ELV Pop Quiz….yawn


If you’re a regular reader of Eating Las Vegas (and let’s face it who isn’t?), you may have noticed that his articles/postings have become less frequent over the past six weeks. For those of you wondering why, we have a pop quiz.

The reason ELV isn’t writing as much on his Web site is because [check one]:

A) It’s hotter than hell, which causes ELV to become lazy and indolent;*

B) The heat puts ELV off his feed, i.e., no one on god’s green earth feels like eating or drinking anything good when it’s 114 degrees outside;

C) ELV has eaten everywhere of note in Las Vegas (for 17 years), written about it extensively, and is out of inspiration and ideas;

D) The chefs and restaurants of Las Vegas have become predictable and monotonous;

E) He’s busy working on the third edition of EATING LAS VEGASThe 50 Essential Restaurants;

F) All of the above.

If you answered F) you get the big tangerine, but those who checked C) or D) wouldn’t be far off either.

Truth be told, there hasn’t been any interesting openings here since the Cosmo and Twist, and most of our better restaurants have settled into a corporate rut, dishing out the same old same old for their once a year conventioneers, and feeling no pressure to create or keep up with the Joneses.

In other words, our culinary scene has either matured or stagnated (depending on your point of view) and no one is rocking the boat or trying anything new.

Blame it on alimentary apathy,  indifference to anything but the bottom line, or on fat cat casinos sticking with a sure thing, but if you want anything interesting (at an affordable price), you pretty much have to head out of town. As much as we try to get excited about the menu at FIRST, Public House or Society, they all feel warmed over, like no one dares try anything but another version of sliders and pub grub. (To be fair, Brian Howard is doing some interesting stuff at Comme Ça, but like a high-wire artist working without a net, sometimes he hits his mark and sometimes he falls flat.)

The steakhouses and Italians in town are even worse — so by-the-numbers they ought to have third grade teachers hostessing (Sirio and Valentino excepted) — and unless you have the jack to spring for whatever ethereal eats are being dreamed up in our fabulous frog ponds (Robuchon, Savoy, Gagnaire, Le Cirque et al), you might as well stay home.

Jaded? Possibly, but with the exception of our Japanese brethren, no chefs in town are going out on a limb and trying to bring something tasty and new to our neighborhoods — for almost four years now.

Thank god for Vintner Grill, Marche Bacchus, Spring Mountain Road and Chicago Hot Dogs, or we’d starve to death of boredom.


* Meaning: even more than usual

25 thoughts on “ELV Pop Quiz….yawn

  1. Interesting. If all this monotony keeps up, would you consider relocating to a more exciting food city? Say Los Angeles or San Francisco? Or are you married to Vegas?

  2. If only proper French food wasn’t so entwined to just dropping flif like a sultan the whole night. I’d be lousy with gout if so!

  3. I have seen lots of places that you don’t give a hoot about. There are over 2000 restaurants in Las Vegas. Lawyers get confusted easily.

  4. Just admit you’re getting tired and old and don’t have what it takes to seek out new and exciting things. One minute you complain about people who are stuck in a rut, the next you complain about people who are the flavor-of-the-month. Like so many past-their-prime art fans, you bemoan the loss of a golden age that never existed. Allow me you to introduce you to the Elvis fans who think rock and roll died on his toilet, the old punks who believe nothing after ’77 mattered, or the goths wearing the same eyeliner and listening to the same music they liked decades ago — you’re the same as them. So please, stop writing old man — you just stand in the way of people who give a shit and have the energy to care!

  5. ELV, I respect your writing tremendously, and I haven’t had nearly the restaurant experience that you have. I also understand the fascination of new love that comes from having spent time in a (mostly) new playground recently. Also, one thing I do understand is the occasional fugue reviewers find themselves in when they wonder if they have anything new to discover, much less write about. My experience, thus far, has been that these bouts can be worked through.

    Let me ask a question, though. Do you really think this is particular to Las Vegas, or would you get equally, if not more, tired of another metropolis of comparable size having spent about the same time there? Would your sense of ennui be any less after a similar span in, say, Minneapolis? I suspect so, almost certainly more so.

    Of course a metroplex such as New York, Los Angeles or the Bay Area are going to have more and more varied options than Las Vegas. That’s just going to be the case. If Las Vegas pales in comparison to one of these areas, that should be just what we expect. My question would be, how does Las Vegas compare to other communities of a comparable size? I think it fares pretty damn well, both in terms of fine dining, and in terms of variety.

    You’ve dined in the valley a lot more and longer than I have. For me, though, there are still tons of places I haven’t been to, that I haven’t seen you review, that I’d like to try myself. True, if your preferences tend toward the high-end, your options are much more limited, but I believe that a true food connoisseur, as you have demonstrated yourself to be, can find joy in a wide variety of establishments, and I find it hard to believe that you’ve truly turned over every worthwhile placemat in southern Nevada.

    Further, as a book reviewer, I still take a certain amount of joy in reading even a truly bad book, knowing that I took a chance on reading something I hadn’t before, and that I *might* have discovered something interesting. If you really don’t feel even a small sense of excitement stepping into a restaurant for the first time that you know little to nothing about, then the problem doesn’t lie in your location, I’m sorry to say.

