By: Bob Gourley
The number of chicken restaurants in the U.S. must be staggering. Not only are there big chains but independents are gobbling up more of the trade as well.
One of those small providers is Blue Ribbon in Summerlin. Two brothers, Eric and Bruce Bromberg started the ball rolling in New York back in 1992 and now their only west coast location is doing very well.
What makes it so good? The breading is a mix of egg whites, matzo meal and a secret collection of spices. The pieces are huge and after devouring one you will be staring at your plate wondering if you should take the rest home.
Combo options abound with The Wing Man that includes two whole wings or Two Piece Tenders with boneless pieces. Each one is delivered with fries and cole slaw. You can also order by the piece if you are on the run and if it has been awhile since you tried fried chicken livers their version is accompanied by caramelized onions.
Sides are varied and delicious with spicy slaw made with chili peppers and onion. Of course you will find fries - and lots of them, including spuds with the works topped with aged cheddar, smoked bacon and sour cream.
Sweet potato samplings are also available. Smoked mac and cheese will put a little fire into the experience.
Sandwiches are a big part of the equation with The Blue Ribbon leading the pack. The meat is embellished with Blue Ribbon special sauce that adds a kick. The Firebird features pickled peppers and spicy chipotle mayo.
If you want some spice and sweetness, order Kerry’s Classic with caramelized pineapple and sauce. By the way, all of the sandwiches come with lettuce and pickled cucumbers sitting between a toasted bun.
Kale Salad is offered with grilled or fried chicken if you want to go without the bun and other goodies.
Drinks are usually an after-thought but they have stocked the place with Boylan Fountain Soda that is sweetened with cane sugar instead of fructose syrup. You can really taste the difference and I recommend one of those to wash down the food.
Milkshakes are also available with the usual three flavors of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla but there are also Nutella flavorings ready to order. And if you want to have a beer don’t hesitate to order an unfiltered IPA called Hazy Little Thing from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. or PBR priced at just a dollar. Wine is also available.
Even though Blue Ribbon is nestled into a quasi-food court at Downtown Summerlin, the atmosphere is modern and clean with a mixed crowd of shoppers, teens and those on the lookout for something different than the usual chicken tastes. The Bromberg brothers came up with the recipe quite by mistake while creating a gourmet menu at the Blue Ribbon Brasserie.
After perfecting it, they began to share it with the rest of the world. We are fortunate as this location is the only one in the west. Pity those in the rest of the country.
Blue Ribbon, Downtown Summerlin, 1770 Festival Plaza Dr., Las Vegas. (702) 329-9300. www.blueribbonrestaurants.com.