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VegasEats: Carlos & Charlie's At The Flamingo

By Chuckmonster on Wednesday, 5th September 2012 10:02am
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 36


Flamingo Carloscharlies Int

From the alternate universe that brought you T.G.I.Friday's, Hooters and Chili's comes another themed restaurant - Carlos & Charlies. Snatched from relative obscurity in Mexican beach towns and plopped down inside the Flamingo where the sports book used to be, Carlos & Charlies takes the sub-genre known as "pick a cuisine, hang some disparate pieces of spray painted thrift store junk from the rafters and tell the staff to be obnoxious on cue" to hot and steamy lows.

Flamingo Carloscharlies In2

There's nothing quite like a restaurant that is bedecked in a dented tuba, a two wheeled tricycle, an array of clever, hand-painted self-depricating signs and the kling-klang of boisterous activity.

Conversely, there is nothing sadder than the same restaurant, mostly empty, music blasting deafeningly loud, only interrupted by skeleton staff doing stupid "energy building" routines on cue.

Flamingo Carloscharlies Ket

If that weren't bad enough, the staff is ordered to insult guests who ask for ketchup by having servers bring a hundred bottles of ketchup to the table, stacking them sky high and publicly mocking their choice in condiments by shouting "KETCHUP" at them every time a new bottle arrives. Like... fries are on the menu, why are you such assholes?

Flamingo Carloscharlies Mmm

I started things off with a $13 Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmargarita.

Flamingo Carloscharlies Mnu

The food. Disgusting would be a charitable descriptor.

Flamingo Carloscharlies Chp

Chips arrived at the table in a brown paper sandwich sack. Pouring the bag out on the plate reveals that they were 1/4 full size with the rest a shattering of crumbs and bits too small to dip without dragging your fingers through the community salsa.

Flamingo Carloscharlies Chm

I ordered a chimichanga, a concoction of chicken, beef and pork chorizo wrapped in a tortilla and deep fried. It was covered with squeez bottle sour cream (watered down and runny) chopped unripe tomatoes and surrounded by beans and rice. The first bite was mostly fried tortilla. With the second bite, a gamey taste of rancid beef took over my mouth. A third bite was mostly chicken. The fourth bite was full on rancid. I picked around the tortilla, noshed on the beans and rice and concentrated on draining booze. Since we were with guests from U.K., I opted to take one for the Vegas team and not call out this grossness publicly.

With no forewarning, I asked Miss Monkay to taste my chimichanga to see if this was my problem. Within a half second of the forkful going into her mouth her eyes bugged out, cheeks imploded and she turned three shades of green. "That meat is off" she said, barely able to swallow.

Seeing her reaction, I began convulsing at the thought of what I had just eaten, envisioning what state this beef is sitting in, how old it is, how many flies have dined on it, how many days it has been sitting in the walk in or rotting in the mise en place. It truly took everything in me to keep from throwing up on the table all over the dish, all over our guests, all over the restaurant. This is not, I repeat, not an exaggeration. I threw my napkin over the barely eaten chimichanga so I wouldn't have to look at it or smell it and got the waiter to take it away as I washed it down with 2 for $7 Rolling Rock draughts.

This was the most disgusting thing I have eaten in Las Vegas - ever.

Flamingo Carloscharlies Enh

Miss Monkay returned my favor by asking me to taste her dish, a cheese enchilada doused in tomatillo sauce. I guess we should've known something was awry at this place when the waiter didn't know what tomatillo sauce was. Her enchilada came garnished with two raw rings of red onion. Really? I grabbed a forkful and tossed it into my mouth... the soggyness of the tortilla topped with the pungency of cheese and the spice of the tomatillo sauce made the whole concoction taste like mushy and doughy steamed cauliflower. Miss Monkay barely picked at hers as well. Fucking disgusting.

Our guests ordered cheese quesadillas. We didn't taste theirs.

I've written a coupla hundred restaurant reviews at this stage of the game and I've eaten and enjoyed some food of dubious origins and preparation skill, but I have never, ever, ever experienced a meal as phenomenally revolting as the one we had at Carlos & Charlies at the Flamingo.

Right before we left, they rolled out the beer pong table.

