BLUE RIBBON – Word to the Wise: Skip the Fish

No one can take advantage of you unless you first give them permission. – Marcella Ruth Schroader Curtas*

Does this look like a $350 meal to you?

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We didn’t think so either.

Before we get to it though, and the circumstances surrounding our fourth meal at Blue Ribbon, allow us a slight digression and illumination on the subject of being taken advantage of.

To begin with, ELV is no stranger to the phenomenon. From friends to acquaintances, colleagues to sex partners,  strippers to servicemen, we’ve led our life with the full understanding that many times we’ve overpaid for something, or been used in a way that had someone thinking: “What a sap,” the minute they walked away from us. In ELV’s world, avoiding a verbal tug-of-war is the better choice, and just seems like an easier way to get through the day. Of course, we can always just say no**…which we rarely have.

(It is somewhat remarkable that, as a litigator-at-law, we’ve spent 30 years arguing and negotiating as a profession, but in our personal life, mostly we can’t be bothered.)

ELV would no more go toe to toe (or is it nose to nose?) with an Arab rug trader than he would try to weasel an extra box of cookies from a Girl Scout, and when it comes to dining out, we never put ourselves in a situation where we’re not ready to pay the full tariff. When it comes time to pay that bill, we are notorious for taking l’addition for granted and paying for things we didn’t even order.

All of this is by way of saying we don’t make a big deal out of what things cost. Never have, never will.

Which means we really can get hosed when we ask a restaurant/chef/waiter to order for us. Which is what happened two nights ago at Blue Ribbon.

Here are the facts:

ELV and his staff had an early dinner at Social House, then drinks at SAGE.

One loyal staffperson said she was still hungry.

“Let’s go to Blue Ribbon!” he exclaimed. “Have you had their fried chicken? It’s fabulous!”

So through the Crystals Mall and over the bridge into The Cosmo we strolled on a beautiful night.

First though, we stopped into Milos for some typical Greek dancing with Costas Spiliadis.

“Stay for some dessert,” he implored us.

“No, we insisted. Efxaristo for the offer, but we’re heading to Blue Ribbon” we said.

Big mistake.

Upon being seated, we asked for chef/owner Eric Bromberg, who dutifully came to the table and was most cordial.

“We’re here for the fried chicken,” ELV proudly puffed. “I want them to see how great it is. And the oxtail fried rice, and maybe the hangar steak. What about a roll or two? We’ll let you decide…the chicken, the rice, a steak, and maybe a little sushi or a roll…”

Big mistake #2.

Digression #2: When you tell an upscale restaurant to order for you, it’s like handing them your wallet and saying: “Take what you want.” Even the most upscale, trustworthy places take it as a sign you don’t care what anything is going to cost. Friends of ELV’s made this mistake in a Wynn restaurant once by asking him to order for them — a party of 5. Knowing they weren’t that hungry, ELV told the staff: “A few pastas to give them a taste and a little fish.” Their food bill came to $500, and we’re still repairing the damage.

Back to the facts.

The food comes. (see pictures above)

A sushi/sashimi platter arrives with four different offerings of four bites each. The murmur at the table is it’s marginally better than Social House and in the Yellowtail/Shibuya league…but not as life-changing as Bar Masa.

Everyone swoons over the chicken, loves the oxtail fried rice, and notices the steak is the sirloin (not the $16 hangar), but no one complains.

Then, everyone faints over the bill.

The culprit isn’t the $52 sirloin (excellent) or the $24 chicken (transporting), but the sushi/sashimi that’s priced at almost $8/piece. These are Bar Masa-level prices for quality and presentation that doesn’t justify them. To paraphrase a famous debate: ELV knows Bar Masa, ELV is a friend of Bar Masa’s, and sir, you are no Bar Masa.

Did Bromberg or Blue Ribbon do anything wrong? Of course not. It was ELV’s mistake in giving him carte blanche and not paying closer attention.

There are many things to love about Blue Ribbon —  including the decor, the service, the vibe and many deeply-satisfying dishes — but the cost of the good-but-not-great sushi/sashimi is not one of them.

Go and enjoy yourself, but skip the fish.

And never, ever let a restaurant order for you.

Our meal for four (pictured above) came to $350 (including tip but no booze).


In the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino

3708 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89109


* The Official Mother Of ELV

** In ELV’s world, the only time you “just say no” is when someone asks: “Had enough?”

4 thoughts on “BLUE RIBBON – Word to the Wise: Skip the Fish

  1. Interesting experience eating at Blue ribbon in Brooklyn Heights a few years ago.. It looked like a fancy diner, the food was great, the drinks delicious and the total tab in a diner setting was mindblowing.

    As John says, make sure you are looking at the prices, casuse clothes don’t make the man.

  2. I did that at the French Laundry with the wine paring and my quote afterwards is “I was taken the the cleaners at the French Laundry”

  3. Thanks for this post. My wife about killed me when I told her about my $120 dinner at the sushi bar..ended up taking a load of crap from the old lady and left hungry! I made her read the post so she’ll know I’m not the only one they hosed…

  4. Lets talk fried chicken. Why are you eating from the Gringo portion of the menu John? I’ve had this dish, its good as an option for the average vegas local round eye or businessman from Wisconsin who thinks Japanese food is exotic but its one of the least flavorful options on the menu at Blue Ribbon.

    On to other topics. I think your nose got all out of whack on the pricing component of your review, which in turn affected your reporting on the food itself. In my humble opinion this should be two completely separate blog entries; one critiquing the food, the other using Blue Ribbon as a platform for bitching about how expensive a meal can get when the customer hands over the reigns to the management/server. Your point of view is valid, I am not discrediting it at all, but I do think this type of presentation accidentally becomes a disservice to the restaurant and your loyal readers such as myself.

    Thanks for objectively reading my constructive criticism!

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