    One way or another, good luck.

  6. “Thank god for Vintner Grill [and] Marche Bacchus”?

    If that’s the case, then you really DO need to take some time off…

  7. Have you reviewed Twist since the chef changed, Sage since early ’10, the new concept at Masa, Botero’s supper club thing? I haven’t seen a proper Robuchon review in comparison to your coverage of Savoy. You have stuff to do. It can’t be only restaurant openings that wrinkle your socks. How about the “Eat this now” pieces you were doing. To me, that’s why I visit your site. Not for this shite.

  8. Al Mancini hit the nail on the head!!
    I believe he is afraid to find the new places because he might not be recognized and have to pay his bill, leading to an honest review.
    Get off your high horse and review some places that are more locals friendly!

  9. Luke 23:34. Based on that baby picture, it looks as if you were born mean-spirited, which makes your trangressions easier to forgive.

  10. Why don’t you open a restaurant of your own… Might be inspiring for you to see the other side

    Don’t worry John…. I will be back soon enough with a whole new bag of tricks for Vegas…. Stay tuned


  11. ELV responds (especially to Kent): You visit this site because it’s the most erudite, witty, informed, best-written, no-holds barred look at the Las Vegas restaurant scene. Botero’s supper club thing? The “new” concept at Bar Masa? Puh-leeze.

    As to Kerry Simon: When you and your fellow chefs stop pandering to the lowest common denominator, we’ll pay attention. “Locals friendly places?” Do tell ELV where he can find some he hasn’t already covered extensively? (If you want someone to tell you how good Morel’s or some sausage shop is, Max Jacobson and his fluffy, phoned-in articles are there to please.)

    To Al Mancini: You claim cred for covering awful restaurants that no one goes to and 3-seat bao bars, like no one ever heard of them til you and that 35-reader paper you write for runs something on them. “Afraid to find new places?” ELV eats out more in one week than you and that schnoorer Jacobson do in a month.

  12. Try Garfield’s on a Friday. Jean-Paul Labadie puts together a new menu of fresh dishes every Friday, ala Rosemary’s (RIP). I’m not saying the place is Rosemary’s or even Rosemary’sesque, but if you’re looking for thoughtful, interesting and well-executed dishes that are not on a stale and static albeit consistent menu (ahem VG), give it a shot. Or, you could just sulk and pout and whine that everything in Las Vegas is boring, tired and shitty.

  13. I can spell Greek better than you, so my Yiddish, it goes without saying, is above reproach. That’s schnorrer, if you insist on using vocabulary that is out of your depth.

  14. Dear John,

    Use this time to re-calibrate your tastebuds. Have Food Gal manage a 30 day organic green juice feast (90 oz day) for you and have your hormones checked. No solid food. Then revisit your 50 Essential Restaurants all over again. You will taste the difference (particularly salt) and it would be interesting to read your revisit reviews.

    Additionally the fast will result with more energy, you will taste food more accurately, lower your cholesterol, have glowing skin (like say when you were in your 30’s-40’s), no allergies and so much more. It will be the best thing you could ever do now — and should do at least four times a year for that matter.


  15. ELV, I visited this site because you were a consistent source of knowledge in regards to the dining scene I visit once a month. That’s all. I don’t need a review of the examples I gave. They were merely a break in the waves of the pity laden comments you seem to be seeking as of late. The scene has always been a step behind; the inherent nature of what built the city calls for it. You realizing this has dampened your blog. I guess I’ll look to other food bloggers for info over the next few months until you get over this.

    Once loyal,


  16. there is alot of reality thrown out on the table in this POV. Anyone thats not getting “it” isnt a foodie, just a consumer. ELV has many valid points. He is not the food news man, nor is he a weekly publication of the same run of the mill paid for restaurant description. He is a foodie and a food perspectivist.

    Many things have come from Vegas but Vegas does need to change desperately on all levels. Fancy Hotels, Super clubs and just because we can expensive plates of food doesnt cut it.

    I see this post as a test, and you following with replies is answers to MR. JC’s direction in this game.

    Ohh Kent, its funny how you make yourself sound so important to the success of someones blog, just sayin.

    Theres not many people that will man up and face the big gigantic beast such as WYNN & MGM and JC does it. The rest of you dont even understand the Vegas game

  17. As someone who makes his living working with guys like John, Al, Max and the rest of the gang that covers food in Vegas – I’m a little sad to see the writing slow down. I’ve been a fan of this site since day one and have shared it (along with a few other local food blogs) to any of my friends visiting Vegas looking for the real deal on where to eat. That said – I know how much work goes into these posts and as someone who has tried (unsuccessfully I might add) to keep up with JC’s eating spree through Vegas – I understand wanting to back off a bit.

    But, John, you still need to keep this site going. Maybe a full story a week like Uncle Alan does at GQ.com. And I’d still love to read your “Eat This Now” posts whenever the feeling strikes you (especially if it focuses on one of LFC’s clients). And if you eat somewhere and absolutely hate it – please post that too – because those are some of my favorites. But I think most of us will agree that reading about Botero’s “new supper club thing” might just make us find and punch you.

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