Letter of the Week

Dear ELV,

How many comps do these restaurants have to give to ELV to make the book? And how many for the top ten?


Critically Cynical Kevin

ELV responds:

Dear CCK-ster,

Some meals are comped, some are paid for by us, and some get paid for by our dining companions.

For example, Le Cirque, where ELV hasn’t paid for a meal in years, wasn’t in the Top 10 last year, and made it this year.

Figure it out for yourself, dillweed….which you could do by diligently reading this blog…and being less of a hater.



7 thoughts on “Letter of the Week

  1. A suave (displaying smoothness and sophistication in manner or attitude), response ELV. I especially like the “dillweed” association, which, in culinary terms, is typically used in sour pickles! Nuff said.

  2. Some folks have come and explicitly cast aspersions on ELV for favoring restaurants from which he has received comps. As someone who has assiduously followed ELV’s recommendations, I believe these are unfounded, although it should be pointed out that I don’t own a Las Vegas restaurant which ELV has panned. However, for all critics, I believe it is fair to ask questions about this. Since in this case I don’t believe the question was asked impolitely, I’m inclined to say that the response could have been stated more diplomatically, but that’s just me.

    Also, not everyone with haters is doing something right. It depends entirely on who you’ve pissed off. If it’s Kim Jong Il, Dick Cheney, or Lindsay Lohan, then, yes, I agree you’re doing something right.

  3. Uh, to get the topic focused back on the issue of receiving comps, (which has been thoroughly discussed and vetted on these pages in the past far more times than has been necessary), I’ve dined with ELV on numerous occasions. In the instances upon which we have been “comped,” a gratuity for the front of house staff and kitchen staff has always been left, in most cases equaling the cost of the meal printed on the menu.

    The standards by which ELV and other qualified Food Writers subscribe to is that a comped meal doesn’t translate into a good review. For the hacks out there who do so, their restaurant reviews are as shallow as their lack of ethical and professional integrity.

  4. ELV responds: Under most circumstances, we would admit @npc makes a good point re diplomacy.

    But Eating Las Vegas — the book, the blog, and this author — can smell a disgruntled shill (or jealous restaurant owner) like a bad clam, and has no patience with seemingly “polite questions” that are little more than whining…and that beat a dead horse to boot.

    We’ve been doing this for sixteen years. Our anonymity went out the window in the early aughts. Comp meals do occur sometimes, but all the free food and booze in the world won’t get you in the book. If your restaurant measures up to the world class cuisine recognized in the book, it’s in. If it doesn’t, the staff and management need to work on their game, rather than worrying about bribing someone.

  5. My question is why hasn’t ELV created an app for the iPhone/Android market that would have all this information and not kill trees? Maybe a 4.99$ price to get into the hands of all true Gastro’s headed to our fair city?

  6. Being the hater, dillweed, and shill I have been amateurishly characterized as by ELV, I cannot help my fatuous behavior in taking one or two more strikes on this dead horse. I have issue with two things about reviews where comps are routine, and in ELV’s case emphatically defended. First is the attention given to the comp recipient’s experience is not going to be the same as the anonymous customer who patronized the establishment after reading how great the comped meal was. I second question if any comped meal has ever received a critical review. Positive sure, but can ELV point to a comped meal where heavy criticism was levied in a subsequent posting?

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