Like no other chef, Wolfgang Puck has changed the world of fine dining in Las Vegas. With his namesake Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, the master celebrity chef also lends his personal touch to a more casual dining scene.
Situated in the bustling middle of the MGM Grand, the Bar & Grill is an open and fun restaurant. It's filled with light wood tones, modern and comfortable tables and seating. And its many glowing panels of colored glass lend a festive, welcoming air to the establishment.
With Chef Dustin Lewandowski leading the day-to-day operations of the Bar & Grill's kitchen, guests are in store for a whole new look at contemporary pub-inspired fare.
When even a restaurant's potato chips stand out, there's something excellent going on. And at Bar & Grill, the potato chips are fresh cooked and highlighted with fragrant truffle essence and rich Maytag blue cheese. The "soups, salads & small bites" section of the menu is chock-full of similarly upscale versions of old favorites. The spinach salad with goat cheese, candied pecans and sherry-bacon vinaigrette is a tangy-sweet tasty plate. The mesquite grilled steak skewers with an accompanying creamy celery salad is a smoky savory classic. And Puck's lemon-chili glazed chicken wings with parsley and blue cheese dressing take the old Buffalo original to new West Coast heights -- like the potato chips, they just might be the best of their kind in town.
Of course Bar & Grill has a Puck-style wood oven baked pizza and calzone menu, full of traditional and surprising topping combinations. For those looking for an old time pizza, the Italian sausage, mushroom, onion and oregano is choice, as is the pepperoni, olive and tomato sauce pie. For the more contemporary minded, the mushroom, leek, thyme and goat cheese pizza is a delicious idea. The calzone stuffed with roasted eggplant, basil and four cheeses is a substantial treat.
The main course section of the menu is filled with robust, substantial entrées. The ricotta gnocchi with sweet fennel sausage (house-made) Bolognese sauce is a contrast of rich sauce against the pillowy dumplings. A fish of the day served with sautéed Italian squash and heirloom tomato broth is delicious. And the seared scallops with accompanying artichoke ravioli, rosemary and prosciutto brings out a deep savor rarely found in seafood.
To round out the entrée menu, the kitchen's wood burning grill produces excellent cuts. The organic chicken is perfect with garlic potato puree and a lip-smacking rosemary jus. For the burger-inclined, the prime beef grilled and served with Vermont cheddar and smoked onion marmalade is one of the better buns in Vegas. The Bar & Grill's ribeye with Tuscan potatoes, roasted asparagus and peppercorn does great justice to the whole notion of great steak.
As in all Puck restaurants, the Bar & Grill has a selective and interesting wine and cocktail list, including many innovative house concoctions like the Ginny Hendricks (cucumber and rose hinted Hendrick's Gin, rosemary infused simple syrup and fresh lime).
The Bar & Grill is definitely one of the liveliest dining spots in the MGM Grand, and The Strip for that matter. It's Wolfgang Puck's celebration and transformation of the casual eatery, a place to be enjoyed.
-- Review by Greg Thilmont