John Curtas is …

POSTRIO Memories….like the corners of my mind

A few days ago, ELV was thinking about his first meal at the original Postrio, eighteen years ago, in San Francisco. He remembered how striking the food was — an amalgam of all that is sacred and holy about the freshness of California produce, sparkling seafood, well chosen meats and inventively presented proteins. He remembers that it was so good he staggered back to his room in the Prescott Hotel after a two and a half hour eating extravaganza that began as only wanting to grab a nibble and make it an early evening.

He also remembered how friendly the waitron was. This being ‘Frisco, he remembered thinking to himself that single male diners probably get extra special attention from single male waitrons — and so he did, but in all the right ways. And by “right ways” he means his server knew the food and wines backwards, and was a chatty sort, but never too much, and always at the right times.

His meal was so good, he went back for lunch and dinner the next day, and has reserved a special soft spot in his heart for Postrio, ever since.

For years, ELV thought our Postrio dare not speak its name in the same breath as their Postrio. It’s not that our Postrio isn’t an excellent eatery, it’s just that it’s hard to compete with the memory of three spectacular meals back to back to back, from the original.

The Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group disassociated itself with the San Francisco restaurant years ago, but that has done nothing to dim our appreciation of one of the restaurants that helped put Puck at the pinnacle of the restaurant world. At its peak, which was right around the time we enjoyed it, this place was every bit as good as Spago ever was, when the flagship was at the top of its game.

Our Postrio is still run by the Wolf Gang, and was named Restaurant of the Year in 2004, back when John LaGrone was at the stoves. These days, the menu and the decor have been dialed back a bit (in fitting with these more casual, recession-ridden times) and Mark Sandoval is top toque, turning out terrific tidbits to totally tantalize the toughest gustatorius.

We popped in last week for a bite, and by “a bite” we mean a lobster club sandwich, a huge slab of meatloaf, a nice, tiny crab cake, a slab of perfect halibut with fresh peas, succotash and wild mushrooms, some sweet corn soup, unctuous broiche bread pudding with apricots and butter pecan ice cream, and a passel of chocolate beignets with caramel macchiato ice cream¬† — ELV’s usual midday repast — and found the whole kit and kaboodle as krafty and krave-worthy as any komestibles we’ve ever konsumed.

Postrio is one of those rare restaurants that does everything well. From pizzas to pastas to sandwiches to that lip-smacking meatloaf, you will have a hard time finding anything you won’t think is one of the best versions of its sort you’ve ever tasted.

As we said in 2004 (ELV loves to quote himself): “We’ve never had a bad meal here…we’ve never even had a bad bite.” Those meals from 1993 may be fading in our aging brain, but the cooking here will give you plenty to get nostalgic about.

POSTRIO BAR & GRILL

In the Venetian Grand Canal Shoppes

3377 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89109

702.796.1110

http://www.wolfgangpuck.com/restaurants/fine-dining/3821

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