Tagged: vegas eats   flamingo   dining   carlos and charlies   mmmmmargaritas   


Comments & Discussion:

I only swallowed the meat because just as I was about to spit it out into my napkin, our guests looked right at me. I grimaced and forced myself to swallow it to avoid any unpleasantness for them. Totally British move, I might add.

So, I guess we can scratch that one off the list for the post-Casino Royale chowndown at VIMFP.

That pisses me off. Any home-cook can make great Mexican food, for probably a tenth of what you spent... and without the attitude. Insulting someone for wanting Ketchup on fries!? Gimme a fucking break.
I'm certainly tired of getting screwed at pretentious resort restaurants... BUT to be screwed at an UNpretentious resort restaurant with shitty ambiance, bad food and terrible service!? Do these places have ANY respect for their patrons?

Looks like I'll be enjoying $40 worth of drinks from el Groupon, thanks for the heads up and truly sucks about your meal there. I can't think of a restaurant I've seen poorer reviews on in their first couple months of business in Las Vegas. Disturbing to say the least, as I imagine a very solid case of food poisoning that could be linked there could be a nice paycheck for a strip hotel, especially the pain and suffering from losing vacation time. (I'm kidding, kind of)

It was, by far, the worst thing I have ever eaten in Vegas. Ever.

Did I say 'ever'?

Reminds me of ChiChis or Chevy's, Hopefully it's not around for as long as those "Mexican" restaurants graced our strip mall parking lots.

$127 for a meal for 4, by the way. We were unable to get the bill due to the polite nature of the British guests.

Well, that was a fun evening out. I hope the right people at Flamingo read your review, and more importantly, I hope they care. Glad you didn't have lasting bad effects from the so-called meal. Ugh.

Yikes! I have a groupon for that place!

I should've warned you. We went earlier in August and had a similar experience. The nachos were monumentally disgusting. I hate to "waste" a meal opportunity when there are so many great options. We were very disappointed to say the least.

There is a fairly lengthy thread about this on the FiveHundy facebook page in which one of our CET friends says that some of these issues are being addressed. For the sake of any of C&C's future diners, I hope so.

Big Hoss - Exactly the way I feel - that it was a wasted meal opportunity. I'd have rather eat a hot dog from a street vendor than there ever again.

Yet another reason to not set foot into the Flaming-O! People like to complain about the IP, errr "the quad" whatever, but at least they know they are low tier. The Flaming-O tries to pretend they are better but in reality they are nothing more than a frat house wrapped in a pick hue!

I've been hearing less than stellar reviews regarding the place, in particular the food. The same folks being Carlos and Charlie's are behind Senor Frogs at Treasure Island, so it may be safe to assume the food at Senor Frogs sucks just as bad. This is bad tourist trap Mexican food for gringos who go to the resort destinations in Mexico. It probably tells you something that one of the other US locations of C & C is in Myrtle Beach. The other is in Austin, and assuming the food is as bad there as the Vegas location, they better run for the border.

I have been to Chevy's several times. At no point have I ever been served bad meat. That's really disturbing.

Seriously, 13 bucks for a Margarita? Was it a super special one, or is that just a house rita?

@weatherman a cadillac.

More like a Pontiac.

"Yes, fine sir. I'll have the bottom shelf Yugo maaarrrgaarita, please. Make it overpriced and weak."

Sorry. I'll stop now.

What is it with the anti-ketchup snobbery these days? There is a great hot dog place with hand cut fries here in the Chicago burbs and they don't have ketchup at all for fear you would use it on their precious dogs. As for C&C, they should just close it. I'm firmly of the opinion restaurants with problems like this can never be saved. Just raze it and start over with something else entirely.

Being of Mexican descent, I have a blood feud against Carlos and Charlie for this twaddle they serve.

The ketchup thing isn't unique. Whispering Canyon Cafe inside Disney World's Wilderness Lodge was doing the same thing when I visited it in... Oh, 2007? Along with a number of other routines, some of which are less widely-known than others.

But that was actually a good restaurant. This, uh, sounds worse than the Tequila-themed joint they built at Bally's but probably costs more for all the nonsense.

HOLY SHIT. $127?! I wouldn've burned the place to the ground.

To earn the title of "most disgusting thing I have eaten in Las Vegas" it must have been pretty bad and how freaking tiny is that $13 margarita.

