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Vegas Eats: Citizens at Mandalay Bay

By Chuckmonster on Monday, 14th September 2015 11:15am
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 10


Mandalay Bay Citizens Review

Walking up and down The Strip works up a healthy appetite, particularly when you're staying at the far end of the Mandalay Mile. Dining options at nearest neighbors Excalibur, Luxor and Tropicana create a food-less force field. If it weren't for the motorized walkways, you may as well be in Jean, NV peering out at the crumble of asphalt that used to be Nevada Landing. "Excuse me sir. Is there any leftover soup?"

Fortunately, Mandalay Bay is packed with foodstuffs. Amidst the selection of rapidly approaching expiration dining offerings is a strong smattering of newly installed "resortist" era offerings. An epic trudge (and, thankfully, tram) led me to Citizens, a "basics" joint in the middle of the Mandalay Dining District within shouting distance of the casino and Light nightclub.

Mandalay Bay Citizens Interior

I don't know anything about this place, but the fancy sign out front has suckered me in from a hundred yards away. A hostess greets me and seats me in the main dining room. The room bedecked in subway tile, framed photos and early 1930's decor, an interior duplicated in white at The Pantry at Mirage. Oontz music throbs loudly from hidden speakers a two separate parties of middle aged, non-club patrons sip beers, finger fries and laugh on either sides of me. The 16th note filter sweep crescendoes accompanied by the kling-klang of utensils, occasional guffaws and the inevitable bass drop. The cycle, like the music, is predictable.

I'm tired. Maybe I should've curled up in bed and ordered room service.

Mandalay Bay Citizens Menu

Peeking at the menu, I see appetizers, soups & salads, a side bar of sandwiches, sides, entrees and flame grilled burgers. Waiter arrived and took my order. Regretfully, I didn't get "Chuck's Fish & Chips" but instead went with the trusty Bacon Burger, medium rare.

The cycle of oontz crescendoes and bass drops repeats three more times. I don't have anything against the electronic music, I am a big fan of Kraftwerk, Chemical Brothers, Boards of Canada, Amon Tobin, Squarepusher, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Edgard Varese and Pierre Schaeffer. Futurism is in my blood. The audio wallpaper they've got going on at Citizens is obvious and boring.

The burger arrives minutes after ordering it. Is it even possible to cook a medium rare burger that quickly? Fries too? Did I fall asleep?

Mandalay Bay Citizens Burger

Alas, there it is. A burger and fries, finely decorated with shiny brioche bun, spicy pepper spear, shag of shaved onions and bacon with tins of ketchup and bbq sauce served on an aluminum tray instead of a plate. Let's slice 'er open.

Mandalay Bay Citizens Rare

I took five photos of the inside of this burger and this was the best of the bunch. My apologies. We can see layers of lettuce, shaved tomato, shaved red onion, bacon, a pickle and a rare (not medium rare) hamburger.

The burger was unremarkable. To me, rare burgers tend to have a meaty, tender and mushy consistency that misses the grilled flavor mark. 90 seconds more on the grill and the fat within the grind activates, transforming the burger into into a juicy flavor bomb. I suspect that the grind they are using at Citizen is on the lean side. Fat is where it's at.

While I'm nit picking... why do humans shred iceberg lettuce? Is the cellulose structure in it that difficult to chew that it requires being minced to a stringy pulp? For that matter, why the hell use iceberg lettuce at all... it has no flavor or nutritional content. Burgers that are served with bbq sauce, shouldn't have any vegetables on them other than a deep fried onion ring. An allowance can be made for pickles. Amateurs.

I definite should've ordered "Chuck's Fish & Chips."

Mandalay Bay Citizens Check

Citizens, late night burger for one, no beer came to - HOLY SHIT, THAT BURGER AND FRIES COST $20!?!?!!?! ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? - $24.86 for a burger, fries and a goddamn coke. Who do you guys think you are?

Indeed, dear Vladimir, this Citizens is revolting.

Tagged: dining   vegas eats   burgers   citizens   mandalay bay   oontz   


Comments & Discussion:

The obvious followup here is a discussion about the Citizens BM and the Manadalay Conference area terluts. Then finish up with a post-evacuation doughnut purchase on the way to the room/cab.

Pardon me, but shaved iceberg lettuce is the best thing for a sandwich. Romaine, frizee and other variations of weeds are rubbish! Shredded iceberg forever!

Funny that you're drawing parallels to Pantry, given that most of what's in that dining room is 15 years old. It's the old Bleu/Blanc/Rouge space, which only slightly changed after it was Amerifried to Red/White/Blue in the Iraq buildup years (apparently this really cheesed off Hubert Keller) and remains largely the same as Citizens.

So why the name change? The resort's original F&B operations outsourced a lot to China Grill Management (including this space, Red Square, MIX, and Rumjungle). MGM let that lapse and took it all in-house. They had to close the China Grill franchise for obvious reasons, kept Red Square as-is, and gave this place yet another new title without really tooling anything.

Shout-outs to the people who remember when this location was called Rock Lobster and was sort of a weird restaurant/lounge hybrid thing with coed bathrooms.

@minvegas one smells like moustache wax, the other smells like beard oil. the metaphorical principle is the same even if this that and the other happened when and where and whatfor. i went to pantry for first time a few weeks after i ate here.

That looks truly unamazing for a $20 burger.

Tough when you have the burger bar in the mall at Mandalay. Of course even that was just OK in my opinion. I'll take In-n-Out over either.

Last year after the VIMP main event since I was staying in Luxor I figured I would give the place a chance and wandered down to Citizens for a late dinner. I dined outside and listened to the bar/club across the way while waiting for my food. I did order the fish and chips and got an amazingly large piece of fish with the right amount of fries. It was delicious. You should have ordered that instead of that overpriced burger.

$20 for an under cooked burger with the cheapest lettuce on a tray.


^^ The real insult is that you have to pay an extra buck to get cheese on a $19 burger. Jeez!!

That's really kinda bizarre for $19. BLT is $3 less (comparing burger+cheese, fries, soda), although I always find myself getting Shaft's Blue there.

GR's Burgr would be $21 for a bacon cheeseburger (with a fried egg, too!) + fries, tho for $1 more you can get the awesome Maui Onion Rings instead.

$27-ish at I

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