In a city touted for its good and plentiful eats, Border Brunch at both Border Grill Mandalay Bay and Border Grill Forum Shops stands out. The award-winning brunch with a definitive Mexican flare has recently launched an array of new menu items while keeping some of the classic favorites at its two Las Vegas locations.
Available every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m at Mandalay Bay and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Forum Shops, unlimited small plates and bottomless mimosas anchor this weekend tradition. With a creative culinary roadmap established by co-chef/owners Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, Border Grill’s Executive Chef Jamaal Taherzadeh, shares his insight about the new brunch menu items and the inspiration behind them.
Border Grill has long been famous for its award-winning brunch, what do you think makes it so popular?
Chef: The variety. I think that being able to sample so many different flavors and items makes for a unique experience. When I eat breakfast or brunch, I like to have something sweet – but only a couple bites. It's nice to offer small plates so guests can go from from sweet, to salty, to rich, to acidic. You can really have the full spectrum of flavor.
The existing menu has been well-received, why change it?
Chef: There’s always room for improvement! We try to evolve with trends, while staying true to our modern Mexican and Latin roots. For example, with a trend toward health and wellness, we changed our fruit plate that previously came with a guava yogurt in a buñuelo cone, to a much healthier parfait brulee using strained yogurt seasoned with lime and agave. We are really focusing on the quality of each ingredient in the parfait, and the same goes for practically every other dish we offer.
What is the thought process in developing new menu items for brunch?
Chef: It’s pretty simple: I make what I crave. We taste all the items as a team. The chefs fully encourage me to get creative with frequent specials and menu updates so every visit to Border Grill is a bit different for our guests, but always the same in quality, service and passion.
Where do you pull your inspirations from when creating a new brunch menu?
Chef: It’s a mixture of what my mom makes, what my peers are making and what the street food scene is like in Mexico and Latin America. All dishes start with the ingredients; we use sustainable and seasonal ingredients and let that inspire us. Our 30+ years of tried and true dishes are a great starting point for new twists and takes.
What are some of the favorite menu items that remain?
Chef: The Steak and Eggs is still a must-have! I love our skirt steak from Aspen Ridge – it's antiobiotic and hormone free and comes with a deliciously whimsical crispy poblano hash brown. We also still have our signature Green Corn Tamales, Churro Tots, Pigs in a Blanket and Breakfast Fries. The Breakfast Fries include beer braised short rib with Manchego cheese, applewood smoked bacon and a sunny side egg. It’s such a simple yet richly layered dish that everyone absolutely loves, so it was a no-brainer keeping that on the menu.
What new items are you most excited about?
Chef: The Barbacoa Torta is amazing. It's barbequed brisket with a really bright onion and carrot slaw, on a rustic grilled baguette. It’s kind of like a Mexican Banh Mi style sandwich that you have to try. We included it on both the Mandalay Bay and Forum Shops menus, so it’s a must-order at either location.
What is the most adventurous dish showcased on the new brunch menus?
Chef: The Serrano Ham and Cheese Waffle. It has shaved Serrano ham and Spanish Manchego cheese laid on top before we close the waffle maker, so the cheese gets melty and gooey and the ham gets crunchy. We serve it with whipped butter and maple syrup. It’s got both salty and sweet – you know, like something Elvis would love!
What brunch items can you find exclusively at Border Grill Mandalay Bay?
Chef: The Egg Sandwich, Oyster Taco, and Chile Relleno with eggplant guacamole are exclusively offered at the Mandalay Bay location.
What brunch items can you find exclusively at Border Grill Forum Shops?
Chef: You will only find the Ceviche of the Day and Seasonal Vegetable Chilaquiles from our impressive ceviche bar at our location in The Forum Shops at Caesars.
How would you describe the brunch menu overall?
Chef: If I had to sum up the reimagined brunch menu in one word it would be adventurous. A truly broad spectrum of flavor is featured throughout.
How do the new brunch menus reflect Border Grill's dedication to fresh, sustainable ingredients?
Chef: Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger believe modern Mexican cuisine should be light and healthful, with a large dose of flavor and a dedication to sustainability. With that in mind, all of our seafood is sustainable, and all of our meats are hormone free, antibiotic free. We use farmers markets whenever possible, even our beans and rice are organic.
What about brunch cocktails? Are there cocktails that are specific to each location?
Chef: One of the greatest things about Border Brunch at both locations are Bottomless Mimosas in a variety of flavors for $10. We also have an amazing Brunch Margarita that is pineapple vanilla infused. The Forum Shops location features several Bloody Mary variations including the Verde Mary which has cilantro infused vodka, tomato, cucumber serrano and spinach, while the Border Bacon Mary includes bacon infused vodka, horseradish, red pepper and spiced tomato.
What is special about Border Grill brunch that you can't find anywhere else in Las Vegas?
Chef: We do secret items daily. You have to follow us on our Twitter and Instagram accounts @BorderGrill to find out what they are, or ask a server when you come in. And while you're at it, give me a follow on Twitter @jamaaltaher) and Instagram (@chefjtaher).
Complete brunch menus for both locations: Border Grill Mandalay Bay | Border Grill Forum Shops
About Border Grill
Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger are co-chef/owners of the popular, critically acclaimed Border Grill restaurants & Truck, serving modern Mexican food in Las Vegas, Santa Monica, Downtown Los Angeles, Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport and most recently a second Las Vegas location inside The Forum Shops at Caesars. The Border Grill Truck can be found on the streets of Southern California and beyond cooking gourmet tacos, quesadillas, ceviche, and more. Mary Sue and Susan, Bravo's "Top Chef Masters" and Food Network's "Too Hot Tamales," are preeminent ambassadors of authentic Mexican cuisine, setting the standard for gourmet Mexican fare and authoring five cookbooks, including Cooking with Too Hot Tamales and Mesa Mexicana. Active members of the community, Mary Sue and Susan play leading roles in Share Our Strength and the Scleroderma Research Foundation. In addition, they are passionate about the environment and lead the culinary industry with their eco-friendly policies. For more information, visit www.bordergrill.com.