John Curtas is …

BESO-me Mucho, Eva

It’s no secret Beso has had a few problems over the past year. Owner/actress/former NBA fan Eva Longoria has done what she can to right the ship, even going so far as to do a super-glam photo shoot on the premises, but we at ELV think the better course would be to let Chef Matt Piekarski keep doing his thing in the kitchen, in hopes the food will soon match the (former, now faded) buzz of the place.

From a recent tasting, it looks like he’s off to a good start. The only two clinkers we had were strangely bland versions salmon carpaccio and beef tartare; neither coming forward with a single strong flavor with which to distinguish themselves.

But just about everything else showed a real commitment to quality that was sadly lacking when we dined here over a year ago. The beet and goat cheese salad demonstrated with precision why these two ingredients have an affinity for each other, as did a beautifully rich, lightly fried chile relleno. Herbed, elongated bricks of chickpea fries came with a dense, sweet tomato dip, and even something as banal as carrots were carved into beautiful nuggets before being tossed in butter, herbs and orange juice. The 20 oz. Kansas City strip was as good a steak as you’ll find at City Center (and came nicely garnished with house-pickled vegetables), and the gorgeous, crispy pork shank goes femur to femur with that being done at Social House a stone’s throw away.

One of our two spoon-dropping desserts seemed misnamed. On the menu it’s listed as vanilla crème brûlée with caramelized bananas, but all four of the experienced palates at ELV’s table would’ve sworn it was a banana custard — so strong was the taste of the tropical fruit. One of our companions went so far as to proclaim it: the best banana cream filling they’d ever tasted. If all that punch came from only the caramelized bananas on top, it would be a shocker.

Just as tasty was a chocolate fudge/caramel brownie of uncommon richness. One bite is all anyone really needs, but its chocolate-ty goodness (not to mention the little ribbons of caramel in the middle) means the last bite will be fought over by everyone at the table.

So, the food at Beso has had an obvious upgrade, even when the setting (with one of our best people watching patios), didn’t need one. Located at the entrance to Aria, and at the confluence of the massive hotel and the adjoining Crystals Mall, it would seem to be the ideal setting for success.

But a celebrity restaurant faces hurdles not even celebrity chef ones do. Mainly, how to be taken at least a little seriously as far as the food is concerned. For what seems a blessing (celeb buzz, sexy setting) still suffers from the curse of being surrounded by a dozen restaurants with far greater foodie cred. ELV thinks Piekarski (a fellow who seems about as Mexican as Mao Tse-tung) is on the right track…and with an infusion of even more Latin flair (more chilies please!) into the menu, perhaps Ms. Longoria won’t have to be running around the place like a desperate ex-housewife any longer.

BESO STEAKHOUSE

In the Crystals Mall

3720 Las Vegas Blvd. South #260

Las Vegas, NV 89158-1640

702.254.2376

http://www.besolasvegas.com/

9 Responses to BESO-me Mucho, Eva

  • hope you are right.. also hope they found a way to improve their service which was nothing short of terrible when my wife ans I went there a number of months ago

  • Whither I shall lead, they shall follow. For I am a river to my people.

  • You got to invest in a better camera…the chile relleno looks like a fried Mouse..
    I went back a week ago with a friend visiting, it’s a great location and you can’t complain for the food. At the end though you walk away with nothing memorable.

  • fyi: Matty’s been there since opening…

  • Isn’t it Todd English Beso like in Hollywood? Todd is amazing and so is Beso.
    Todd’s Chilly rubbed skirt stake is the best!

  • JC is getting quite complacent these dayz. That food looks gross and blobby. I’m still dancing here. BTW.. that was quite the pissy response in that other post. Are things quite well in your ad revenue to this blog you dont see fit to update it more often with solid material.

    I agree with Tom. nice fried mouse Beso. Thats your plate presentation chef, a fried mouse relleno.

    That beet salad is so yesterday and over cooked. They looky mushy. Over dressed salad, cheap balsamic glaze on the plate with walnuts that look like room temp soy syrup uni.

    Well I guess on the bright side looking at the picture of the outside dining, their bringing in the flappy armed, hogged jaw, Tommy bahama wear’in middle class orange county’ers.

    I would like to remind you of these as heard it from ELV:

    Good writing should write up to its audience. The trouble with our newspaper (the Review-Journal) is that it writes down to its audience. – Max Jacobson (at Culinary Conversations at Vegas Uncork’d)

    Translation: Writing down is not talking down. When you write up to your audience, you seek to raise their level of consciousness and elevate the conversation. The R-J (at least when it comes to food/restaurant writing), is hopelessly mired in writing for, and speaking to, the lowest common denominator of its readership. Pity.

    Americans are the grossest feeders of any civilized nation known. As a nation, their food is heavy, coarse and indigestible, while it is taken in the least artificial forms that cookery will allow.

    -James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)

    ROCK IN!

  • I was at their grand opening, then again in Valentines day, I met the executive Chef Isaac Carter who is the regional Chef for Todd English. I guess Isaac trained this guy. But the presentation doesn’t resemble English masterpieces…the young generation has to stick to what works. I love how Olives stays consistent.
    I will be back in Vegas soon, and will check out the tempting deserts. Sounds to me Todd English needs to show up more and work on presentation

  • Max,
    You are always gracious with your Howeitat hospitality.
    Tom

  • Thank you, Tom. You may drink from my well.

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