Bargains Galore! on News 88.9 FM KNPR – Nevada Public Radio

Click here to listen to ELV recite some of his recent, favorite Bangs For The Buck on Nevada Public Radio in the lush, lascivious, languid, leering and laconic tones for which he is known.

Or read the script, if you will, after the jump.


It may be a depressing time for our economy, your pocketbook, and eating out in general, but thars gold in them thar hills if you know where to look for it.

By that I mean, bargains abound on our dining out scene, and just seem to be getting better and better. Maybe that means restaurants are desperate and getting more desperate, but either way, it’s a boon for the diner.

For example, Joel Robuchon in the MGM – yes the Michelin 3-star Joel Robuchon – is now featuring an eighty-nine dollar three course menu prepared by James Beard nominee Claude Le Tohic. I sauntered in the other night without a reservation just to see what ninety bucks gets you from two of the greatest chefs on the planet.

Before you even get to the menu, they wheel around the bread cart – containing about twenty selections of the best bread you will ever taste – and not being one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I proceeded to stuff mine with at least half the selections. From there it was on to caviar with crab and fennel cream, braised veal cheeks, and a stunning raspberry concoction that put an exclamation point on the whole proceeding. Was it worth it? Well at Robuchon you get hand-made, finely-wrought, hyper-delicious food, that

I’d say it was more than worth it when you consider that a good steak in this town now costs fifty bucks – for a slab of meat thrown on a grill.

Just as compelling, is the nineteen-dollar lunch now available at Payard Bistro at Caesars. Chef Gregory Gorreau dazzles with a couscous or heirloom tomato salad, a perfect square of snow-white halibut, or a marinated skirt steak, topped off by fresh strawberries and a chocolate tuile in a martini glass. When you consider what fifteen bucks buys you at Marie Callendar’s, what Gorreau is doing is downright amazing – and there’s not a microwave in sight.

By now you’re probably thinking to yourself: “There he goes again, praisin’ all that fancifed French cookin”…. So for you I’ll highlight where I’m eating almost all my everyday meals these days…..

And that would be Chinatown and the Spring Mountain Road area. I’ve said it for fifteen years now, and I’ll say it till I’m blue in the face: If you want seriously tasty food at seriously cheap prices, head over to China MaMa (on Jones just off Spring Mountain), where ten bucks gets you enough heavenly soup dumplings for a perfect lunch for two.

Or drive two miles east, and take the time to find Yun Nan Garden – where their stir-fried lamb with cumin – for like nine bucks – will make you weep (with joy and from all the chiles)…..

Or finally, if a late night repast is in your path, try Ichiza on the second floor of one of those Asian malls that line the street, where a feast of small plate, Japanese/fusion tapas will run you less than twenty bucks a head and leave plenty of yen for those of you with a yen for sake.

This is John Curtas