ELV Goes Mainstream, in Alternative Weekly!

Yes, it’s true food fans, ELV has sold out, capitulated, given in, rolled over, lifted his skirt and is now working for “The Man,” as restaurant critic for the Las Vegas Weekly. (“The Man” in this case is uber-editor Scott Dickensheets — a guy it’s hard to say no to.)

Those of you with a sense of history might remember that we were the first restaurant critic for the Weekly (from 1997-2000), and before that, wrote reviews for SCOPE magazine, its predecessor-in-interest (as we say in the law).

Here is the link to today’s first reviews (Union Restaurant and Jean Georges Steakhouse in Aria), and you can expect about two of our reviews a month in this publication from now on.

Don’t worry, you’ll get the same insightful, incisive and snarky criticism for which we are known — but things will be better written (actual grammatical rules will be followed), and certain sophomoric humor may be minimized.

After all, that’s what this website is for.


A comment about “stars” being awarded along with the reviews: The editors want them and the readers like them, so we’re going to award them. The Weekly uses a five-star system (we wish it was a four-star system along the lines of the NYTimes), but we’ll do our best to remain true to a certain standard of judging and award them accordingly. In fair warning to all restaurants (and unless or until we’re asked to recalibrate it by management of the ‘zine), our star system will be as follows:

5 stars: Exceptional, outstanding, close to perfect, worth a special trip, mortgage the house, sell the kids if you have to (i.e. a Michelin 3-star experience/New York Times 4-star experience).

4 stars: Excellent, one of the best in town.

3 stars: Very good, solid, precise cooking and a generally top-shelf experience for its type of restaurant.

2 stars: Good, enjoyable food for the type of cuisine offered (most interesting, small or ethnic restaurants will fall into this category).

1 star: Acceptable if you know what to order.

No stars: Run away!

8 thoughts on “ELV Goes Mainstream, in Alternative Weekly!

  1. its funny you say in your JG review that none of the steaks are dry-aged!!!??? i dined there 2 weeks ago, when i toured the kitchen and spoke with chef robert, he said that he does use dry-aged steaks and sources his meat from outwest meat packers here locally. (who provides Primes meat as well) quite the conundrum. i had a bone-in ribeye, and it was good but not great by any means, it did lack that intense beef flavor of dry-aged.
    i thought the place was overall a B+, service was attentive but a little bit off, food was just ok, nothing great. the table top was interesting, no table cloth, and all that cast iron will end up destroying all those table tops, unless they move to some sort of liner.
    the roasted bone marrow was great, wish more places in town served it!!!! but i didnt care for the garnish to the marrow, some sort of lemon gremolata gelee??? and poorly toasted ‘wonder’ esque style bread.

  2. First, Jay Leno takes back Conan O’Brien’s gig. Now this.
    Poor Max Jakobson!

    I agree though thoroughly, though. If you’re not dry-aging, it just isn’t Prime time.

  3. You said it, Chris! Max Jacobson gets canned and who replaces him? A LAWYER!!!

    BTW Conan & NBC might be playing a little kiss-and-make up with Conan’s own series. In both cases, time will tell. I think ELV will do just fine.

    Sorry, I didn’t try any of the steakhouses at Aria. I was having so much fun eating at Sage and BarMasa.

  4. @atdleft – Agreed. This blog and “The Strip” podcast are my favorites. Good luck ELV.

  5. i appreciate the explanation for your interpretation of the weekly’s 5-star ratings and i have spent many hours constructing a very serious and detailed system of my own. i think it’s important to note the different perspectives and methods of different critics, so here it is, my system:

    1 shitty
    2 meh
    3 good enough to go back
    4 great
    5 best

    now all restaurants and readers will know what they are in for when they peruse the pages of the weekly, home to “the city’s best food critics.” (it’s printed on the cover so it must be true.)

  6. Hi John,
    You might want to watch out with that “certain sophomoric humor” http://passedoutphotos.com/ site. It tried to download a trojan to my computer via a faked PDF file. (Though, I did get into it as far as page five before the download attempt happened. I also have a sophomoric sense of humor.) Just an FYI.

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