If you haven’t seen the Strip-side entrance to the Monte Carlo Resort lately, you might not recognize it.  Gone is much of the neo-classical statuary, and no trace remains of the ornate fountain that once marked the street entry to the megaresort.  Instead, you’ll find a modern courtyard, with angular water features, and evergreens in sleek, geometric slate planters.  This is BLVD Plaza.  

Flanking this outdoor hub, are curving structures housing several casual new eateries.  One of the anchors of BLVD Plaza, is the bustling Double Barrel Roadhouse.

Opened a mere two years ago, Double Barrel Roadhouse has been serving up tasty barbecue, Tex-Mex favorites, burgers, and Southern-style fare, in an atmosphere reminiscent of a genuine, tin-roofed roadhouse...by way of Las Vegas, that is!  

Beginning February 1st, the Roadhouse will introduce a slew of new menu items to their already mouth-watering selections, so Double Barrel’s management reached out to me, suggesting I bring a couple of friends for a private tasting.  The dishes were presented in a rather random fashion, and while there was no rhyme nor reason to the presentation, we all left full and very happy!

We started with two new cocktails, the Spiced Southern Peach, a smooth creamy combination of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire Whiskey, Rum Chata, and peach puree.  While I would’ve liked a stronger peach presence, the drink was still yummy, with a vaguely eggnog-like flavor.  We also tried the Roadhouse Sidecar - Knob Creek Bourbon, Grand Marnier, lemon and orange juices, agave, and peach puree.  With a strong, fruity depth of flavor, this Sidecar was the best I’ve tried!

Then the food started coming.  And coming.  And coming!  The first wave included St. Louis Style Barbecued Ribs - short, meaty pork ribs that were fall-off-the-bone tender, had a deep smokiness and a nice amount of heat from the dry rub, with a tangy finish from the vinegar-based house made barbecue sauce, as well as Hot Link Sliders - meaty and satisfying, with Poblano-onion relish, and a mustard barbecue sauce.  I didn’t detect as much heat as I prefer in hot link sausages, but that’s a minor quibble - at the end of the meal, there wasn’t a single one left!  A side dish of Creamed Corn was simple and subtly delicious, made with sweet corn, butter, a touch of heavy cream, and topped with a crispy mixture of Panko bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.  Finally, the Loaded Potato Skins, stuffed full of white and yellow Cheddar cheese, pulled pork, and beef brisket, topped with a cilantro sour cream.  The juicy pork and tender brisket, along with the herbal pop of the cilantro, created layers of texture and flavor that elevated this classic bar food to an extraordinary level.

Next came the Barbecued Brisket with Garlic Mashed Potatoes.  The flavors here were just right, with the lightly garlicky potatoes complemented nicely by the signature Double Barrel BBQ Sauce on the brisket.  The only criticism here, was that the meat wasn’t as fall-apart tender as I had expected.  It was explained, however, that they used a deeper, less marbled cut of the brisket, to stand up the the smoking process and the hearty flavors presented.  With some minor tweaking, this good dish could be great.

During a brief pause between dishes, we sipped a few more of the potent, new cocktails: the Sazerac - rye whiskey, absinthe, simple syrup, and bitters, the Elyxir - Absolut Elix Vodka, raspberry purée, sweet & sour mix, club soda, and Sierra Mist, and the Lynchburg Lemonade, with Jack Daniels, triple sec, sour mix, and lemon lime soda.  All that was missing was a porch swing!

A “flight” of wings arrived next - the sampler included a traditional Buffalo Wing, with an excellent version of the spicy, tangy sauce that Americans know and love, a Honey Hot Wing, that deftly combined sweet, heat, and a lovely smokiness, and lastly, the Habanero Bourbon BBQ Wing had a deep Southern kick from the bourbon, with a strong habanero bite, which, while spicy, never overpowered the palate.  

We also tried the Mac ‘N’ Cheese - hearty, creamy, and cheesy, with a combination of American and yellow Cheddar cheese, and that same Panko-Parmesan crust.  A great take on a classic American comfort food.  The Candied Bacon was insanely good, prepared with just a touch of salt, pepper, and brown sugar, the sweetness of which balanced out the bacon’s natural saltiness, making it absolutely irresistible.  And although it wasn’t a new dish, I asked to sample the Garlic Fries, which were addictive, with a good strong garlic flavor, and an aroma that I sensed the moment I walked into the Roadhouse!

Lastly, a sinful dessert - the Deep Fried Twinkie.  In the Chef’s hands, this simple “carnival food” was elevated by coating the Twinkies in a raspberry tempura batter.  Dusted with powdered sugar and served with a dark chocolate dipping sauce, this tempting junk food treat had a lightly crispy crust, with just a hint of berry flavor, and warm vanilla sponge cake and melted creme on the inside - a comforting confection, that was so wrong, and yet so right!   

Executive Chef David Mangual, with a background in French and Italian cuisine, clearly has a passion for this homey Southern style food.  His dishes were packed with flavor, always striking the perfect balance of spicy, sweet, tangy, and smoky - all the best attributes of good barbecue!  

The Double Barrel Roadhouse is a fun, often noisy and raucous eatery, with live bands some nights and Liquid Courage Karaoke on others, so if you’re looking for hot music, strong drinks, and good, stick-to-your-ribs country cooking, come to the Double Barrel Roadhouse and have a down-home Southern night on the Vegas Strip!