John Curtas is …

All-Asian Sunday

It has not escaped ELV’s attention that whenever he posts anything about any Asian restaurant, the reader response is, at best, tepid. If we challenge any cheeseburger, pizza or pasta restaurant’s hegemony, comments fly at us like bad fish(!?). But let us proclaim some Korean or Thai restaurant to be fabulous or awful, and all we hear is crickets.

ELV has a theory* about this and it goes something like this: People are happy to judge and give opinions on food they are comfortable with, but steer them into foreign territory and they clam up for fear of being exposed as knowing too little to openly opine on what is good, bad or mediocre. And nothing is more foreign to the American palate (even after decades of assimilation) than Asian cuisines. Truth be told, most people don’t know anything more about what goes into a proper lasagna Bolognese than they do a jajangmyeon, but they feel more familiar with the language of one, so avoid trying (or opining about) the tastes of  the other.

Which is sad, really, since Asian food is the second best thing about eating in Las Vegas — the first if you consider bang for the buck. So what you ought to be doing is eating in all of these places — for health and economic reasons — enough to go toe to toe with us on what you like and why you like it. To encourage such adventurous eating, we hereby proclaim this All-Asian Sunday — where we will condense and edify about where we’ve had some of our more magnificent cheap eats over the previous week. If the response is good, maybe we’ll do it every Sunday. Regardless, after three days of turkey, ‘taters and dressing…what could be better?

First, let’s start with Bosa 1:

…an old friend where the bún bò Huê and fresh, house-made hot soy milk (along with most of the menu) set an exemplary standard rarely followed by our plethora of same old, same old pho parlors. Bosa’s version practically uses the whole cow making the rich, spicy and savory broth, and you can expect to pull one or two pieces of meltingly tender, yet unrecognizable, pieces of meat from your soup stew — which is, after all, part of the fun!

Next, take a trip across the street, where Borman Yang and her Taiwan Deli make Taiwanese breakfasts, buns and stews to beat the band:

From there, hit the Strip, as we recently did, to try out Rice & Company, where Hong Kong cuisine reigns supreme:

Take it from our staff, only Chinese food this good could get us inside the Luxor.

Rice & Company is classic Cantonese cooking given a bit more zing to appeal to American palates. From the chicken lettuce wraps to the chow fun noodles to the Peking Duck, Chef John Kan (formerly of Kan’s Hong Kong Kitchen in Chinatown), keeps it pristine and real — something we appreciated after taking our first Chinese meal there (in 2007) after returning from a trip to China. Those classics, along with mapo doufu (pockmarked woman’s bean curd) are as good or better than anything you’ll find in our Chinatown, and unlike most casino Chinese restaurants, aren’t priced to gouge the customer. (Our meal was comped, but prices are probably only slightly higher than you’ll pay on Spring Mountain Road — with remarkably better decor and service.)

About the only disappointment was a sushi roll touted (by our very good waitron) as the house specialty, containing everything but the kitchen sink. We didn’t have the heart to tell them that 3″ thick rice rolls containing fried and raw seafood (and who knows how many other accoutrements) is not our cup of meat. If you’re the type who loves I Love Sushi or Sushi Fever, you’ll think you died and went to heaven. Sushi snobs (like yours truly) would rather chew on a rancid Slim Jim. In its defense, the sushi rice was impeccable, as was the cooking and construction. But putting that many flavors and textures into your mouth at once (deep-fried! raw! crunchy vegetables! seaweed! sauces!) is the sushi equivalent of an over-loaded ice cream sundae…and almost as sweet.

BOSA 1

3400 South Jones Blvd. Suite 2A

Las Vegas, NV 89146

702.418.1931

TAIWAN DELI

3435 South Jones Blvd.

Las Vegas, NV 89146

702.222.3435

RICE & COMPANY

In the Luxor Hotel and Casino

702.262.4852

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

* ELV has many theories… his motto being: Maybe wrong, but never in doubt.

Share this post:

4 Responses to All-Asian Sunday

  • Why stop at Asian. ANYTHING you post outside the event horizon of the cheeseburgers who frequent your space will be ignored. Stick to pizza, burgers and steaks. That’s my advice. (Maybe I’ll do the same,)

  • I think your theory is right about people holding back when they don’t know much about the (authentic) Asian food. Maybe if you posted about the egg foo yung, kung pao chicken, or the lo mein, people would have more to say. But when you stray from the less authentic, American-cooked-like-Chinese food, and start talking about the more authentic, people are at a loss.

    Don’t get me wrong. I love reading about the better Asian restaurants in Vegas, and would even love to try some of the cuisine. But I don’t think I’m ready to go all out. I would probably start with something mid-point between the canned chop suey and the beef tendon. Not sure if I’m ready to go all the way yet.

  • ELV, I think you’re right, and you’d certainly be right to not mistake a lack of response as a general lack of interest. For myself, the more obscure the cuisine the more I rely on the reviews of food critics, so please keep this coming.

    I haven’t eaten at Bosa 1 yet, but it’s on my short list. I can, confirm, however, that the restaurant of unknown name that everyone refers to as Taiwan Cafe is outstanding. The pork roll is something everyone even remotely interested in cuisine should try, and it’s
    unlike (in a good way) anything I’ve eaten elsewhere. Moreover, I never would have known to try it if it wasn’t for your blog, so thank you for that.

    I’m pleasantly surprised by your review of Rice & Company. For Chinese food in casinos, my dining options worthy of a second trip have so far been limited to the Gold Coast and Noodle Asia at the Venetian. Everything else has been dumbed down so far and usually marked up so much that it’s just not worth it, IMHO.

  • i think you could have effectively said comments fly at you like asian carp – a. because they are not so popular in america but certainly popular in asia (a delicacy, actually) but b. because they actually do throw themselves at you if you’re on the river with them….

    maybe people don’t have comments because they agree with you thoroughly?

Latest Tweets
John at Work Restaurant reviews, quips, picks and pans-with some seriously salivating history-from the man who eats his way through Sin City every day.
Flangas-McMillan
Attorneys at Law
Follow eatinglasvegas on Twitter Follow eatinglasvegas on Twitter