Border Grill is the project of celebrity chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger. The restaurant has locations in California and Las Vegas, and features fun, fresh, modern takes on Mexican fare. The chefs also focus on vegetarian diners, including their excellent meatless Monday special - three courses for $29. It makes it easier to justify buying a couple of the margaritas to wash down dinner.
The chefs are well known from the Food Network show Two Hot Tamales as well as their appearances on Bravo's Top Chef: Masters. Their personality comes across in the food and the fun atmosphere.
Three salsas come out with the chips. The green tomatillo salsa has an explosive flavor. The chipotle salsa had a great smoky base. The tomato salsa tasted fresh, bright and clean. The guacamole (which is not free) displays its essence of jalepeño, bright lime and fresh cilantro.
The green corn tamale just melted in my mouth. It was sweet and rich with a hint of spice. The spinach and mushroom empanada had an earthy base within its soft pastry exterior. Both were outstanding.
The mushroom mulitas is a giant portobello cap grilled and stuffed with pickled red onion, roasted peppers, guacamole and cream. It is served on a pile of black beans. It is a vegetarian dish where the savory mushroom flavors and textures almost mimic those of meat.
The chocolate cake dessert was uninspiring. Maybe I was spoiled by a week of great desserts, but it seemed forgettable.