Friday, 17 July 2015

Yardbird Las Vegas - Southern Cooking And Hospitality At It's Best

On our recent visit to Las Vegas, we visited Yardbird, a restaurant with a Southern American theme. We had visited the one in Miami and was really impressed with the quality of the food. The original location was named as the best new restaurant by the James Beard Foundation that celebrates culinary excellence. It is known specifically for the juicy fried chicken.  Chicken that is marinated in special herbs and spices for 27 hours and then cooked so it is tender and moist inside and crispy and spicy on the outside. We remembered the chicken being really delicious in Miami so couldn't wait to try the Las Vegas branch. 

When we arrived they knew we were coming which is always a good start. It was very busy but server Mandy was very welcoming and upbeat. We were led to our table and given a menu.

The menu consists of quick bites and small and large plates, the latter are big enough to share, a section called 'The Bird" and then 'Fixins' or accompaniments. Desserts and cocktails are also available. 

As we were perusing the menu we took in the atmosphere. The place was busy and had a buzz about it, people appeared to be enjoying their meals and chatting to family and friends.

Bar manager Greg came over and introduced himself to us and asked if we wanted to try some bourbon infusions he would make for us. 
How could we refuse?

A little bit of alchemy with the Bourbon infuser

A short while later he showed us an elaborate coffee maker which was given to him by a staff member. It resembled a science kit and was very intriguing. He explained he would put the bourbon - Woodford Reserve he recommended, in the top and it would drip into a cup with lime peel, mint, and clove. We couldn't wait to try this but it would take some time to make. So we opted for cocktails while we waited... 

Of all the interesting cocktails on the menu, we chose the blackberry bourbon lemonade and a watermelon sling. These were promptly ordered and delivered to our table with speed. The blackberry bourbon lemonade was delicious, with the addition of blackberry flavours and some sweetness it didn't taste heavy with alcohol. The watermelon sling had a light watermelon taste and I would recommend it for those like a sweet cocktail. Then it was onto the food order.

Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade 

For starters, I ordered the fried green tomato BLT. I really enjoyed this dish. Crispy batter with soft and yielding green tomato inside was topped with a creamy tomato jam with a generous portion of pork belly on top. The softness of the green tomato complemented the crispy coating and the belly pork was well cooked, the fat had rendered down and the outside had caramelised - very delicious indeed!

Fried Green Tomato BLT

My husband ordered the fried bread and butter pickle spears. Crispy tangy pickles were complimented with a spicy creamy dip with a kick. A great starter for vegetarians and something different. 

Bread and Butter Pickle spears

For entrees, we ordered 'chicken N watermelon N waffles', 'smoked barbecue backyard chicken' and a farmers salad.

Farmers Salad

The farmer's salad was full of lovely fresh seasonal vegetables including sweetcorn, cucumber, avocado and egg all dressed with a tasty smoked Vidalia onion vinaigrette. Topped with a parmesan crisp, this added a shot of flavour and lovely crunch to the dish.

But the real star of the show was yet to come...and then it arrived - the chicken, watermelon, and waffles.

Chicken N Watermelon N Waffles

What is special about the chicken is that they use a special signature recipe. Greg, the bar manager told me that they use a brine of sugar, salt and vinegar and the chicken is marinated in this for 27 hours to make the meat tender and tasty. They then cook it under pressure in a frying pressure cooker. This makes the meat moist and delicious inside whilst still giving the chicken a crunchy seasoned coating. It certainly lived up to expectation when it arrived - this is how Colonel Saunders would love his chicken to taste! 

The chicken is accompanied with spiced watermelon which brings a lightness to the meal and cuts through the richness of the fried chicken. The cheddar cheese chow chow waffle, as they call it, was crunchy with a soft inside and the bourbon maple syrup added a nice sweetness as a dipping sauce. Definitely big enough to share between two or even more, if food had soul this would be the dish.

Smoked Barbecue Backyard Chicken

The smoked barbecue backyard chicken arrived with a buttermilk biscuit, okra, and marbled potatoes. The biscuit is similar to a slightly savoury scone - crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside - a definite winner. The chicken yet again was moist and the barbecue sauce was sweet and smokey, and full of flavour.  The roasted marbled potatoes were a nice accompaniment and my only disappointment if you could call it that, was the okra, which I have to admit it, is not my favourite vegetable, as I find it has little flavour and can be a but mushy.

We were too full for desserts, which all sounded very scrummy and had some interesting choices such as bacon butterscotch cake and deep fried Oreos.

Yardbird to me is all about comfort food, it's not a place to go if you are on a diet, I must admit, but if you are looking for the best in old fashioned Southern American cooking, packed full of flavour, then you can do no wrong here.  

To me of all the dishes I tried here and the food we ate, the triumph was their signature fried chicken which had a crispy spicy coating and soft juicy flesh, no greasiness at all and finger licking good - the perfect friend chicken to me. 

Would I eat there again - you bet I would. Staff were very welcoming and had been trained in real southern hospitality, and this combined with refined comfort food of the highest quality makes it a perfect restaurant destination when you are in Las Vegas or Miami.

You may be wondering about the bourbon infusion, my husband described it as a rich warm bourbon taste with an infusion of cloves and a hint of citrus. For those that want a complex bourbon drink that's a bit different. I'll stick to the blackberry bourbon lemonade myself and if I had the chance to venture back I would try some of the other cocktails, as they really know how to make them here.

Yardbird - authentic Southern food, welcoming well-trained staff and delicious different cocktails, what more could you want? Southern hospitality and cooking at it's best.

* We were guests of Yardbird and were given complimentary food for an honest review


  1. Gah I was already feeling SO hungry and then I read this post. Damn you. All this food looks incredible !! I have to say watermelon, waffles and chicken doesn't sound like the ideal combo but maybe it works..

    Laura @ What's Hot?

    1. It so works Laura, I can tell you that for sure :)

  2. This looks like such a fun dining experience - I love to try unusual things too.

  3. The food looks yummy. Making me so hungry. Great pictures.

  4. These pictures are making me so hungry, the food looks delicious!

    1. The food was delicious I must admit Stephanie.

  5. This looks amazing, I love american food x

  6. oh wow, everything looks amazing. Mmmmm x

    1. The food was authentic Southern and my photos do not do it justice unfortunately.

  7. the food looks really good...nothing like some posh nosh nom nom

  8. ooo chicken and watermelon waffles! There's something different.
    Hope you had a fab meal, certainly looks like you did :)

  9. I like the look of the food. I would love to have a night out in a place like Yardbird.

  10. That sounds like an amazing experience, I love trying new foods when we're on holiday.

  11. Ohh I love the cocktails, they sound delicious! Would love to visit there if I was ever nearby! x


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