Considering that Flavor Flav's been around the block a few times, you'd think the guy would know something about not making himself an easy target.
But he did, so here it comes: Flavor Flav's House of Flavor is woefully short of flavor.
In case Flavor Flav's name doesn't ring any bells, he's a veteran hip-hop star and more recent reality TV star.
And his Las Vegas counter-service restaurant, which opened earlier this year, was missing more than just flavor. The menu's limited, but we had no problem with that. It's fried chicken and fried shrimp, with baked chicken "available on request." OK, we figured: chicken and shrimp.
Except that they were out of shrimp.
They were out of cola, too. How does a restaurant run out of cola? There is a 7-Eleven and a Vons just down the street, for Pete's sake. But yes, they were out of cola. Diet, they had. But no regular. And no unsweetened iced tea. Sweetened iced tea they had, and it was sweeter than any sweetened iced tea we've had anywhere, including the deepest of the Deep South.
So, since the restaurant only serves chicken and shrimp, and they were out of shrimp, chicken it would be. We ordered the Semi-Hungry Meal ($7.99; the Hungry Meal is $11.99) and each got two thighs. And you know what? This was really pretty decent fried chicken, the skin golden and shatteringly crisp.
But it had no flavor. Well, the chicken itself had flavor, as generally is the case with dark meat, and it was moist, which ... ditto. But that golden crust had no seasoning whatsoever, and no real flavor beyond, well, chicken skin.
Our Semi-Hungry Meals came with two sides each. The choices were heavy on the carbs, so we both ended up with coleslaw and split the difference with the potato salad and the macaroni and cheese. The potato salad had a clearly commercial taste but basically was OK, but the macaroni and cheese was pasty, with less cheese flavor than you'd get from your basic Kraft. And the vinegar-based coleslaw, while fresh and crisp, was, again, absent seasoning, the only flavor contributed by the shredded cabbage and a few shreds of carrot.
Our meals also came with little white rolls that looked like your basic brown-and-serve but had a pleasant subtle sweetness, sort of like a King's Hawaiian, so they were a surprising plus.
Service was quick. Although we'd heard reports from the field that the waits at Flavor Flav's could be nearly interminable, we waited only about five minutes. That makes me wonder a little since it takes more than five minutes to fry chicken, but I'm not going to argue with what that five minutes produced (except for a lack of seasoning).
Our meals also came with cups of Tabasco-esque hot sauce, so maybe that's supposed to be the source of the flavor, but if so, somebody doesn't get it.
The only seating being a few stools at a narrow counter, we took our chicken to go; a clamshell box is a clamshell box. The only service we encountered was from the young woman at the counter, who was pleasant and efficient, although she almost forgot to give us our beverages and did forget to give us our sweet potato biscuit.
I'd guess that Flavor Flav's already has an uphill battle because of its location. It's tucked into a strip center on Maryland Parkway, but it's toward the rear of the center without much in the way of signage, and you have to really be looking for it in order to spot it. And while the restaurant was neat as a pin inside, the place is definitely lacking in curb appeal.
Which also makes me wonder about the future of the Jamaican jerk-chicken place next door. As we left, we could smell the grilling chicken, and we were sorely tempted.
That, my friends, is flavor.
Las Vegas Review-Journal restaurant reviews are done anonymously at Review-Journal expense. Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at 383-0474 or email her at hrinella@ reviewjournal.com.