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Dining

Room for improvement

The Edge of Town shows promise, but falls short too often

Image
Thai pasta.
Photo: Beverly Poppe

Last week, we visited a southeast Vegas pub called The Bar, which specializes in eclectic comfort food and remains open 24/7. This week, we travel to the extreme northwest and The Edge of Town, at the nether reaches of Cheyenne and the 215.

One thing that differentiates us from larger American cities is the absence of the gastropub, a concept that has already taken root in New York, Chicago and LA. Sure, we have Mario Batali’s Enoteca San Marco at the Venetian, and wine bars such as Hostile Grape at the M, The Grape at Town Square and Nora’s Wine Bar in Summerlin.

But go to a typical 24/7 gaming lounge, and burgers and chicken wings continue to dominate. I guess these foods make sense at The Edge of Town, which draws families to its dining room, so it might be unrealistic to expect the house to get overly creative.

Still, they do make a few attempts at originality, such as something they call onion soufflé, and white-chocolate bread pudding at dessert. It would be so simple to improve the food here, and the dessert is delicious. So I’ll concede that the place has potential.

Blackened chicken caesar.

The décor, like much of what you will eat here, is generic, from the simple table settings to the enhanced laser photos of National Park scenes that you could find in a shopping mall. Both the dining room and bar areas have plasma-screen TVs for watching your favorite baseball team on ESPN.

The most distinctive decoration is a corrugated-tin cactus by the front door. On my last visit, “Apologize” by OneRepublic was playing softly on the sound system as we were being seated. I feel the same way about this music as I do about advanced interrogation techniques. Promise to stop playing it, and I’ll tell you anything.

The Restaurant

The Edge of Town
Two stars
10490 W. Cheyenne Ave. 463-3343.
Open 24/7.
Suggested dishes: onion soufflé, $7.59; pot roast, $12.99; white-chocolate bread pudding, $4.59.

Then came the onion soufflé. A soufflé is based on egg, and I guess real mayonnaise is made with egg yolks, so it’s no wonder that this baked mayonnaise concoction—laced with chopped onion and bubbling hot on the surface—puffs up in the oven. And actually, it was interesting served with toasted sliced baguette. But a soufflé? Sure, with poetic license.

That was followed by the appetizer section’s sweet chili wings, as generic as the décor. I tasted the sweet but not the chili in these wings, served over a pile of fries. This is what I mean when I say it would be simple to improve the food here. Just put some chili in the basting sauce, and you’re one step ahead of the chains.

Later, we had the fish and chips, a triangular piece of cod with a wickedly crunchy type of breading. The dish comes with a nice homemade tartar sauce, and the fish is tasty, with a sprinkle of malt vinegar served alongside it, as well as something they call Thai slaw—cabbage without any discernible connection to that Southeast Asian country.

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I like this fish, but I wish that they gave you more. One piece of fish doesn’t cut it, and it’s not a big piece of fish, either. But they sort of made up for the pusillanimous portions when the pot roast came, a huge plateful of tender meat flanked by mashed potatoes and a pile of French-cut green beans.

Bruschetta.

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had tender pot roast in this town, and The Edge of Town’s is fork-tender and tasty, too. The caramel-colored brown gravy will not dazzle you, but other than that, this is a real winner.

And that’s more than I can say for the “Thai” pasta, at $15.99 the priciest thing I ordered. Again, Thailand is being dissed for no particular reason. The menu describes it as “linguine, sautéed shrimp and vegetables, tossed with cilantro and crushed peanuts in a Thai peanut sauce.” What we got was a bowl of non-distinctive red glop, with no taste of either peanuts or cilantro in the sauce. C’mon, fellas, you can do better than this.

But we all left happy, thanks to one of the better desserts we’ve tried in weeks. The white-chocolate bread pudding, cut into three buttery wedges, is served swimming in a Bailey’s Irish Cream sauce, which we lapped up like kittens. Gastropub fare this ain’t, but we give full marks for the effort.

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