John Curtas is …

TOP OF THE WORLD Ma!

Unlike Cody Jarrett:

we at ELV prefer our “top of the world” pleasures to be more pedestrian (and a whole lot less violent). That’s why we braved the annoying trek through the Stratosphere to see what grub was being whipped up 106 floors above the Las Vegas Strip.

Normally, you couldn’t get ELV here with a ransom note and a promise of free DRC, but when we heard Rick Giffen (formerly of the Wasabi Cafe) and Claude Gaty (formerly of Mon Ami Gabi), had revamped the menu, we were on an elevator faster than you can say: “Stupak’s Folly.”

And what we found was a restaurant full of folks who look nothing like the lowbrow gamblers that populate this casino. They come for some pretty solid fare that doesn’t break any new ground, but that allows you to eat well whilst taking in one of the most spectacular man-made sights on earth.

In other words: the food here is a whole lot better than it has to be. We remarked to Giffen that they probably could serve sh*t on a shingle (probably like Cody ate when he was in the hoosegow) up here and get away with it. If you’ve never been, that’s how spectacular the Vegas sights are from 850 feet above the ground.

We advise going a hour before sunset, having a cocktail at the 107th floor lounge while the lights begin to come on all over the Vegas Valley. It takes an hour for the place to complete a rotation, and in that time you can make your way downstairs to the dining room and tuck yourself into a table and a decent steak (crusted with horseradish cream), Muscovy duck breast (with an orange/lime/hoisin sauce), or a filet of black cod (glazed with orange miso), that might be as perfect a rendition of this fish as we’ve had anywhere.

The kitchen here is clearly trying to bring the food into the late 20th Century, and deserves kudos for pulling off passable renditions of Asian-accented French food that is plenty adventuresome enough for its clientele.

As good as the food is, it was Dean Wachsletter’s wine list that really got our motor running. Opus One for $272? Nothing by the glass over sixteen bucks? A whole host of bottles (80% of his list) under a Benjamin?

“Jesus Christ,” we thought to ourselves. ‘We must be in heaven.”

“No,” whispered this guy in our ear. “Just closer than you are on the Las Vegas Strip, and a lot closer to it than where ole Cody’s residing these days.”

TOP OF THE WORLD

In (way above) the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino

2000 Las Vegas Boulevard South

Las Vegas, NV 89104

702.380.7777

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4 Responses to TOP OF THE WORLD Ma!

  • Unfortunately, the new chefs took Prime Rib off the lunch menu, which is what I would bring visitors/newcomers up there for. If they were going to foo-foo the lunch, I’d rather they have took burgers off the menu (still there.)

  • I will personally give you one of my gold stars if you check out shaboo, take pictures, and report back.

    And I don’t casually throw around my gold stars.

  • John, you are the only food critic I know (besides maybe Bourdain – pretty lofty company) who can use the phrase “lowbrow” effectively.

    Bravo!

  • Watching on Iron Chef. You’re exactly what I expected.

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