Fun and salsa are key to Carlos'n Charlie's appeal at Flamingo Las Vegas.
"This is a place for honest, traditional Mexican food, and we have a very good sense of humor so we want people to have fun here," says Genaro Dispa, general manager.
As for fun, there's a DJ on site playing music all day and evening and all the bartenders are flair bartenders who practice their routines and join the servers in dancing on the bar and by the dining tables. There's a dance floor at night.
"The key to the Mexican kitchen is the salsa," Dispa adds, "and we make our own."
The restaurant, which opened April 18 at the Flamingo Las Vegas, 3555 Las Vegas Blvd. South, is the fourth Carlos'n Charlie's in the United States, joining outposts in West Palm Beach, Fla.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; and Austin, Texas.
There are five symbols that may be found next to menu items. These indicate a dish that originated with the restaurant chain; "almost feather light"; "very recommendable"; "OK to eat with the hands"; and "so-so picante" (somewhat spicy). A children's menu also is available.
Carlos'n Charlie's has an extensive drink menu featuring margaritas (including a "skinny" margarita); 11 tequilas available by the glass or bottle; domestic and imported beer on tap or by the bottle; wine and several cocktails, including Dumb Bet and Sunset In Las Vegas.
The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. - 2 a.m. on weekends - and seats 370 people indoors and outdoors. The latter features a covered deck with misters. While not necessary, reservations are recommended.
Appetizers: chips and salsa ($5), diablo chicken wings ($12), cheese fingers ($13), ceviche Acapulco ($15), quesadilla Charlie's ($12)
Soups and salads: chicken Caesar ($15), chicken or carne asada taco salad ($15), chicken fajita salad ($16), Aztec tortilla soup ($8), Baja bean soup ($7)
Entrees: chimichanga Charlie's ($16); enchiladas ($15); tacos ($14 to $16); fajitas ($18-$20); beef bistro medallions in peppercorn sauce ($22); Parmesan & Swiss chicken ($18); chicken in mole salsa ($16); Veracruz fish with sauce of tomatoes, capers, olives, parsley and a splash of white wine ($24); BBQ ribs, a full rack of smoked ribs grilled with BBQ-chipotle sauce, served with fries, corn on the cob and extra sauce on the side ($21.99)
Desserts: chocolate cake ($8), cajeta crepes ($13), cheesecake ($8), Key lime pie ($8), trio ice cream ($6), banana chimichanga ($9)