“We’re lucky enough to be building and operating the kind of places that we want to hang out and have a great meal and a great time in.”
Those are the words of John Kunkel, CEO of Yardbird, a Miami tradition that has many in Las Vegas crowing with satisfaction. Being open just a short time here, the word has gotten out about the Southern hospitality that makes all just plain feel good when it comes to dining with friends, relatives or that special someone. We stopped by to see what all the “clucking” was about and we were not disappointed. With a warm friendly welcome from the hostess, to the attentive service of our lovely waitress, we were treated with that great southern charm that Yardbird regulars come to expect.
We began our service with some h’orderves, which of course were Yardbird’s signature deviled eggs with rich creamy yellow yolk that is whipped to perfection with just the right amount of dill, chive, and smoked trout roe to leave you wanting just one more (we always wondered why they are called “deviled” since they are just so heavenly). We also indulged in charcuterie and cheese, which included la quercia prosciutto, cured serrano ham, Benton’s smoked ham, Asher bleu cheese, pimento cheese , Vermont cheddar cheese, house pickles, toasted country bread, and onion marmalade. This could be a meal in itself if you have a limited amount of time before a show.
Next was the iceberg wedge salad with baby iceberg lettuce, charred corn, heirloom tomatoes, house-smoked bacon and avocado adorned with house-made buttermilk ranch dressing. Although this was a very nice mixture of flavors, we did feel the textural components where a bit too creamy and with a big chunks of bacon that contrasted with the overall salad. A little more crunch of the iceberg lettuce and less dressing would have been more to our liking. The sides of roasted carrots with coriander seed, orange, and cumin and Green Beans with smoked yogurt and toasted almond vinaigrette, were a nice accompaniment to our “star” dish of the night, the Lewellyn’s fine fried chicken. This is the very famous bird served with honey hot sauce that many flock to Yardbird to sink their teeth into. The crust that holds in all that good juicy chicken is something you just have to dig in for yourself to understand the depth of richness that this cakey, crumbling secret batter gives to recipe. It does garner a rather pricey $26 to your bill but sometimes it is worth every coin to partake of some really good down home fried chicken.
Along the way, a few cocktails made their appearance and one showed up in a large way and we mean large. Out came a contraption that looked like part old fashioned still meets modern mixology gone a bit mad. The triple decker tower structure was used to funnel a few ounces of bourbon downward through some herbs and into a shiny receptacle, leaving everyone in the restaurant gawking in goggle eyed wonderment that Bill Nye would be proud of. We must preface that this is something that is not on the main menu, so if you are so inclined you may have to ask for this “special cocktail contraption” if you are a curious cocktail aficionado. Watch out for this one, this cocktail will, “grow some hairs on your chest,” with the blend of herbs infused into strong whiskey or bourbon (upon your request).
The cocktail list does boast some standards like Yard bird old fashioned, a Southern spin on the timeless classic that features bacon-infused Buffalo Trace bourbon, Angostura bitters, orange bitters, and maple syrup, served in a lowball with a 2-inch sphere ice. There are many inventive cocktails, craft beers, bourbon infusions, and select boutique distillery spirits that are sure to quench any thirst. Don’t forget to select one of the varieties of handmade flavored and garnished ice cubes that are added to select spirits to enhance the overall flavor and cocktail experience.
Dessert, oh the desserts are truly worth pulling away from the table for a few minutes to acquire a little room in the mid-section. In house creations such as the dulce de leche strawberry shortcake with layers of Chantilly strawberry cream and light sponge cake or the chess pie with sweet cornmeal, Chantilly cream, and creamy caramel sauce along with other takes on southern sweets is a perfect way to end a night enjoying Southern comfort food.
You may develop an appetite for both Southern hospitality and Southern cuisine after your first visit to Yardbird. We are convinced that this is the place where you will continue to want to hang out, relax, and just “set a spell.”