If you’re a breakfast person, you’ve probably heard of SLS Las Vegas’ Griddle Café, a diner-style restaurant that’s open 24 hours on the weekend, and for late-night dining, breakfast and lunch on weekdays. It’s an import from L.A.’s Sunset Strip, where the original is known for its over-the-top creations (particularly the sweets) and a young celebrity clientele.
The menu is massive—seven pages if you discount the front and back covers. Once you make it past the signature cocktails, French press coffee and chips, you arrive at this menu’s beating heart: the pancake section. There are 20 varieties, ranging from familiar choices, such as buttermilk, whole wheat and blueberry, to cheeky specialties including ’Tis The Season (with pumpkin pie filling) and Room Service (filled with Champagne, strawberries and chocolate). You can even have liquor mixed into the batter.
I recently had a slightly more subdued version called the Banananana, which had sugar-baked bananas in the batter. It tasted like a classic banana pancake, made unique by the contrast between the smooth, fluffy batter and the occasional crunch of caramelized sugar. And while it was sweet enough that I didn’t bother with the pure maple syrup on the table, it wasn’t the sugar overkill some of the more extreme options promise.
Pancakes generally come three to a stack. But at close to a foot in diameter each, that’s a huge portion. Fortunately, the restaurant also offers singles for those who aren’t that hungry.
The list of French toast preparations isn’t as extensive as pancakes, with only six. But you can still get it loaded with everything from bourbon, chocolate and whipped cream to graham-cracker crust with cheesecake filling. Do yourself a favor, however, and don’t overlook the original Mom’s French Toast, a simple, unassuming take on the classic that’s done to absolute perfection.
Omelets and other egg dishes take up a full page of the menu and are just as creative as the sweets. Being from the Philadelphia area, I couldn’t resist the Hoagie omelet, topped with peppers and onions, and stuffed with mozzarella and Italian sausage. It didn’t taste much like a real Philly hoagie (that’s an Italian sub to the rest of you), but the sausage gave it a nice kick.
If you’re in for lunch, there’s an expansive sandwich selection and several types of street tacos. I really enjoyed the thick, moist chicken breast piled high with artichoke hearts, Parmesan cheese, spicy aioli and scallions. I would not, however, recommend the El Pollo Rico chicken tacos unless you really like spicy food, because the chipotle cream sauce and pico de gallo combine for a hell of a wallop to the palate.
The Griddle’s décor is a slightly clichéd converted-warehouse style (exposed brick, ceiling vents and corrugated metal) that’s obviously trying to capture the hipster crowd the resort is aiming for. Along those lines, the staff is young, beautiful and energetic. They truly seem to enjoy their jobs, and provide excellent, attentive service.
I did find one thing odd, however. The menu offers six alcohol-infused milkshakes and two drunken floats. But when I asked for a plain vanilla shake without alcohol, I was told they couldn’t do it. Given my predilection toward booze, they didn’t have to twist my arm to get me to try a buttermilk cake shake spiked with Frangelico and Godiva liqueurs. But when the menu reads, “We care about our customers and we will make every effort to accommodate special requests, substitutions, special diets and more … just ask,” a nonalcoholic vanilla milkshake doesn’t seem like an unreasonable request when they are already offered with alcohol. Moreover, at a place that will undoubtedly attract families, isn’t it kind of mean to make kids watch milkshakes passing their table, only to be told, “They’re not for you”?
That bit of toddler teasing aside, Griddle is a great restaurant for families looking for breakfast or lunch, as well as the late-night crowd seeking sustenance pre- or post-club. Just beware of the inevitable sugar highs and comas.
Al’s Menu Picks
- Banananana pancakes ($13)
- Mom’s French toast ($12)
- Broken Heart chicken sandwich ($14)
- Addiction to Noisella shake ($15)
The Griddle Café
The SLS, 702-761-7613. Open for breakfast, lunch and late night 11 p.m.-4 p.m., Sun.-Thu.; 24 hours Fri.-Sat. Breakfast or lunch for two, $25–$60.