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First Impressions: Slidin' Thru HQ

Las Vegas’ Food Truck cherry was popped about a year ago by the Slidin’ Thru Slider Truck.  I’ve always thought Slidin’ Thru has made “decent food for a truck.”  Nothing that will blow you away, but a decent change for the office-park-worker lunch crowd that get a visit from them once a week.  Since the advent of Slidin’ Thru, trucks like Fukuburger and newcomer Sloppi Jo’s have greatly raised the bar for food cooked on four wheels.  Although they still have a rabid fan base, it seems like Slidin’ Thru is stuck in traffic as their competitors are rolling strong in the express lane.  Only a year old, the first truck to hit the Vegas streets is now the first to add a brick and mortar joint with the addition of the Slidin’ Thru HQ.  Upon news of this new addition, I hoped Slidin’ Thru was going to get to spread their wings and up the execution.  So I hoped.

Slidin' Thru: HQ

Slidin' Thru: HQ

In more ways than one, the HQ doesn’t fall far from the truck.  A prime example is its odd location in the middle of an office park.  You have to be focused to find it.  From Paradise and Sunset, go south on Paradise, through the intersection at Grier and the HQ is found in an as-of-now unmarked space next to the Paradise Poker Club.  Drive-by business ain’t going to be one of HQ’s primary demographics after 5pm.   Location, however, is the least of the HQ’s problems right now.  Quite frankly, it shouldn’t have been open on the day The Wife and I checked it out.  Here’s why…

When first walking in, I noticed something I’ve rarely seen.  A big green “B” rating from the Health Department.  On the counter, there was a handwritten sign that said something to the effect that the reason why they have a B from the Health Department is because they didn’t have the proper permits to operate a dine-in restaurant.  This isn’t rocket science.  If you don’t have the permits, you shouldn’t be open.  Not only was the HQ open, but they were actively fishing for business via the primary source of their marketing strategy; Twitter.

Due to the permit problem, there was no seating with tables in the place.  At this point, The Wife and I should have turned around and walked out.  Admittedly, it’s our fault for staying.  However, if the food was worth it, this mishap would be nothing more than a cute anecdote, rather than a foreboding warning sign to run, scurry, flee.  At the time, I didn’t mind an indoor picnic of sorts.  Oops. My bad.

#hipsterorgy

#hipsterorgy

The HQ menu isn’t much of a stretch from the truck’s menu.  The only real addition appears to be an expanded fry menu with french fry versions of their sliders.  For instance, the Barby Slider has cheddar, jalapeño, fried onion sticks and barbecue sauce.  Transfer those toppings to a basket of fries, and voila, you get Barby Fries ($5).  The various sliders offered come in at $3 for 1, $5 for 2 and $7 for 3, just like the truck.  As of yet, there only appears to be soft drinks available, no beer or wine license.

The Wife and I placed our order of 3 sliders each, a basket of Barby Fries and two bottles of water.  We then sat at a tableless booth and awaited our food.  This is when the real irritation started to work its way in.  To say the Slidin’ Thru HQ has a…..youthful vibe…..is an understatement.  Street graffiti type murals completely cover the walls.  It’s kind of neat looking, in a sort of childhood fantasy orgasm on a wall sort of way.  The irritation came from the thunderous techno beats coming from the DJ tower competing with the prepubescent screams at the arcade machines on the other side of the room.  I felt like I was 12-years old at the Rollaway roller skating rink and Paul Lekakis was about to Boom Boom all our hormones into a raging frenzy.  At least our music back in the day didn’t suck nearly as hard as this techno bullshit embraced by hipsters these days.  I was thankful the HQ didn’t appear to have much in the utensil department, because I probably would have stabbed myself.  The Wife and I don’t have children for a reason.  They make noise.  A lot of noise.

Barby Fries from Slidin' Thru: HQ

Barby Fries from Slidin' Thru: HQ

Eventually my name was called and our order sat at the counter; sliders in unmarked styrofoam containers and fries in an aluminum pan glued to a plastic basket.  By the time it took me to take the pile of food back to our booth with no table, the cheese on the Barby Fries was already hardened to a flavorless plastic-like layer.  The fries themselves weren’t cooked at the right temperature, and were woefully limp and stomach-turningly grease soaked.  It wasn’t a good start.

Three Sad Sliders In A Box

Three Sad Sliders In A Box

The beef sliders were all over-cooked and dried out.  The various toppings on the six different sliders we chose were mostly cheap, out of season and out of balance.  Not enough feta and too much Balsamic on The Captain’s Order slider made it not fit for a Private.  Sickly tomatoes used all around made me wonder why they even bothered.  The Pulled Porky slider, which just so happens to consist of pulled pork, was drier than Martha Stewart’s crotch.  I’ve had it better from the truck.  However, the biggest disappointment of the evening was the “Mystery Slider,” which they called a Guacamole Slider.

