It’s got beer, music, beer, warm daytime sunshine, beer, soft nighttime breezes, beer, beach umbrellas and more beer. The only element of spring break missing from the new Beer Park at Paris Las Vegas is the beach; you’ll have to settle for artificial turf.
My emphasis on beer isn’t really gratuitous; Budweiser is in the subtext of the name of this restaurant and lounge, though others have been invited to the party. Thirty-seven beers and associated beverages (including a hard root beer and a fruit beer/cider) are on draft, and 39 more are available in bottles or cans.
There have been times over the years when, asked about a restaurant, I’ve advised sticking to the bottled beer, but I first suspected that wouldn’t be the case with Beer Park after looking at the menu, which has the basics but also shows a fair amount of creativity. And who among us could resist an Egg Salad Burger?
OK, the Egg Salad Burger ($8.95) did sound strange, but I tend to be drawn to that sort of thing because it seems it couldn’t possibly work but usually turns out to do just that. And that was the case here, the patty of ground brisket contributing extra beefy flavor and topped with crisply fried thick-cut bacon, cheddar cheese, potato chips for crunch and, yes, a scoop of egg salad, which added a touch of richness and was a good counterpoint to the saltiness of the bacon and cheese and the smoke of the first and slight bite of the second. On the side were house-made pickles that the menu said were made with Stella Artois Cidre (also available on draft), and which were cold, crunchy and more sour than sweet, which was a plus.
The soft pretzel ($7.95) was listed as braided, and indeed it was, looking more like a loaf of artisan bread than a traditional pretzel. The flavor and texture were there, though, and the smaller proportion of surface area meant that the pretzel was just a little softer than the norm. On the side was a cheese “fondue” that the menu said was made with Bass IPA, the characteristic hoppiness of which was pretty well lost in this bland blend.
And the New England-style clam bake ($24.95), which sounded like it would be a lot of food and indeed was. A major drawback of this one was the half ear of corn; as I just said in a review last week, restaurant corn tends to be so unpleasantly waterlogged that I don’t get why a talented chef doesn’t just bag it, and this one sure was. It was, however, the only real weak link in a heaped platter that also contained tiny, tender and very sweet littlenecks; fresh and likewise sweet snow crab; fresh-from-the-sea shrimp that had been cooked just to the point of opaqueness; as well as buttery potatoes, mild and smoky Andouille; and garlic bread. And, yes, there was the “Budweiser broth,” which didn’t really add anything in the way of flavor (and I’ll resist making a Budweiser crack here); we asked for some drawn butter, the classic accompaniment, but it was awhile in coming.
Service was pretty good. The hostess seemed downright annoyed when we asked for a table with chairs when she tried to seat us on backless benches, but our server was much better and the runners were very efficient.
The atmosphere? Loud. Beer Park is atop Hexx on the front of Paris Las Vegas, accessed by stairs from the Strip or by elevator through Hexx, and has counter seating along (and high above) the Strip, but that’s not where the noise comes from — at least until the Bellagio fountains across the street start their spouting with a roar. No, the noise is from the competing mixed-rock music and monumental displays of sports TV.
But then again, spring break isn’t exactly a soothing experience.
Las Vegas Review-Journal restaurant reviews are done anonymously at Review-Journal expense.
Email Heidi Knapp Rinella at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find more of her stories at www.reviewjournal.com, and follow @HKRinella on Twitter.
Beer Park, Paris Las Vegas, 3655 Las Vegas Blvd. South; 702-444-4500
The essence: It’s loud and a little bit rowdy, but the beer’s cold and the food is creative and better than it needs to be.