Comfort foods steal the spotlight at Todd English P.U.B.
By Brock Radke
Photos by Peter Harasty
Have you heard about the Seven Second Challenge? It’s pretty simple: hit the bar at Todd English P.U.B., order your first pint and chug it down. If you can empty your glass in 7 seconds, it’s free. It sounds easier than it is, but it can be done. In fact, the celebrity chef himself has been known to knock back a Guinness (less bubbles for faster drinkability) in record time at his namesake eatery at Crystals at CityCenter.
The thought of such a famous, established, James Beard Award-winning name chugging a brew with the boys epitomizes the kind of place Todd English P.U.B. is. The initials stand for Public Urban Bar, and the cozy, New England-style space has also been dubbed Las Vegas’ first gastropub. Labels aside, it’s a basic concept with some deliciously refined features—a bar with great beer and tremendous food. Above all, it’s one of the city’s greatest places to just hang out, warm with brick-and-wood details, modern with plasma screen TVs and utterly convenient: it’s just steps away from the main valet at CityCenter’s Aria resort.
Whether you grab a stool at the bar, secure some patio space or surround a sturdy table, two questions leap into your mind. First, how many oysters will you order from the raw bar? (Note: you can opt for littleneck clams, shrimp, lobster or Alaskan king crab cocktail. Whatever sounds good.) And second, how will you choose from a seemingly infinite list of favorite beers? The draft and bottle options are always changing, but luckily, the list is divided into categories, so it won’t be tough to navigate through crisp and fruity, rich and chocolatey, or hale and hearty ales. Wines by the glass or bottle and handcrafted, signature cocktails complete the balanced booze offerings.
After a few Seven Second Challenges, you’re ready to move on to the P.U.B.’s exemplary selection of bar grub appetizers. The truth is: small and tasty snacks like these are the things that make your favorite neighborhood bar your favorite. English raises the stakes. Chili is simmered forever and loaded with chunks of prime rib. Welsh rarebit is a luscious bite of toasty sourdough saturated with creamy cheddar cheese. There are obvious favorites like spicy, crispy chicken wings, beer-battered onion rings and steamed mussels, and then surprising and addictive fare like duck buns with hoisin sauce in pillowy steamed bread, or bright, fresh ahi tuna poke on crunchy wonton crackers.
An assortment of sliders provides a taste of sandwich favorites on a miniature scale, with flavors of pastrami, chicken Parmesan or classic BLT. If you’re hungry enough for the real thing, check out brown butter lobster rolls with house-made coleslaw, or a beefy double-stack cheeseburger on a brioche bun. Everyone’s favorite menu section is the Carvery, where you can choose from eight types of bread, seven different sauces and nine top-quality, roasted-to-perfection meats, from smoky brisket to crispy duck legs. Tell all your friends back home how you invented corned beef with blue cheese fondue on a jumbo English muffin on the Las Vegas Strip. The possibilities are endless.
Crystals at CityCenter
11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sun.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-midnight Fri.-Sat.; bar open till 2 a.m. daily. 702.489.8080