Smorgasbird’s the Word and the Return of Geno Bernardo

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The Smorgasbird

You never need an excuse to eat at Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken (in Downtown Summerlin, 702-329-9300,, but now you have an excuse to eat two chicken sandwiches at once. Created in July for National Fried Chicken Day, the Smorgasbird launched at the original Blue Ribbon in New York was such a success, owners Eric and Bruce Bromberg decided to extend the special through the month of August. It only got more fun when they dared guests to eat the whole thing in less than five minutes.

So, Smorgasbird: Two chicken sandwiches are stacked atop each other, conjoined Big Mac-style with one shared bun in the middle. From the top down, it pretty much reads like a good portion of the Blue Ribbon menu with the Works fries (a stack in and of itself, with saucy shredded barbecue chicken atop a pile of bacon, sour cream, melted cheddar cheese and fries) piled onto one chicken breast with a foundation of lettuce and slices of tomato; underneath is the Kerry’s Classic with sweet, grilled pineapple and Blue Ribbon special sauce.

I had occasion to give it a go myself recently. Since I can’t smash the towering sandwich down, nor unhinge my jaw wide enough to fit two sandwiches in, I divided in hopes of conquering, deconstructing the top from the bottom. And then I buckled and asked for a knife and fork. Surprisingly, even with so many ingredients going on, each element was distinct enough to taste—the fried chicken retained its crunch and signature spicy kick; the French fries remained crispy, even smothered with tangy barbecue chicken and cheese. Individually, each was a great sandwich. Together, they were only more powerful, the Voltron of sandwiches.

Now, you don’t “win” anything if you finish it in the allotted time, other than a sense of pride and a little bit of “What did I just do?” Plus, 20 percent of the proceeds from each $15 sandwich goes towards the Multiple Sclerosis Society, a cause near and dear to the Brombergs’ hearts. According to Blue Ribbon managers, plenty of guests have been taking it on and crushing it.

Me? I failed miserably at the five minute-mark, but I soldiered on. After about 15 minutes, I had plowed through two mostly-eaten chicken breasts, almost all of the Works fries and two picked-at pineapple slices, and then I threw in the towel. Apparently I’m not cut out to be a competitive eater, but this was certainly a tasty way to find out.

Moving from chicken to the sea, last week we learned that chef Geno Bernardo, formerly of Nove in the Palms, is returning to Las Vegas to open chef Brian Malarkey and Hakkasan Group’s latest, Herringbone, at Aria this winter. The seafood-centric spot is another from Malarkey’s arsenal of already-successful restaurants, with Bernardo leading the charge on his California coastal cuisine. Welcome back, chef!


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