FYI: Restaurant Week begins Monday with over 70 local restaurants participating.
Hunger is not something a restaurant critic faces very often. But it’s a very real concern in our community, even though we live in a city that’s had a 19-year run of unprecedented growth and prosperity. Ten and a half percent – that’s over 210,000 people – live below the poverty line here, and over 39% of our students (that’s over 117,000 kids) qualify for and get reduced priced meals in our public schools.
To help these people get basic human sustenance there’s a giant warehouse in North Las Vegas run by Three Square that will distribute over 10 million pounds of food to the needy this year. That warehouse gets stocked by canned and package food provided by America’s Second Harvest, bulk food providers and local community food drives. It gets its fresh food from rescuing produce, meats and dairy products from the shelves of our giant supermarkets, as well as from those Fresh and Easy stores you see popping up all over. According to the folks at Three Square, it doesn’t get much from our mega-hotels because they’ve gotten very good at controlling any waste in their food preparation. All those scraps you leave behind after four trips to the line at the Mirage Buffet can’t be reused….
“So how can I help, John?” you’re probably asking yourself right now as you squeeze into that 52 short. Well, that’s where Restaurant Week comes in. Beginning September 1st the tastes, sights and sounds of Restaurant Week begin, with a number of fabulous places offering fifty-dollar menus – a portion of which goes directly to Three Square. If you thought the summer specials of these restaurants are good deals (and they are), there’s nothing that competes with two people getting three courses at Fiamma, Diego, Pearl, SeaBlue, Shibuya, NobHill, Emeril’s, craftsteak, and L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon for a hundred bucks. And those are just the joints in the MGM. One of my favorite places in town, Fleur de Lys, will even give you the option of donating more b vnmgkghuto Three Square at the end of your dinner.
I asked the tough question of Julie Murray, Executive Director about how well Restaurant Week had done last year (its first year) to fill her coffers….and she tactfully explained, not nearly as well as they had hoped. It was not, she emphasized, for the lack of effort and donating by the big hotels. But it seems that you folks who profess to wanting good deals in good restaurants off the Strip, can’t slide into that size 16 enough to go out a do something good for your community – while getting a good meal to boot!
Restaurant Week is the best reason I know of to eat out and often, while assuaging that guilty conscience of yours. So go to Three Square’s website www.threesquare.org for a complete list of restaurants.
And while I’m at it, I’ll see all you sake mavens next Wednesday at Shibuya in the MGM where I’ll be hosting a NeoTokyo tasting of premium sakes – with all of the proceeds going to the tastiest charity I know of.