Then again I've never enjoyed a meal at the Flamingo.

Excalibur buffet with scrambled eggs by the ladle-full sounds pretty damn good right about now.

Scratched of the list permanantly. Thanks for the heads up, but sorry you had to go through it.

We ate at the Carlos n Charlies place too, and it was terrible. As an alternative, we do recommend Gonzalez Y Gonzalez at the NY NY, a pretty good place for Mexican food, and a good spot to people watch too. Especially when the Zumanity show ends, and all the couples come out of there and walk right by, all with sex on the brain.

I barely go into Flamingo when I am in Vegas and this review reinforces my choice. I ate at the buffet there in 2004 and the crap I had there looked better than this stuff. Gonzalez Y Gonzalez is cool and i have never had a bad meal there. Diablo's is another good choice. Sorry you had a crappy time and the first time someone brings me that much catsup I am walking out of the place.

13 bucks for a Cadillac? That's still highway robbery. Oy vey, what a shithole.

Re: Gonzalez Y Gonzales... we've eaten there twice and both times were thoroughly satisfied. The place was packed busy and service was still great, food excellent, booze great and the price was right. It is one of the "Editors Picks" in the VT dining guide.

I do wonder now, if this is the type of establishment Caesars is focusing on for a place like Flamingo, then what does it mean for the Linq spots, which are supposed to be similar in nature. Blech, now I'm getting depressed about Linq

I totally agree about Gonzalez Y Gonzalez as well as Tacos n Tequila being quality mex spots. I had low expectations for C&C and apparently they are even worse than that. Anyone have a chance to check out Senior Frog's? I have a feeling they are just as bad

I think I'd eat at the Circus Circus buffet again before considering eating at Carlos & Charlie's (Unlike a certain Carlos Estevez/Charlie Sheen they're definitely not winning....).

Mr. Monster,
I'm curious as to why you would not have been honest with your guests? They were no doubt in as much pain and disgust as you were. Grin and bearing it through the meal does everyone a disservice, including the restaurant. Perhaps its my New York heritage, but I would have looked at my friends and inquired, "Is your's as god-awful as mine? Let's get the f- outta here and get a real meal" I would then request a manager, calmly and politely point out the short-comings, point to the fact that our food remains uneaten. If the manager's resolution did not meet my satisfaction I would offer to pay for the chips and booze and ask to politely leave or escalate it. $137 is a large price to pay for such a miserable experience, that could have been less miserable.

I certainly was honest with my guests, I asked how their food was... two out of the three said their food was ok, but hardly ate any of it. the third passed on his plate and ate one of the others dishes. our guests are family from the UK whom we haven't seen in ages. it was our idea to bring them to las vegas and show them a good time. carlos n charlies was our first meal in town after arriving. it has been my experience with our guests, that it is impolite to make a fuss over this.

additionally, as a person who writes hotel and dining reviews as a profession, I always take my lumps or rewards as presented and never make a fuss with management, much like an archaeologist. it isn't about the money to me... it is about the experience and documenting whatever cards are dealt on the table.

Honest review as always, Chuck. (A) I'm so glad now I didn't buy the Groupon, and (B) When my parents stay at the Flamingo in Dec., we'll dine outside the hotel entirely.

This is the kinda stuff the rest of us need to know and should be thanking you for. So thank you!

Carlos 'n Charlie's response


I will still never go there. My wife and I were DISGUSTED reading about the rancid meat. We've had some shitty Vegas food (on strip and off), but nothing like that.

Steve, I think C&C needs to fire their PR firm. What a douche bag response, "everyone is entitle to their opinion", it appears that "everyone" is of the opinion that the place sucks. With over 20 years experience in hospitality, my response would be to a)take your posting down on my FB page... it is afterall their page, they can control the content. b) Reach out to Chuckmonster apologize and try to change his opinion. If the manager believed his experience to be an anomoly, he should ask Chuck to return as his guest. If Chuck was concerned about remaining unbiased, he should ask for some confirmable identifying information, tell him to come in again anonymously, dine, and identify himself after the meal for it to be comped. This would allow Chuck a second unbiased shot and provide a teachable moment/ motivator for the manager.

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