John Curtas is …

JAVIER’S is Javi-awful

Too dark

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When we re-c0mmenced this website a month or so ago, it was with the understanding/promise we wouldn’t be writing about anything unless it was: 1) really good or noteworthy; or, 2) god-awful and deserving of all the opprobrium we could heap upon it.

So while you ponder which one of those Javier’s will fall under, allow us this observation: anyone who lives in or likes anything about Laguna Beach, California (or the O.C. for that matter) has, ipso facto, no taste at all.

Can I get an amen here?

Think about it: Laguna is the land of flashy cars, 16 lane roads, cookie cutter shopping centers, and gated communities so monochromatic they make our own Monochrome Valley look like the East Village. Anyone and everyone who lives or likes there long ago retired any imagination they might have for anything beyond whatever plastic surgery or swimming pool amenity they might be contemplating.

Laguna Beach is the home of fake tits, fake neighborhoods, fake communities and fake Mexican food.

It is the home of Javier’s.

Javier’s in Laguna is the sort of place where lounge lizards of a certain age go trolling for their next ex-wife — and those pre-fab, robo-babes can usually be found sucking on margaritas while discussing the last Jimmy Buffet concert — yeah it’s that kind of place. Wonder of wonders, it’s now migrated to Las Vegas — the last refuge for washed up singers, D-list actors, and atrocious, overpriced franchise food (cf. Mastro’s).

On that level, you can consider Javier’s the perfect bookend to its compatriot at the other end of Crystals Mall. Both hail from the Southwest. Both claim to be the real deal in the steaks, seafood and Mexican. Both are frauds. Both are doin’ it with decor a both sling hash to a credulous public weaned on the “but I hear it’s good” mentality of overbearing (yet successful) public relations, and neither has a care in the world beyond the bottom line….which makes them perfect for Vegas.

What’s not so perfect is, of course, the food. Guacamole that was nothing more than mashed avocado, shrimp ceviche comprised of pre- and overcooked shrimp tossed with some lime juice, and table salsas that compared unfavorably with whatever Pace is selling at Albertson’s — and for that last comparison we apologize to Pace.

The chile con queso came with a musty slick of stale chile oil where the chorizo was supposed to be, and the gummy cheese wouldn’t have passed muster at Ricardo’s (and for that last comparison, we apologize to Ricardo’s).

The tortillas were of the pre-made, frozen variety and the stuffed poblano chile was devoid of seasoning or heat — as was the soft taco that came with it.  And the mountain of cheese in the vaunted mariscos enchilada ($22) obliterated whatever taste the hard, chunky, overcooked seafood might’ve once had.

The service was well-meaning, ill-informed, ill-timed and inept. (Yes, anonymous dining does have its advantages sometimes.)

On the plus side, the tables are covered in leather and some of the female staff are easy on the eyes, so there’s that.

“But ELV,” you’re probably thinking to yourself right about now, “they’ve just opened, give them some time to sort things out.”

Sorry, Buckwheat, but big, expensive (this one cost  7 mil to build out) casino restaurants run by established operators with well-vetted menus get no slack nor mercy. Javier’s is so bad it makes Macayo’s look good (and for that last reference, we apologize to Macayo’s).

Chef/owner Javier Sosa ought to be exiled to one of those gringo-gated communities he profits from with such güero-friendly fare.

Because they deserve each other.

Our meal for three with no booze came to ($122). Thankfully, the Burger Maven paid.

JAVIER’S

In the Aria Hotel and Casino

3730 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89109

866.359.7757

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34 Responses to JAVIER’S is Javi-awful

  • Where is the best Mexican I Vegas?

  • ELV responds: I like Los Molecajetes and Border Grill.

  • Thanks for the warning. I’m enough of a whitebread rube I’d probably like it. But you’ve eaten everwhere, so your opinion’s enough to direct me somewhere else.

  • Technically it is in Newport Coast now not Laguna and to its credit the food is better there despite being horrificly bad here.
    Ps…. I like Laguna. Don’t hate the city hate the food.

  • Laugh my head off! The greatest line from this review is ” where lounge lizards of a certain age go trolling for their next ex wife!” ELV hit it on the head. Great review.

  • The blogger has to know his geography. Javier’s is NOT in Laguna Beach. Javier’s is in Crystal Cove located in Newport Coast on the Pacific Coast Highway.Javier’s is in the same location where Trader Joe’s and Mastro’s are. The drawing population for the businesses in this location are Newport Coast, Corona del Mar and Newport Beach. The only gated community that uses the postal address Laguna Beach is Emerald bay which has its own HOA and does not recognize the R & R of the City of Laguna Beach.

