Some people eat to live. As my Twitter bio will tell you, I live to eat. So naturally, one of my absolute favorite parts of my job is not only working with Las Vegas’ top restaurants, but getting to experience them and meet some of the world’s most renowned chefs.

One of my personal favorites is James Beard award-winning Chef Michael Mina. Some of you may know him for his Cook. Taste. Eat. recipe program, or perhaps from seeing his name on a marquee for one of his acclaimed Vegas restaurants, such as AMERICAN FISH at ARIA and STRIPSTEAK at Mandalay Bay. Or maybe you’ve simply seen me Instagram food porn from one of his locations, such as the Caviar Parfait at MICHAEL MINA Bellagio. Yes, you heard me: caviar parfait. And it’s just as amazing and decadent as it sounds. 

So needless to say, I was extremely excited to try out Chef Mina’s newest restaurant, PUB 1842 at MGM Grand, which opened this week. Since Chef Mina has so many exquisite specialty dining locations around the city, I looked forward to experiencing one of his first casual concepts.

I am happy to report that PUB 1842 did not disappoint and was everything I could hope and dream for a Michael Mina pub! We sampled slider versions of the menu’s quirky and delicious burgers, including a Peanut Butter Crunch Burger with bacon jam, potato chips and pimento cheese; and Korean BBQ Salmon Burger with cucumber kimchi and Fresno peppers (a favorite of yours truly). We also devoured Lobster Corn Dogs, Deep Fried Shitake Mushrooms and for dessert, Coconut Cake paired with an adorable Mini Piña Colada milk shake.

Chef Mina was on-hand for the event, and despite his success, is truly one of the nicest and most down-to-earth individuals you could meet in Sin City. MGM Grand comic headliner Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond) even stopped by to check out the happenings and pose for photos with Chef Mina’s kids.

Along with the incredible cuisine, PUB 1842 also features an impressive craft beer selection and fun cocktail menu, featuring concoctions like “Thai Me Up” made with tea-infused vodka, Thai tea and condensed milk; and “Here Piggy Piggy” made with bacon, pink peppercorn and Bulleit bourbon. And to enhance the playful party atmosphere, PUB 1842 features its own custom beer pong tables (at which my colleague Robert and I suffered a DEVASTATING loss).

Overall, PUB 1842 is an exceptional restaurant from an exceptional chef. Michael Mina, you never let me down!

-Kara Rutkin