I'm glad Border Grill chose to set up shop on this side of the line.
The restaurant inside Mandalay Bay is the perfect lunch spot.
It's quick, it's easy to access if you're in the convention center, it's good food, and it's authentic Mexican.
The brainchild of chefs and owners, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, Border Grill delivers with style.
I'm not suggesting that you start out with dessert, but if you're moved by a dense, flourless chocolate truffle cake with raspberries and a prickly pear lychee sauce, so be it. Hey, I've had worse first courses.
If you insist on starting with appetizers, head straight for the ceviche. I tried the halibut ceviche, cubes of lime marinated halibut doused with a spicy aioli and served with pickled onions and garlic, a cayenne dusted taro root chip and orange segments. This light, refreshing dish is cool for summer, yet still packed with flavor and a bit of heat.
The roasted corn tamales are also excellent, made with sweet corn and tender, without being overly mushy. Of course, you can't go wrong with guacamole made to order--fresh avocados with a hint of lime, chile and a tortilla crisp decoration.
There are also great savory options for main courses. Marinated Kobe beef sopes, are tender slices of guajillo chile marinated Kobe beef, in a corn masa served with mango salsa and a minty red cabbage slaw. A marinated fig quesadilla served over a bed of greens consists of gooey melted cheese, roasted marinated figs and caramelized onions between two fresh-made tortillas fried golden brown.
The pork Mazatlán seafood cocktail is a spicy mix of shrimp, bay scallops, and black mussels in a broth-like tomato mixture of cucumber, jalapeños and cilantro.
A flavorful chicken poblano enchilada is served in a handmade corn tortilla and contains poblano cream, grilled corn, wild mushrooms, and roasted poblano peppers. This enchilada, which is the first enchilada worthy of being on Border Grill's menu, is spiced up by using fresh ingredients and indigenous Mexican spices.
Border Grill is environmentally conscious. The restaurant uses sustainable food only, and confers with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program. So, if they don't serve tuna one day, or stop serving Canadian seafood another, don't be surprised. Border Grill is just doing their part to be environmentally friendly while still tasting delicious.
The restaurant also has a relaxing outdoor bar adjacent to the Mandalay Bay pool area. Grab an amazing vanilla bean and pineapple margarita or the flavorful mango cilantro margarita and dig into small bites like potato rajas tacos, tuna crudo, pork belly tacos, duck chilaquiles and more.
-- Review by Nikki Neu