It was our Dad’s favorite restaurant. He used to order the Fruit Ambrosia platter (inexplicably listed under “Drinks” on the menu), and revel in its size, whilst ELV (in his younger, thinner, surlier days) would fume over being forced to eat there. What he got was a bunch of fruit (some ripe, some not-so) and a big scoop or two of cottage cheese. For this they get $7.50 and a lot of ohhs and ahhs over the size of the damn thing.
Another thing A. J. Curtas (The Official, Beloved, and Deceased Father of ELV) loved about this icon of ’70’s excess was the speed of service and the general celebration of quantity over quality that informs much of the menu. As a product of the Depression, even in his salad days, too much food was never enough for A. J….
That speedy service seems to have diminished a bit, but the ’70’s decor is as alive and tacky as ever. The food (from a couple of recent trips) is still a hit with the hoi polloi for its exaltation of mediocrity, but believe it or not, we found a few edible things on the menu. The omelets are huge and well made, the burger surprisingly beefy and tasty, and the chicken noodle soup would do any Jewish mother proud.
Chicken wings were well spiced, but surprisingly short on mini-drumsticks (who gets those….favored customers?), and served with ranch dressing so thin and innocuous as to be almost invisible to one’s enjoyment of the little flappers.
The same can’t be said for the Shrimp Scampi Acapulco — a dish that mixes more metaphors in its title than in the recipe. Those shrimp were reliably huge, only slightly overcooked, and accompanied by a special red “sauce” that our well-meaning waitron said was used to saute them in, but (despite its chili-oil-like, bright-red color) tasted like nothing but bland, melted butter. Truth be told, we ordered the shrimp because they seemed like the dish the kitchen would be least likely to pull off well….and we were right.
The whole shootin’ match came to $68 for two (including a thirteen dollar tip), but that was only because we ordered the shrimp (at $21, almost the most expensive thing on the menu).
And we would’ve ended the meal on a high note by repairing to the Flaming Firepool Lounge (we’ve always called it that even if no one else does), because an au courant cocktail like a Mai Tai or a Blue Hawaii might’ve been just the thing to wash away the memory of those shrimp, but ELV had left his powder blue, bell-bottomed, white-belted, triple-knit, poly-quad leisure suit at home, so we didn’t.
PEPPERMILL COFFEE SHOP AND FIRESIDE LOUNGE
2985 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109