The Guacamole Slider turned out to be a passable guacamole destroyed by a leathery, nearly impossible-to-chew, sinew-ridden roast beef and either a terrible plasticky provolone, or terrible plasticky low-moisture mozzarella.  You even get the honor of paying “an extra couple bucks” to eat the hideous Mystery Guacamole slider.  The only mystery to me is how they could possibly allow such horrendous food out of the kitchen.  Yes, Slidin’ Thru crew, you can and should occasionally taste a sample of the food you’re putting out.  If you displace your jaw while trying to consume it, then maybe it needs a wee bit of tweaking before you accept hard-earned money for such vittles.

Like I said before, they weren’t ready to open.  In fact, the next day, they closed operations for a few days, citing the aforementioned permit problems along with staffing issues.  Their Twitter account says they’ll be open again at noon on 03/01/11.  Granted, they’ve only had the HQ side of things “officially” open for a little over a week (about 3 weeks since Friends & Family play dates began), and this is all based off one visit, but so many of these issues could have been prevented with a mature business plan and attentive management.  There was a whole bunch of people just standing around, enjoying the hang and not taking care of biz.  It seemed there was more attention given to the mind-numbing noise coming from the DJ booth rather than the customers’ dining experience.  While the whole young, don’t-give-a-shit, perma-stoned, hipster gimmick might be cute for a minute, at the end of the day, you have to put good food on the plate.  Or at least in the styrofoam box.  Unfortunately, the Slidin’ Thru HQ doesn’t deliver.

—–

Slidin’ Thru HQ

955 Grier Dr.
Las Vegas, NV 89119

http://SlidinThru.com

Follow Slidin’ Thru Slider Truck & HQ on Twitter at @SliderTruck

—–
Mike Dobranski is a professional musician, amateur blogger, eater of good food, poker junkie, master of the inappropriate comment and bad husband to a wonderful wife.

Follow Mike and Tasting Las Vegas on Twitter at @TastingLasVegas

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6 comments to First Impressions: Slidin’ Thru HQ

  • That’s so disappointing! I was looking forward to checking them out! Guess I’ll wait a few weeks before hitting it up.

  • Kelly

    LOVE the nostalgic ROLLAWAY mention!!!!! Why oh why do they serve the sliders in styrofoam? Styrofoam is just gross!! I could handle the lack of seating (maybe it’s part of their youthful vibe instead of shitty planning) and I could handle their thumping beats….but I am a firm believer that the only food acceptable in a stryofoam container is Roberto’s carne asada fries at 4 AM after a night of drunken debauchery. And even then it’s debatable.

  • I’ve been trying to love Nacho Daddy but their inability to meet my desire to have molten hot cheese arrive at my table is getting in the way of that love.

    I actually ate at the Paradise Poker Club side a month or so ago and they were serving the regular ST menu. I didn’t think it was any better or worse than off the truck and I’ve never thought too highly or too poorly of the truck. I actually kind of liked it because my coworker and I were able to chill at a bar table in the corner, drink a few beers on the clock, and watch womens high school track on the tv.

    Wait, ignore that last part.

  • How do you know Martha Stuart’s crotch is dry? It’s always the one who wear sweater vests that you have to worry about.

    Aside from that, I have to say that I haven’t been to HQ yet. I have tried everything from the truck and found it to be over-rated. The porky slider was mostly inedible pieces of fat. The beef sliders are almost always crunchy little meat nuggets. The fryer is always broken. The truck is always late and the food takes FOREVER. With such a limited menu, it shouldn’t be that hard to get your shit together and produce good food consistently.

  • The pictures make this look so undesirable that I’m actually curious to try for the first time. Someday.

  • Angela – Yeah, I’d give them a few weeks to sort things out. If you like the truck, then you’ll probably like the HQ.

    Kelly – Ha! I’m 99.99% sure you’ll be the only person that reads this that gets the Rollaway reference! How did we get so old?!? As far as the styrofoam containers go, it could be because of the permit issue and they had to act as a takeout only restaurant. One of my favorites, the Naked City Pizza Shop, has to use to-go containers because they’re strictly a takeout business due to the smoking laws. Although, that doesn’t explain the plastic basket for the fries at HQ. I don’t know.

    Jerry – I still haven’t made it to Nacho Daddy yet….mostly because I’ve heard nothing but horror stories thus far. And what you watch in the privacy of your own home while drinking alcohol is strictly your business. Ha!

    Waiting – See…that’s what I get for assuming Ms. Stewart’s moisture level. And I agree with you 100% about the truck. At first I was impressed when they were the only game in town, but since the other trucks have moved in, seeing their level of execution and sophistication….I ain’t so impressed anymore.

    Marc – Yeah, that’s actually one of the better pictures I’ve taken. Too bad the subject wasn’t ready for their close up!

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