Okay, you Carnivorous Creatures, this time we chomp down some piggie bits when I hit some of the ham steak breakfast specials around Vegastown. I'm listing these places in the order I visited them. No I didn't eat at them all in the same day.

Sam's Town Smokey Joe's 24hr Restaurant
Giant Ham Steak and Eggs (served 11pm-7am M-F)
$2.99 = $3.21 w/tax
Includes: ham steak, 2 eggs, homefries, toast, coffee, orange slice, some kinda purple dyed leaf garnish

Nice large piece of ham, eggs fine, toast and homefries also fine, orange was a little on the old side, but I wouldn't consider it a big deal as most probably don't adhere to the "take no prisoners" school of consuming borderline garnish items. Stay away from that somekinda purple leaf garnish though, it was kinda bitter and stringy. Fast, courteous coffee service and refills.

The only downer was a "largish" fellow, let's call him "Bluto" who was busting out of his sweat shirt one table over while plowing/munching/smacking/grunting through a massive spread, main platter, salad, biscuits...significant amounts of food left on all plates, I was not impressed. Wasting food is not cool.

Arizona Charlie's Sourdough Cafe
24hr Ham special (only served...duh!)
$2.49 plus $.70 coffee = $3.42
Includes: ham steak, 2 eggs, hash browns, toast, parsley

Well I guess the folks at Arizona Charlie's are David Letterman fans because their Ham comes from the can. Still it was a decent piece of ham, cut very thick so it doesn't take up as much plate space. Eggs and hash browns were fine. Friendly service with quick and attentive coffee refills. The parsley was fresh and piquant.

Alas, I'm going to have to penalize them for not having the center bone ham as advertised. You realize the hot fashion statement next season will be jewelry made from the ham center bones that the wearer has liberated. I, for one, shall be sporting my ham bone necklace and barking my brains out when we visit the Cook E. Jar at the next Soiree. Primal, very primal, and very chic.

Binions Coffee Shop
The Natural (served 11pm-11am)
$3.50 including coffee = $3.75
Includes: ham steak (or sausage patty or bacon), 2 eggs, hash browns, toast, coffee

Now this is the sacred cow of pigplates. I'm a Vegas newbie, butt roast me if the Binions Natural did not create the genre of pork'o'plenty. Nice piece of ham, crisped up after being sliced, collectable center bone. Exquisite potatoes, sliced not shoe stringed and crispy golden brown.

Nicely done eggs and toast, alas the downer was the previous table occupant must have taken my jelly rack home. A coffee carafe is left on your table.

Sky Line Casino
S. Boulder Hwy, Henderson
One pound Ham Steak special (Served 11pm-11am)
$2.45 plus $.70 coffee = $3.38
Includes: ham steak, 2 eggs, hash browns toast OR biscuits & gravy!

Advertised as a 1 pound ham steak breakfast, they aren't fooling around when they haul out all this grub. The pig is on a plate of it's own, then the eggs and potatoes on another plate and the toast and jelly on yet another. Yessirree, this is quite the speculum!

Alas, my first bite of ham was a let down. It was kinda bland and very light in color. Now I don't know how much they "pink up" ham with colorants but this piece 'o' pork was very very pale, almost white. Also very mild in flavor, kind of like it was soaked in water? At least the de riguer center bone was there, solid marrow for you connoisseurs. The eggs (over easy) were kinda "flat" tasting...I am going to guess this means they were old.

Honestly, I was quite disappointed. This was the 2nd time I had ordered the ham steak and my recollection of the first time was MUCH better. I hope this night was a fluke as all my other dining experiences here have been quite positive with good food and friendly, efficient staff.

And the doggie bag please...the winner is:

Sam's Town by a snout
I thought the ham was the best and everything else was nicely done. Being cheaper than Binions by more than 4 bits can't help but weigh heavily on this CheapoVegas reviewer! Total damage $3.21 (lucky number that!) plus da buck tip.

Binions, close second
The ham was also good but I didn't care for the light frying after the slicing. (You, deer reader, may feel differently.) The exquisite potatoes negated by my missing jelly rack. Harumph! Inexcusable, when shelling out the big bucks! Total damage, a coin purse searing $3.75 plus a buck tip.

Arizona Charlie's, close third
Sigh...the Lettermanish ham cost them slightly but what really cost them was the absence of the centerbone. $3.42 plus a buck tip.

Skyline, distant 4th.
Sigh! I am really hoping they just had an off night, bland ham, old tasting eggs, $3.38 plus a buck tip. Still, seeing this was my only negative experience there, I will definitely be back!

John Knee is the 1999 CheapoVegas Shrimp Cocktail Champion and a glutton for most any sort of food we can put in front of him. You can e-mail him with your food challenges at johnknee@cheapovegas.com.

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