Restaurant Awards 2009

Here is the on-line link to Desert Companion magazine:;

Where you can read all about our fifth annual restaurant awards for News 88.9 FM KNPR-Nevada Public Radio.

Or you can pick up a copy by going to any of the locations listed here:;

Orrrr you can get your very own copy in the mail by becoming a member of KNPR-Nevada Public Radio — which you can do very easily by clicking here.

For those wanting to cut to the chase, here are this year’s worthy recipients:

Cocktail Bar of the Year: Downtown Cocktail Room

Excellence in Management and Service: The Batali Group (Carnevino, B & B Ristorante, Enoteca San Marco)

Ethnic Restaurant of the Year: China MaMa

Sommelier of the Year: Frederic Montandon (Le Cirque)

Pastry Chef of the Year: Kenny Magana (Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group)

Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year (East Side): Todd’s Unique Dining

Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year (West Side): Marche Bacchus

Chef of the Year: Alessandro Stratta (ALEX and Stratta)

Restaurant of the Year: Restaurant Charlie

15 thoughts on “Restaurant Awards 2009

  1. Can’t argue with you on these winners, all are very deserving. However, the best part of the magazine was the drawing of you and Max on the subsequent page. Cheers!

  2. Congrats to all the deserving winners and even to those who weren’t. It’s a great issue and one worth venturing to your local Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to find.

  3. Congrats to all the winners! I’m glad to see Chef Stratta justly honored for both his great restaurants at Wynn, and this just gives me more reason to check out Todd’s Unique Dining before year’s end. I really don’t have an excuse, since I’m literally just up the road from it!

    Oh, and I guess your awards reveal the shortcomings of democracy. It seems whenever hoi polloi are allowed to vote on “Best of” awards, we always end up with stupid sh*t like Cheesecake Factory winning “Best Desserts” and Chipotle winning “Best Burrito”. And no, I haven’t yet seen anything more promising in The R-J’s poll. ;-)

  4. Love the pic of Curtas and Jacobson… especially the detail of Max eating off John’s plate… Classic

  5. I saw a rumor Chowhound that Daniel Boulud might be taking over the space where Restaurant Charlie is now. Can anyone confirm or deny this ?

  6. george-

    I can’t confirm or deny it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out to be true. It’s been reported that Daniel Boulud and Steve Wynn are NOT parting on friendly terms, and Sheldon Adelson has already taken advantage of this by signing DB up for a restaurant at Sands Singapore. DB has already suggested he’s open to opening a new Vegas restaurant after the Wynn location changes hands, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Adelson flaunts something like this in Wynn’s face.

  7. Much more likely he’ll take the David Burke or Pinot Brasserie space. But the rumor mill is on the right track with a Venetian venue in DB’s future.

  8. and still nothing in the future for the current DB space, lots of tastings for the big wigs but no decisions as of yet!! my hypothesis is elizabeth blau is tanking all the candidates so she can slide in her HASHER husband at the last minute (just like she did for society!!!)

  9. Mr. ELV-

    Yeah, that sounds more likely since it seems Adelson doesn’t want to give up on Charlie Trotter. Has the business at David Burke and/or Pinot been especially slow lately? Whatever the case, I just hope DB doesn’t stay away from Vegas for too long.


    If that’s the case, then good on Elizabeth Blau! Society Cafe is one of the best things happening at Encore right now. If Kim Canteenwalla can fill the soon-to-be former DB Brasserie with creative fare that doesn’t reek of yet another boring steakhouse, then more power to them! :-D

  10. Kim was brought into Society the month before the launch of Encore, the original tenant(partner?) backed out and Elizabeth saved the day at the last minute. Word on the street is that Kim is taking over in the space that is currently SWITCH soon. I don’t know if my source is 100% in the know, but I can tell you that the source is a staff member.

    DB rumor is correct I was told this by some NYC restaurateurs earlier in the year. I dont know if the deal is final, but there was talk. DB and Wynn haven’t gotten along since day one I am told, Daniel didn’t like being under a management contract. At Venetian he would own his own space (probably with building subsidies I would assume) rather than be stuck under Wynn’s thumb, its only logical that DB would fly the coup as soon as possible. Although I have no insight I would agree with John that the most logical location is Burke’s space, I would assume Adelson wants to build upon his Restaurant Row, but that is just a guess.

    Great selections in the ’09 RA’s. I haven’t experienced Restaurant Charlie yet but my friends in the know tell me its one of the best in Vegas, well deserved Mr. Palmer! I know nothing about Kenny Magana, any discussion of his work in prior blog postings here? I like the selection of Alex Strata as chef of the year for Alex, they should have not included Strata as part of the decision factor though – in fact I think it weakens the argument for him but he is worthy none the less because Alex is a work of genius.

  11. WOW, you had no credibility to start ‘inthecards’ with your comments of blau, (i was there and know what happened, she tanked every candidate to get her hubby in and the kid who had the best tasting, jeremy pacheco, became the chef de cuisine), and you completly lost it when you said congrats ‘mr palmer’. rest charlie, is charlie trotters spot, ya know the culinary savant from chicago, not palmer of aureole fame.

    daniel in fact has not resigned at wynn, no concept has been assigned as of yet, although paul b has done a few tastings for the brass, ELV can you please school this cat, as noone listens to me on here anyway (althouh they should)

  12. need/has a clue–

    You obviously have some inside track on info in the Strip restaurant world. I just wish you weren’t so widely negative and even, sometimes, flat out rude. I also wish you could spell or type, preferably both. Please learn to use your powers for good rather than evil. I’d be happy to help.

  13. I follow ELV’s lead on being mean/negative and rude!!! (as he was called out by ruhlman in a recent blog comment, and begged forgiveness)
    as far as spelling/grammar, who cares is a blog not my collegiate dissertation!

    and yes i do have the inside track on quite a bit, i spent 9 years of my career in the big buildings on the strip and i have alot of freinds and associates still there that keep me abreast

  14. we need each other!!!!!! one isnt complete without the other, every antagonist needs a protagonist….

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