3930 Las Vegas Boulevard S. #121A, Las Vegas NV 89119 (map); 702-632-9364; burger-bar.com
Cooking Method: Grilled
Short Order: Over the top ingredients that just don't justify the $60
Price: Rossini Burger, $60
Let's say you're at another trade show for your day job, back in Las Vegas (which is my version of hell), for the second time in two months. Let's also say you won $200 on penny slots, like a lucky grandma, except in this case, "grandma" is a troublemaker named Dennis. The money is burning a hole in your pocket, and curiosity brings you to gamble on the most decadent and expensive burger at Hubert Keller's Burger Bar: the $60 Rossini Burger.
The menu describes it as "Kobe-style Wagyu Beef from Australia, sautéed foie gras and shaved truffle on an onion bun. Named after a XIXth Century Italian composer whose love for fine food was legendary. The preparation always contains foie gras, truffles, and a rich brown sauce—in this case, Black Perigord Truffle." Translated? This burger is balls to the wall. But is it the balls?
The Rossini Burger comes out looking rather handsome, piled with huge slices of seared foie gras and plenty of shaved black truffles. As soon as I saw it, my arteries puckered in anticipation. It comes speared with a toothpick tipped with frilly plastic, you know, to add a touch of class. I may or may not have accidentally eaten the blue plastic with the burger, like a dumbass. Accidentally eating plastic reminds me of my childhood.
On the side, you also receive a little bowl of salt, cracked pepper, and a tiny dollhouse sized pitcher of that "rich brown sauce" described in the menu. The waitress helpfully suggested I sprinkle the sea salt on my burger before eating it, which raised a red flag in the back of my mind. Shouldn't the burger come salted?
Turns out that red flag was right. The burger doesn't come salted, which is a mind-boggling error of execution for a $60 burger. You have to sprinkle a lot of sea salt on the thing before you eat it. It was grilled perfectly to my request of medium-rare, at least. The patty isn't particularly beefy in flavor, and the claim of being Kobe-style Wagyu beef doesn't do much for flavor, either. If I was blindfolded and had beef crammed down my throat (my typical Saturday night, guys) in a taste test, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between this versus less expensive beef. The beef isn't all that juicy, either. It's definitely moist, but it doesn't go into gusher territory.
The helping of buttery foie gras on top is generous, which is good, considering the hefty price tag. It adds a large amount of fat and velvety richness to the experience, and the "rich brown sauce" is a must; it brings a deliciously sweet and savory flavor to balance out the foie, plus it adds a portion of the much-needed salt the burger is crying out for. But the real disappointment? The black truffles. Fresh truffles are a tricky thing, as you only have a small window in which they have their maximum flavor. These truffles are extremely dry, chewy, gritty, and even worse, flavorless. You are tearing me apart, Hubert!
There are two types of fries on the menu: skinny fries and fat fries. The waitress recommended the default skinny fries, which are your standard fast-food cut. Unlike the burger, these are salted perfectly, crisp, with a soft interior.
Thankfully, a shake or dessert is included with your order of the Rossini Burger, and if all that foie gras isn't enough to kill you, there's nothing like an over-the-top dessert to put you in the ER. I chose the intriguing Burger Bar Krispy Kreme shake, which is a vanilla shake with half of a Krispy Kreme doughnut blended into it. Yes, you read that right, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, only the best freshest ingredients for chef Keller. The milkshake, unsurprisingly, tastes exactly like a vanilla milkshake blended with a Krispy Kreme donut. And another shocker—the whipped cream on top had no sugar in it. None.
So as you can tell from my reaction, don't double down on this burger. You know that irritating catchphrase, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas?" They're wrong. Disappointment definitely comes home with you.
About the author: After a failed attempt at starting a chain of theme restaurants called "Smellen Keller," Dennis Lee traveled the world to discover his true passion. Sadly, midwifery didn't pan out. Now he works in a cubicle, and screws around as much as possible. Follow his shenanigans on Twitter.