All ELV wanted was some tasty bivalves, a hunk of sourdough, a snappy Sauvignon Blanc to wash them down, and a little peace and quiet. What he got was three of the four, and some unwanted “entertainment” courtesy of The District.
Before we get to our rant about being force fed “entertainment” during a meal, a few words about King’s Fish House. Having never been there, and knowing it’s an upscale chain seafood restaurant, there was but one question on ELV’s mind as he sidled into his outdoor seat on this little slice of restaurant row at The District: Will it, or will it not, pass the McCormick and Schmick’s test? In other words, will it be at least as good as M&S in decor, service, and freshness, variety, and interesting recipes? Sort of a tall order for one visit, but we had a hankerin’ for oysters on the east side of town, and there we were….so sit down we did.
What we found was a vaguely New Orleans decor, a prompt and friendly staff (also, surprisingly well informed about their seafood and wines), and shellfish and Pacific swordfish that are the equal (or better) than anything we’ve had at their competition. Chatting up the waitron and manager about the fish and shellfish and appropriate wines was fun; then the food showed up; ELV proceeded to tuck into it with alacrity; and it all turned rancid in about the time it just took you to read this sentence.
And the culprit? Music. To be specific, live music. Unwanted noise assaulting our senses and distracting us from the enjoyment at hand.
It’s been said that music in restaurants ruins both the music and the food. Truer words were never spoken.
ELV has endured the tastes of various restaurateurs over the years — the non-stop 70’s and 80’s rock of CUT features track after track of what our staff likes to call stoner chef music — Allman Brothers, Pink Floyd, Foreigner, Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin et al; Circo spins softer (but no less annoying) tunes of such 70’s relics as Elton John, Hall and Oates, and lots of Billy Joel, while restaurants from Hong Kong to Rome have ruined our meals with the incessant braying of Michael Jackson, Queen, the Bee Gees and Madonna. It all drives Eating Las Vegas nuts, and has done so on four continents for thirty years.
And the worst offender of all? Mario Batali, whose celebrity chef status (he must think) gives him license to gravage his hoary musical tastes upon his guests as they bask in his how cool am I? aura. Batali constantly blares Jimi Hendrix and Van Halen (or was it Guns and Roses?) at you at B&B Ristorante whist you struggle to concentrate on his pastas. As ELV has noted, the only things one should consume while listening to “All Along The Watchtower” are two pizzas and a dozen Krispy Kremes.
At least some modern joints — like Mainland and Hachi — keep their music as contemporary as their food and ambiance; as they mash-up the likes of MIA (who at least works in a lunch truck), Lykke Li, Knife, and the Ting Tings into their mix. But when it comes to all of these, Eating Las Vegas mostly wishes there had been a fire in the disco (and the Taco Bell) a long time ago.
All this does little to explain the ruination of ELV’s otherwise perfect repast at King’s. About the time we were slurping up our second succulent kumamoto (sprinkled with some nice, fresh grated horseradish), some off-key guitarist started wailing about how sweet it was to be loved by someone and how fine he was feelin’ about some summer breeze blowin’ through his jasmines….
Which leads to Eating Las Vegas’s Immutable Law Of Live Musicianship: If a musician is playing in any venue (be it a mall, food court, parking lot, hospital waiting room or bus station) where the unassuming public is being forced to listen to them, it’s as sure as the sunrise they don’t have the chops to be wasting their (or anyone else’s) time with their noise.
And immutable laws or not, restaurateurs (except those wanting to distract their customers from the food; see: Tao, Sushi Samba, Outback et al), should shoo the musicians away, and turn the sound machines OFF….and let us enjoy what we came there for.
Lunch of a half-dozen oysters, Pacific swordfish and two glasses of Nobilo New Zealand sauvignon blanc (@ $9.25 a glass — the first because it complimented the shellfish; the second to drown out the music) came to $67 including tax and tip ($16).
KING’S FISH HOUSE
2255 Village Walk Drive #139
Henderson, NV 89052
p.s. At dinner tonight (11.17.08) at David Burke, ELV suffered through The Verve, Johnny Cash, Bono and Bob Marley, and lots of Rolling Stones tunes that were petrified by the ’80’s. Ay dios mio!