Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Great Bao @ W. Tropicana, Las Vegas

Great Bao was closing their brick & motor location; which up til now I wasn't too keen on going due to its odd location inside a Salon...(I mean, how does that actually work? Food and Hair products just sound so wrong).

But seeing that they were closing (due to lease issues)  it was our last chance to support them. (they still have their food truck where you can have their most heavenly Baos).  We thought it would be cool as ice to take a stroll over to their soon-to-be defunct operation inside the 'house of hair'...

Click below to

We were at a loss for words....wow.... It's really inside a Hair/Nails Salon and Massage Parlor, and not just by the entrance, it's waaaay inside, past the front desk and the cutting stations.  You can see a small opening with a menu board and paper lanterns like a guiding beacon...oh and yeah, a THRONG of people lined up in an otherwise empty space (thank god, cuz I don't think I could handle hot blow-dried hair and products with my food).  It's really awkward as you're walkin towards it, and the lady at the front desk tries to wrangle you in to get a cut n' blow....


And the Salon is HUGE, it basically has two wings: the right wing for Nails, the left wing for Hair and Massage down the hall past Great Bao counter....It was just so confounding as to how this arrangement came to be...And why the hell did the Salon decide to kick Great Bao out.....they're the only ones bringing any customers in.  It was a multiplying topic of conversation for us as we ordered through a claustrophobic counter window and then waiting for our food to come out.....

Realizing just how makeshift this operation was, it was a fun experience, there were folding chairs and tables by an aisle where we sat, which was close to the Order counter, so we were stuck in a bottleneck of customers waiting and ordering in this confined space, while the rest of the barn stood completely bar of breathing entities.....  Anyways onto the food!!

Sesame Noodles

It's really about the Bao, a taiwanese snack with a white spongy bread that's usually sandwiched with a multitude of various meats. But we started with an order of Sesame Noodles: cold Lo Mein noodles with Sesame Sauce, Chicken, Cucumbers, Carrots and Scallions.  it was alright, maybe not our favorite; the sauce was very light, almost runny and the toppings didn't seem to be marinated or mixed in with the Lo Mein and Sesame.

But whatever, now onto the piece de resistance!!!  We had the triple order of Bao:  Pork Belly with Pickled Mustard Greens and Peanuts, Roasted Duck with Cucumbers, Scallions and Hoisin Sauce and the Chicken with Onions, Lime and Cilantro. I love their presentation, the Baos are aligned neatly on a wooden paddle board wrapped in wax paper for easy pick up and handling!

Their Pork Belly Bao is so delicious!  Thick, fatty Pork Belly that's braised with a thick Soy glaze, it works phenomenally well with the Bao Bun and the Mustard Greens with Peanuts heightened the flavor profile to create a mouthful of savoriness!  This is their home run dish, I could eat about ten of these in one sitting.  But alas, too much of one thing wouldn't allow us to sample their entire menu, so we regulated ourselves to just one...

The next was the Roasted Duck, another favorite and close second, it's as close to a Peking Duck as you can get: with a crispy skin and juicy Duck meat, you get the feel of the authentic Chinese classic with the Cucumber and Scallion balancing out the fatty protein.  And in my book, Hoisin works on everything!

The last one, the Chicken with Onions, Lime and Cilantro was unfortunately, just ok.  We've had the Chicken Tsukune (Japanese Chicken Ball) before, which was incredible, this one was just the breast of the Chicken which was plain.  The condiments helped, but it was just didn't overwhelm us like the the other two did.  Which is alright, you can't always have all three be spectacular.

Overall, we're glad that we were able to support Great Bao on their last day in their shop, and will always seek out their Foodtruck, they consistently deliver great, amazing Baos and We love the Chef, Sheridan Su and Jenny and with them luck at their next location..without the surly Salon!

Great Bao Asian Cafe on UrbanspoonRatings (Out of Five Stars)
Food:          4
Ambience   2   (I just can't get over that it's in a Hair Salon!)
Service:      3.5