is rare and there are only 81 three star restaurants in the world. After Ramsay earned those first two, he ventured on his own, quickly began expanding his cooking empire, and earned himself a total of 15 stars.
Known for his short temper, flying expletives, and no-nonsense perfection; Ramsay began appearing on television in the UK starting in 1998. FOX executives liked his style and brought him to American TV. In 2006, he opened his first US restaurant in New York City. He also created and produced a number of other cooking related, shows both here and internationally. He has since formed his own production company – One Potato, Two Potato.
The most famous of his series, Hell’s Kitchen is currently airing its eleventh season. The show pits 18 unknown chefs into teams of two against each other, until the pool is ground down to one final winner. Each season, the chefs are put through various physical and mental challenges. At the end of each episode, Ramsay eliminates one, although on several occasions he has tossed chefs during the meal service or not fired anyone at all.
The winner of each season wins a cash prize and a head chef position at a prestigious restaurant. This season, that prize is head chef at Ramsay’s newest restaurant Gordon Ramsay’s Pub & Grill at Caesar’s Place in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Gordon Ramsay’s Pub & Grill opened in January, only days after his other new Las Vegas restaurant BurGR, opened at the Planet Hollywood Casino. I recently made a trip to Sin City and had to try Ramsay’s cuisine. After seeing the chef demonstrate his techniques on TV and douse unworthy chefs with a layer of profanity, I wanted to see if his high standards on TV were the same in his restaurants.
It was a busy Sunday evening about two weeks ago and the March Madness basketball gamers were in full swing. My friend Chris and I decided to see if there was any possibility of getting a seat. It was around 6pm and even for a Sunday, the place was mostly full. Only one or two smaller tables with empty seats could be seen.
We approached the hostess, who informed us that it would be a 30 – 45 minute wait to get a seat, even for Caesars’ Diamond Card level players. However, she did note that there were two open seats at the bar and we happily took them.
The restaurant has a laid back feel and is located along the casino floor, only a few steps from the sports betting cages and Forum Shops. This location makes the spot idea for both tourists and locals. Plus, a patio area allows for diners to be right out next to the casino action. The entire restaurant can seat 290.
The pub is decorated in a light neon red color scheme with wood accents and a wall of dramatic beer kegs that give a relaxed, neighborhood feel atmosphere. You almost feel like you could walk into this place on some London neighborhood side street and catch a football match. Multiple plasma televisions scattered throughout were tuned to various NCAA basketball games, which was the big event that evening.
While the bar is a higher class than your standard pub, the dress and atmosphere is still casual.
The staff wears striped, punk type looking uniforms that right out of 1950’s Britain. I think I’ve seen people dancing while wearing these in the background of Austin Powers. They are different and give a signature look to the restaurant.
We hit the bar and are promptly greeted by the bartender, who gave us suggestions for a good draft. The pub features 36 drafts and another 63 bottled beers.
The menu features British pub fare, which Ramsay kicks up a bit.
Crispy fried oysters
Pork & duck riblettes
Mustard-glazed lambshort “riblettes”
Chilled shrimp salad
3 mini-house blend pub burgers aka ‘Pub Spots’
Soups & Ruffage
English Ale onion soup
Cream of cauliflower soup
Roasted baby beet salad
Herb Caesar Salad
Chopped wood-grilled chicken salad.
Confit duck, radicchio & frisee
Traditional Shepherd’s Pie
Big rib eye chop
Braised pork belly roll
Double cut pork chop
Brick-pressed Cornish chicken
Irish beef cheek stew
Smashed fingerling potatoes
Yukon Gold potato puree
Heirloom carrots two ways
English peas two ways
Creamed beet greens & spinach
Sticky toffee pudding
Butterscotch pot de crème
Peanut butter & jelly
Potted triple chocolate trifle
The dishes seem to be designed to pair well with the large selection of beer on tap.
Chris chose the pork belly roll with a side Brussels sprouts. I went for the prix fixe menu, which gives you an appetizer, entrée, and dessert for $49. I ordered the shrimp salad and fish & chips.
About 15 minutes later, Chris’ entrée appeared as did my shrimp salad appetizer. He loved the pork belly and raved about the Brussels sprouts. Not being a big Brussels sprouts fan myself, I tried one to find that they were lightly seasoned in oil and were absolutely great. A very light flavor with a tender crunch.
I sampled my shrimp salad, which may be one of the greatest things I’ve ever ate in my life. Chunks of shrimp tossed with finely chopped greens and served in a light white mayo type sauce. That was good enough to begin with, but then Ramsay pairs it with homemade cocktail sauce for dipping that nearly knocked my taste buds out of my mouth in joy. This thing alone, made the whole visit worth it.
The food is served on large, rustic plates and their dark coloring that really showcases the look, texture, and layout of the dish. The colors of the food seem to pop, even in the dimmer pub lighting.
It didn’t take us long to finish our food, before the plates were whisked away, and that’s where we waited… and waited… and waited. While Chris had ordered just a main course, I was on the prix fix menu and my main dish was still 30 minutes away. After refilling our beers and noticing it has been a long time, the bartender yelled back to the kitchen as to where my entrée was. After a few more minutes, he disappeared in the back for several more, finally returning with my dish. Had this been the real TV series, I could only imagine what Ramsay would be screaming back there. He assured us that they were quite slammed that night.
The fish & chips were again, quite amazing. Battered in a light beer flavored crust, the four giant pieces of fish held their crispy crust while cutting through with a knife. The chips were presented as four large potato spares, lightly dashed with what appeared to be parsley. The plate was paired with a saucer of ketchup and another saucer of mustard. There are no shortages of condiments here… thanks, Chef!
While I was enjoying part two of my meal, Chris ordered a pretzel and beer cheese appetizer, which quickly arrived. The three thick pretzel rods were stacked vertically along with a well of beer infused cheese spread. The soft pretzels literally melted in your mouth. Both the pretzels and the cheese spread had to have been freshly made. You could absolutely taste the beer in the cheese.
I was quite full after my two plates, but wondered if I should go for the dessert, or would it be another 30 minutes? It didn’t matter – the bartender never asked and we simply decided to tab out. We had been there for quite some time and the action of Las Vegas was calling.
We got our check and the total with the beers was $121.07. A little pricey, but you are paying for quality and freshness. This was not a reheated meal at a big box restaurant.
Outside of the delay in serving my entrée, Gordon Ramsay’s Pub & Grill does hold to the chef’s high standards that you see on TV, although the service is a little slow. The food was fresh and the presentations were stunning.
What: Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill
Location: Caesars’ Palace – Las Vegas, Nevada
Owner: chef Gordon Ramsay
Average Entrée Price: $25 – $40
Cuisine: English pub fare
Hours: Sunday – Thursday 11am – 11pm, Friday – Saturday 11am – midnight (lunch served daily 11am – 3pm)
Reservations: not required, but suggested on busy nights
Website: Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesar’s Palace
JERSEY JOE RECOMMENDS:
It was worth the experience and I would definitely go back. I had just wished that our entrees would have come out at the same time. For a while, I was just sitting there waiting while Chris was already done with his meal. I was kind of bummed later about the bartender, not suggesting my dessert, which should have come with the prix fix menu. Ramsay would have never let either slip had he been in the restaurant. The Yelp reviews also complain about the slow service.
The freshness and style of the food you see Ramsay produce on his TV shows are very accurately represented here. In fact, that’s an understatement, the food is stunningly arranged for plating that leaves a lasting impression that others may be tough to fill.
I look forward to trying his BurGR the next time I’m in town. I wish I had another plate of his shrimp salad in front of me right now. My camera phone pictures just can’t do it justice!
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