    So, Mr. John Curtas, GET EDUCATED !

  • Neng Vel, buddy, you missed the point of the review entirely. Unless of course you are a lounge lizard who is currently “courting” one of the Laguna Beach ladies aforementioned as inhabitating this fine establishment!

  • And I almost took the job there running the bar…Close call,,thank God I stayed put..

  • @ Jabin Chavez

    Los Antojos is pretty damned tasty too. I’ve had mixed experiences at Los Molcajetes, so unless I find myself on that side of town, it’s hard to justify the depressing drive.

  • PS we could’ve had that exact meal for $50 at Frank and Fina.. it would’ve tasted better too.

  • ELV responds to @Neng Vel: get a f*cking life.

    Laguna, Newport, Crystal Cove, Corona del Mar….they’re all the same f*cking place and I’ve been to all of them numerous times and they all suck in the exact, same way. Too much money and not enough taste keeps these bastions of brainlessness humming along and you can have the lot of ‘em.

    Only one of their own would give a Republican, tight-assed sh*t about who recognizes whose HOA and R&Rs.

    Point proven.

    Now go enjoy your tasteless Mexican food with the rest of your know-nothing neighbors.

  • ELV,love your blog reviews etc but Democrats and Obama suck.

  • The best mexican food is at Letitia’s on Farm Road. The chips are horrible, but everything else is great.

  • ELV responds: @GirlyGirl makes a good point. We’ve only been once, but Letitia’s was muy bueno!

  • Hi, Neat post. There is a problem along with your web site in internet explorer, may check this? IE nonetheless is the market leader and a big element of other people will miss your magnificent writing because of this problem.

  • For the embarassing amount of money they spent on designing the place they should be driving across the border in search of artisanal Mexican spring water and masa so they can hand-craft their tortillas to order. Then again, if they’re dumb enough to cover dining tables with leather, their too stupid to know the difference between a gaujillo and a chipotle. And I don’t mean Chipotle Mexican Grille.

  • I’m glad you posted a review on this. I am always curious about new restaurants and I love a good Margarita, but it doesn’t sound like my cup of tea and the prices are pretty outrageous for what they are serving. I’ll stick with Border Grill.

  • You are a dick for (many reasons, most of which I enjoy) comparing locally owned, stalwart of unpretentious, honest Mexican fare, Ricardo’s to Javier’s. It is like comparing John Curtas to Al Mancini. Both are probably fine. You expect more from Curtas, so you end up disappointed and realize that they both use the same ingredients and puke out pretty much indistinguishable product other than how they are dressed.

  • LISTEN JOHN CURTAS if you think your a professional blogger with any talent or taste you are highly mistaken. To start the article was very poorly written and seemed as if you were targeting Southern California’s lifestyle and trying to relate it to Javier’s. Just because people who live in SoCal do many of those things you mentioned doesn’t mean Javier’s is in the same category. I have had hundreds of great experiences throughout the years at Javier’s. The service is top of the line, you will never find a more committed team, the food is delicious… who made you an expert on salsas and authentic mexican food and ingredients. Javier’s has been ripping through every town its entered because of the very same things your trying to bash! Get your facts straight BUD, because this is the first negative article or comment I’ve EVER heard about Javier’s. To me it seems like you are a little insecure. But don’t take it out on an internet blog to make yourself feel better. Oh and unless you’ve met Javier I would recommend not saying snooty remark like that. He’s worked his ass off to make Javier’s the best authentic traditional mexican restaurant HANDS DOWN. So in the future if your want to spew some negativity out on paper don’t embaras yourself by targeting a 20 year proven 5 star restaurant that has been open for a week. Give it a short amount of time and you’ll eat every word you said. And ill be expecting an apology or positive article in return.

  • LISTEN JOHN CURTAS if you think your a professional blogger with any talent or taste you are highly mistaken. To start the article was very poorly written and seemed as if you were targeting Southern California’s lifestyle and trying to relate it to Javier’s. Just because people who live in SoCal do many of those things you mentioned doesn’t mean Javier’s is in the same category. I have had hundreds of great experiences throughout the years at Javier’s. The service is top of the line, you will never find a more committed team, the food is delicious… who made you an expert on salsas and authentic mexican food and ingredients. Javier’s has been ripping through every town its entered because of the very same things your trying to bash! Get your facts straight BUD, because this is the first negative article or comment I’ve EVER heard about Javier’s. To me it seems like you are a little insecure. But don’t take it out on an internet blog to make yourself feel better. Oh and unless you’ve met Javier I would recommend not saying snooty remark like that. He’s worked his ass off to make Javier’s the best authentic traditional mexican restaurant HANDS DOWN. So in the future if your want to spew some negativity out on paper don’t embaras yourself by targeting a 20 year proven 5 star restaurant that has been open for a week. Give it a short amount of time and you’ll eat every word you said. And ill be expecting an apology or positive article in return..deuces

  • I AGREE 100% with the last comment and LOVE Javier’s!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I can’t stand Southern California, or it’s biggest problem, Californian assholes.

