on April 22, 2008
The Border Grill at the Mandalay Bay is a hidden gem that I found during my short stay in Vegas. Escaping all the press that some of the other trendy restaurants get and inhabiting a location tucked between the hotel’s wedding chapel and shark reef; it is easy to see why people might not know about the Border Grill’s existence. Arriving at noon without being fed on the flight from Boston, my fiancé and I were on the lookout for a nice casual restaurant, convenient to our hotel. After exploring the Mandalay Bay we found the Border Grill on the end near the Convention Center. From the outside, this restaurant did not look very inviting (for some reason, it appeared much smaller and closed-in). However, the prices seemed reasonable and we were famished so we decided to settle on it.Once inside the Border Grill, I was completely surprised by the festive set-up on the outdoor covered patio. There were paper flowers on every table and fun fiestaware-style place settings. The openness of the patio area completely changed my perception of this restaurant; it now seemed bigger than I could have imagined it being from the outside. Also adding to the nice surprises were the fantastic views of the “beach” area outside, making me feel like I was in a different world all together.The food served by the Border Grill is mostly Mexican or Tex-Mex in style. Both lunch and dinner menus have everyday favorites like enchiladas, tacos, and quesadillas. They also have several dishes that I haven’t seen before on Mexican menus including the Mulitas that I decided to order. My plate came out with prettily arranged sliced Portobello mushrooms, peppers, and other vegetables covered in a salsa-like sauce. The combination was very good and the use of fresh ingredients without a lot of salt-added made this seem healthier than most other Mexican food I have indulged in.At the Border Grill they seem to have something to fit everyone’s taste. From Vegetarian to meat-lovers, there certainly was a variety. My fiancé ended up ordering the Baja Ceviche which was essentially fish prepared with citrus fruits. I absolutely hate fish, and he hates mushrooms, but somehow this restaurant’s menu left us both satisfied. People watching their wallets should be happy at the Border Grill as well- very few entrees top the $20 mark.Tortilla chips and salsa are provided at each table setting as is done in many other Mexican restaurants. For an extra charge you can upgrade the salsa to the delicious house guacamole, which speaking from experience was completely worth the few extra dollars. Also worth the indulgence are the contents of the drink menu. They have an impressive selection of tequilas to choose from if you decide to imbibe a margarita. From further down the list, I chose a cucumber mojito- a nice cucumber mix-up of the minty rum original. All mixed drinks were about $10-$15/each.I would encourage others seeking non-fussy eating establishments with good food to find the Border Grill. I believe this restaurant was a very good value in terms of reasonable prices, pleasant ambiance, and convenience. I would eat here again if I were to stay at the Mandalay Bay.
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