If you've never had the opportunity to frequent Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville while visiting Las Vegas, it is a must-stop location. Conveniently located in the historic Flamingo Hotel and Casino, accessibility from anywhere on the strip is accomplished in a Vegas minute. On St. Patrick's Day I had the wonderful opportunity to experience a magical evening at Margaritaville's "I-Rish I Had A Margarita" celebration. This marked my second visit to the restaurant, as the service and quality of food was beyond exceptional that I had no choice but to return. In total the party of three and myself stayed for five hours, which is a testament to the lively, welcoming, and outright fun environment that Margaritaville offers. In what other Las Vegas restaurant will one find live music with performers on stilts?
While the ambiance is superior with the layout of an island theme complete with wooden planks of that of a ship; the reason Margaritaville is so popular is the value of their menu and wide array of food available. The menu, which was covered in great detail in a previous review, boasts well over 100 items including a sugar free section and the much sought after gluten free menu. The drink menu is equally as extensive, with over 80 alcoholic possible combinations and a variety of non-alcoholic mixed drinks as well. There is truly something for all persuasions.
The evening began promptly at 7 p.m. with a reservation. After being granted a corner booth and being warmly welcomed by Margaritaville's Director of Operations, Deborah Canez, my party ordered drinks from the exclusive Margaritaville's I'Rish I Had a Margarita menu. Four festive offerings were available. Just to be on the safe side, throughout the course of the extended evening my dining companions and I ordered several of each specialty beverage. The quad of drinks was formidable, but I must concede that the Off To See The Leprechaun Marg O'Rita was my favorite. The name of the sign says Margaritaville for a reason; this establishment has the absolute undisputed best margaritas in all of Las Vegas. For this festive variation a joining of Margaritaville Gold Tequila, Melon Liqueur and Special Margarita Mix made one feel Irish while visiting the islands.
The Irish Boat Drink was my favorite of the three non-margarita beverages. A delicate mixture of chronologically appropriate Jameson Irish Whiskey and Blue Curacao merged with pineapple and orange juice made for a fine refreshment. One member of my party said that the Irish Boat Drink was a tad too strong for their tastes, and preferred the Shamrocker instead. It is plain to see why, too. Created with Margaritaville Silver Tequila, Triple Sec, Melon Liqueur and orange juice the fruity spiced drink was certainly milder although higher in overall alcohol content. Last but most assuredly not least in the order of worthiness was the much vaunted and critically necessary element of any St. Patrick's Day party; green beer. The Lucky Landshark was the house special of the evening with Landshark Lager along with Margaritaville Island Lime Tequila. Margaritaville Tequila is popular in the islands, and enthusiasts from around the planet visiting Las Vegas flock to to Margaritaville for that reason.
After properly priming our systems the table ordered appetizers. First on deck was the Jamaica Mistaica, jerk glazed, chicken wings which are perfect for the islands which were served with fresh veggie chips and creamy dipping sauce. These chicken wings are not from petite chickens, and could have been confused for legs because of their size. Drenched and glistening in sauce, the price of $11.99 was an entirely fair bargain. If interested in something more traditional one could also have the Clipper wings, which are of a rich and tangy buffalo variety. If that isn't enough, worry not as both flavors are also available as boneless chicken bites too! In retrospect we should have ordered more of these, as all agreed they were delicious.
Our second course was like visiting an old friend. After being introduced to the Asiago Crab Dip on my last visit I had been craving this dip in my sleep. I implore all to take it upon themselves to experience this dip for themselves at least once. I dine out often in and around the city, trying everything that I can, and the Asiago Crab Dip has no peer. The dip itself is made with 100% real lump crab meat, not like the paltry cheap imitation varieties you will find elsewhere. The crab is mixed with an asiago cream cheese and then baked until decadently golden brown. The smell and texture is inviting and gratifying. The compliment to this dish is baked Italian crostini bread that is covered with asiago cheese, olive oil, and spices. The dainty pieces make for the ultimate dip delivery device. After my second encounter with the Asiago Crab Dip I maintain that $13.99 is a magnificent value.
The third course came upon us quickly in the form of Key West Quesadillas. The Margaritaville island menu allows one to enjoy many different styles of food. The presentation of these Quesadillas are outstanding. Served on a personal cutting board, the flour tortillas are crispy with precise griddled marks in uniformity. There is no skimping on the meat in this delicious item, which is packed full with thoroughly seasoned carne asada steak that melts in the mouth. A combination of Oaxaca and Monterey Jack cheese make the Key West Quesadillas highly desirable. A variety of dipping sauces are also served. No quesadilla would be complete without lime crema, a Margaritaville specialty. Also available for dabbling was pico deo gallo, and guacamole. Chicken, rather than steak, is a possibility. With a price of $15.99 for steak and $14.99 for chicken this item is offered at more than a fair rate.
The fourth course was the most interesting in the form of Pretzel Sticks. I had imagined the items were mere pretzel rods while ordering, and my assumptions were quickly disproved. Four large, near baguette size pretzel sticks were served. The menu describes them as "served warm" and indeed they are. A taste fresh out of the oven. The Pretzel Sticks are large and were pleasant to appreciate after the previous courses. They are generously accompanied by a Margaritaville homemade queso sauce, and mustard. At $9.49 for this item, one must consider that they receive four pretzels and that is a bargain price on the Las Vegas strip. Go out and buy a single warm pretzel from a vendor elsewhere for $5 and send me an email about the quality, and how you wish you had headed my advice and bought yours at Margaritaville.
