As Hard Rock Hotel executive chef Mark Sherline points out, casino coffee shops don't have the best reputation for quality food.
But Mr. Lucky's 24/7 at the rock-themed hotel-casino "is quality driven," Sherline says. "Everything is fresh."
Sherline says while the restaurant at 4455 Paradise Road does a busy business at breakfast, it's also jumping at other times. "The food is great, but there's also the social atmosphere of an after-nightclub-hours restaurant," referring to the large crowd that heads to the restaurant from the Hard Rock's Body English nightclub.
In fact, eight cooks are on duty in the late-night, early morning hours to handle all of the customers.
Sporting hardwood floors and wall decorations that fit in with the hotel's decor, Mr. Lucky's serves a variety of breakfast items, plus burgers and sandwiches and dinner specialties that aim for a step up from typical coffee shop cuisine, including pizzas cooked in a wood-burning oven.
Mr. Lucky's seats 250. Call 693-5000 for further details.
Starters: Hot spinach and cheddar dip with tortilla chips and pico de gallo ($8.95); fire-roasted chicken nachos ($9.25); three sliders ($7.95); fried mozzarella with oven-dried tomatoes and baby greens ($8.95); and buffalo or teriyaki chicken wings ($8.95).
Soups and salads: Chicken noodle soup (cup, $2.75; bowl, $3.50); French onion soup ($4.95); Mediterranean salad with chopped romaine lettuce, sweet peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, feta cheese and red wine vinaigrette ($11.25); grilled ahi tuna salad with California greens, red pepper vinaigrette, tomatoes, avocado, green onions, cilantro and red peppers ($13.75); and Chinese chicken salad with California greens, cilantro, chicken breast, scallions, fried rice noodles, ginger strips and bean sprouts tossed in a spicy sesame dressing and topped with fried won tons ($12.50).
Entrees: Specials include baby back pork ribs basted in a watermelon barbecue sauce ($17.95); broiled salmon on a bed of roasted corn and red pepper hash with dill butter ($17.50); chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and gravy ($12.95); baked ziti and meatballs served with garlic bread ($13.95); and 16-ounce T-bone steak ($18.95). Specials are served with garden salad and house dressing.
Wood-burning oven pizza selections include margherita, cheese, barbecue chicken or pepperoni ($9.95-$10.95).
Burgers and sandwiches, served with fries or coleslaw, include grilled sirloin burger ($10.95); grilled turkey burger ($9.95); pastrami and Swiss cheese ($9.75); roast turkey sandwich ($8.95); and barbecue roasted pork loin sandwich ($10.25).
Extras: Breakfast items include fruit and cereal, pancakes, waffles and French toast, omelets, eggs and bakery items such as muffins, croissants and bagels ($2.75-$16.95).
Mr. Lucky's still has the "best kept secret in Las Vegas," as the hotel likes to call it: a sirloin steak and shrimp special with salad and mashed potatoes ($7.77). It's not on the menu but can be requested.
Desserts: Banana split ($6.45); hot fudge sundae ($5.45); seasonal fruit cobbler ($6); sour cream cheesecake ($6); and chocolate cake ($5.75).
Appetizers is a weekly column about new developments on the Las Vegas dining scene. Items should not be considered reviews or recommendations and none is a paid advertisement. Contact Ken White at 383-0256 or e-mail him at kwhite@ reviewjournal.com.