"Find a penny, pick it up. All day long, you'll have good luck." -Proverb
Coffee shop cuisine has long been a staple of Las Vegas casino fare. Easy, convenient, casual dining; simple, and usually exactly what you’d expect. (And that’s fine.) But, upon finding my expectations completely surpassed by a recent meal at Lucky Penny Café, I realized that Palms had upped the ante, and it’s paid-off for them, in spades.*
The first thing that struck me was that my eyes didn’t need to adjust. Bright enough to read the menu without necessitating use of my phone’s Flashlight app; but not so bright as to require squinting: Like the dimmer-switch had been turned to ten o’clock, if you will. As a general rule, mid-century modern décor lends an air of stylish comfort, with clean lines; and, when done with soft, dusty blues, against whitewashed walls, with bronze detailing, it’s really easy on the eyes. A favorite touch: between each pair of seats at the creamy marble counter is a lamp with a charging station in its base. Smart.
And all of this is well and good (if not great); but if the food was just the same-old, same-old, I’d just be wasting your time. And with regards to the food they’re preparing at Lucky Penny, there ain’t nothing same, nor old, about it.
I started with some Gyoza (because it caught my eye, and sounded like the perfect thing for nibbling on, while making my lunch selections), and a glass of Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice (if only to take a sip and declare “It’s like drinking sunshine from a glass!” – which I did). Call it a good omen, but my hunch about the Gyoza was right; and I enjoyed them as I perused the menu. Big and juicy, I ate ‘em with my fingers, and made a teensy bit of a mess. (Don’t judge me.)
My foray into Lucky Penny Café’s bounty proceeded with the Chicken Wings “Elote” (crisp fried chicken wings, bleu cheese sauce and crumbles, shaved celery and carrots), which is served in the style of the Mexican street staple, right down to the stick. Again, any coffee shop can (and most often does) serve chicken wings. Making them different is admirable; but making them taste good? Right on!
The next eye-opener was the Pizza Salad (boursin, prosciutto, arugula, pear, romaine). I’m not sure what I was expecting, but this is one delicious friggin’ salad! Sure, it’s served on top of a pizza (a ham and cheese pizza, to boot); but the word “salad” is right there in the name (and it’s in the ‘Salad’ section of the menu), so in my mind, I’ve already congratulatorily filed this under “Heathy Choices” (which, relative to most of what I eat, it really was).
I’d been tipped-off, in advance, about the Waffle-Grilled Cheese (cheddar, Swiss, parmesan, Monterey Jack, tomato soup). Fully living up to their hype (a friend's text that read simply “Get the Waffle-Grilled Cheese”), this consists of little square paninis of ooey-gooey, cheesey goodness, inside “waffles” of toast slathered in garlic-butter (as so many truly good things tend to b)e. Bonus: the piquancy of the tomato soup dealt enough of a zip to make an impression, without detracting from the dish’s inherent comfiness. Check out the video clip, below; to watch the making of Lucky Penny’s yummy take on this American classic.
And then came the Dirty Burger (cheddar, grilled onions, pork belly, charred tomato jam, mustard sauce, poppy-seed Kaiser roll), and it’s exactly what it purports to be – such that, after making a godawful mess, I decided that perhaps my utensils weren’t there simply for decorative purposes. But I’ve gotta say, that whatever didn’t end up dripping down my chin was succulent and savory and fantastic.
Perhaps my first glimpse into the savviness going on in the kitchen, was when I noticed “orange zest” in the description of the Classic French Toast (cinnamon, orange zest, vanilla). I was there for lunch, but I wasn’t about to let the hour of the day slow my roll (or my challah, as the case may be... #Homophones). As such, I’m pleased to report that – light, and not too eggy – the French Toast made for a sweet conclusion to a meal that ably demonstrated just how much Lucky Penny Café has reinterpreted the Las Vegas casino coffee shop model, for today’s customer.
Best of all, while construction continues at Palms, Lucky Penny Café provides a stylish, well-appointed, 24-hour hang; that not only has a full bar serving all sorts of crafted cocktails, but is perfect for a meeting or to soak-up the booze after a night of revelry. And if that doesn’t garner Palms (and Station Casinos) a great, big “Mazel tov!” I don’t know what does.
Lucky Penny Café
PALMS Casino Resort
Click HERE for info
Get into it!