Completing the appetizer round was a house favorite, the Grilled Shrimp Skewer. The arrangement of the shrimp skewers is a stand alone work of art all by itself. After being glazed with jerk sauce and grilled skillfully down to the second, the shrimp are dusted with a sugared coconut and then stuck into a whole slice of pineapple with the rind still on! If that isn't island enough for a prospective customer, I don't know what is. The price was the cheapest of the evening too, a mere $5.99 for shrimp, on skewers! They're so modestly priced one is actually losing money if they don't order them for their table.
By this time in the evening, after the table had consumed at least 16 alcoholic beverages in total, the live music began to play much to the pleasure of all in the restaurant. They were a hip band, playing classic non-offensive hits for the entire family to take part. The performance was highly entertaining, but not enough-so that it would spoil a customer's opportunity to partake in conversation.
Finally the time had come to order entrees, in which I had previously negotiated with the table to be allowed to sample all items to provide as complex of a review as possible.
The Shrimp Trio was happily ordered by one member of the table who is an enthusiastic lover of seafood. They were not disappointed with what they were served, and neither was I. Blackened grilled shrimp, which were distinctively different and more smokey than the previous Grilled Shrimp Skewer appetizer, were laid presented on a bamboo stick. These shrimp were noticeably larger than the appetizer as well. The sauteed island lime shrimp were just amazing. Served in a bowl of peppers, onions, capers and butter sauce they were exploding with flavor. A true foodie would agree that the the butter sauce is good enough to drink directly from the bowl. The dish is finalized with massive butterflied coconut shrimp. Deep fried, golden grown, and served with a tart and tangy orange sauce the coconut shrimp are a compliment to the other shrimp varieties. At a cost of $24.99 customers will be ecstatic and left with full after their purchase. The Shrimp Trio is served with french fries, lime cilantro coleslaw, and jalapeno tartar sauce.
Another ordered the Surf & Turf and surfing and turfing it was! A 10 oz flat iron steak was served that had been seasoned to perfection and was accompanied by a grilled shrimp skewer, along with large cut french fries. The flat iron steak had the taste of a delicate piece of meat, which was served rare. For the price of $26.99 I question the value of this entree. A similar entree is offered, which I ordered, that heralds a larger cut of meat, with more complex sides. If one has a desire for shrimp I suggest ordering the shrimp skewer separate and skipping this dish, not for lack of quality but because of price.
As many now-intoxicated men visiting the islands would do, I ordered a 12 oz New York Strip Steak, as did one other dining companion. For $26.99 this is continues to be the penultimate entree at Margaritaville. The appearance of the steak is mouthwatering, with perfect diamond grill marks and a light pool of blood collected underneath. As mentioned, this entree is where a customer will receive the most value for their dining dollar. Served with Yukon gold mashed potatoes which were mixed with brilliant applewood-smoked bacon, and exploding with cheddar cheese. Topped with sour cream and green onions, there was absolutely nothing to dislike about this side. The green beans were also supreme, and skillfully prepared. I was extremely satisfied with the New York Strip Steak, and happily encourage individuals to enjoy the dish as well.
We now come to the dessert course, which I had been looking forward to all evening. There was a score to settle between myself and the mountain of a dessert course known as The Chocolate Hurricane. In my previous visit to Margaritaville I attempted to take on this massive challenge and despite my best efforts I, like so many others, was defeated by this gargantuan. However, this time I had brought along more guests and would not be denied the victory of completing the dessert! One must understand that any images of The Chocolate Hurricane are not an accurate representation. The dessert is far too large to be displayed, and because of its size it is served on its own lazy susan so that it can be properly attacked from all sides. A whole pint of gourmet vanilla bean iced cream is placed in the center of a plate, and is then flanked on the right and left by equally large portions of whipped cream. Three brownies, two inches thick, are piled high to complete the form of the concoction. The outside layers are littered with crumbled pieces of heath bars, along with banana slices, macadamia nuts, and butter cookies. The dessert is impaled with Kit-Kat bars and pirouette cookies on either side. Two shots of sauce accompany The Chocolate Hurricane, both chocolate and caramel, which are meant to be dumped over the dessert. Finally, there are also maraschino cherries. I am pleased to report that on this occasion the table bested The Chocolate Hurricane, with scant crumbs left over. The dessert that can satisfy an entire table for only $16.50 is one of the deepest discounted desserts one will find in Las Vegas for the size.
The service gifted to our table on this evening was immaculate. Our server, Nate, had an airy and fun personality who was simply bursting with energy. Despite his friendly demeanor Nate was able to complete all of orders and requests flawlessly. He is a true asset to Margaritaville.
After five hours of an ecstasy filled dining experience that included live music, which was full of refreshing drinks, a whole slew of appetizers, and amazing entrees the evening drew to a close. We said our goodbyes to the staff, loaded all of our stomachs into a wheel barrow, and left Margaritaville. I cannot recommend the entire experience more highly. The prices are reasonable, if not in some cases downright cheap, the service is enviable, and the ambiance is friendly enough for children and bold enough for adults. If the gentle reader of this review has an opportunity to stop in to Margaritaville for a drink, a snack, or a whole meal they will be pleased that they took the chance.
I was invited to attend Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville's I-Rish I Had A Margarita St. Patrick's Day celebration by Rockaway PR, located in Miami, Florida.