    That’s why I live here.

    Also, if you don’t like the website/blog, read something else.

  • ELV responds: It’s always gratifying when “friends” of an establishment put up totally unsolicited “defenses” of 5-star Mexican restaurants.

    As for who made us an expert on salsas and authentic Mexican food….we credit Diana Kennedy and Rick Bayless for the education, multiple trips to Mexico for the experiences, and seventeen years of writing about food (and getting paid for it) for the credentials.

  • I live in Orange County and my in laws live in Crystal Cove. To be clear Javier’s was small place originally located in Laguna Beach and later they got an inflated ego and moved to Crystal Cove. John Curtas is spot on with his review of both the people and food. Javier’s is GOD AWFUL and the description of people that frequent the restaurant is accurate. Big Boobs, Overpriced Cars, Old Men looking to trade up to a new younger wife etc etc. I am not going to defend that lifestyle or the Californian assholes, but there are a few of us who are nice, like good food and live here because of family. There are also a few ( VERY FEW… Maybe 2 or 3) quality restaurants in all of Orange County. A girl can only dream of more culinary choices.

  • Hi John Curtas, I dont think you are right for many reasons, first of all you americans will never understand completely the mexican food, even with your “trips and education”, I was born in Mexico and I lived there for 23 years, so when I tell you that Javier’s is the closest to mexican food i’ve ever tried in Vegas its because its true, he is trying to make homemade food, not whatever your friends are trying in different restaurants, or you and honestly dont trust their palates, Im sure they are very good with food, that doesnt mean they understand the way mexican food sometimes is, because is really versatile and I dont even know all the salsas, and I have a friend Bartender there and believe me they are getting the best ingredients they can and they are bringing everything fresh, and the margaritas they are the best, unless you prefer a slushy, so my friend you should be more serious and analitic on your comments, because search for other reviews, and I know for sure that a lot of celebrity chefs from Aria loooved Javier’s, and I dont think you have a better palate than Julian Serrano do you?
    And for the guy @Cooper with the #8 comment, im sorry for you, i dont know where do you work but Im sure you are making more that 2k a week right? because thats what my friend makes in 6 days…

  • Anyone up for a trip to Del Taco?

  • Javier’s serves garbage fake ass mexican food, I swear to jesus christ of latter day saints that if I have to eat at one more piece of shit mexican restaurant I will go back to being a transvestite homosexual prostitute. I hate most of you people, especially people that CAPS LOCK every other sentence. The food looks looks like shit, it even smells like shit and Im on a fucking laptop. I dont know whats worse the sour cream in a piping bag piped onto a fucking piece of old lettuce or that chile relleno thats missing all its egg batter garnished with a canned black olive or all you stupid pieces of shit that actually think that place is any good. I think Im gonna go with you sorry fucks that think that shit is actually good because you deserve to be told you are shit because you eat shit, so to all you shit eating retards bon appetite and comer mierda e muerte e chinga su puta perra madre.

  • Lo siento

  • It’s absolute nonsense when these people pop up defend a restaurant that has a bad review. No one believes them and it’s obvious they are shills.

    With regard to Javier’s, how do they compare to Mundo?

  • ELV responds: Mundo and Border Grill are heads and shoulders above anything Javier’s is dishing out.

    And while ELV doesn’t encourage or promote profanity, it’s kind of hard to argue with what @Gwang said.

    The people (or shills) who like Javier’s are obviously weaned on fake, gringo-friendly, straight-from-a-can Mexican fare, and haven’t a clue what the real deal tastes like. I’d like to send the lot of ‘em to the Grand Central Market in downtown L.A. for an afternoon — just to watch the looks on their faces when they realize what crap they’ve been eating for years.

  • John, I won’t hold it against you that you’re a Democrat if my fellow Republicans promise not to hold it against me for reading your blog!

    Culinary taste, like virtue, is not the property of one political party over another.

    Thank you for the warning about Javier’s.

    That is all.

  • Chin up John, if Javier’s isn’t doing it for you, and by all accounts of your writings as of late – many are not. Just across the street, a concept so delicious, so fresh, so inviting will be opening in the near future.
    Why of course – you guessed it – Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Factory – haute cuisine at its finest. Mind you now, it’s not quite Red Lobster standards, but it’ll add a fine dimension to the Vegas dining scene ……and I look forward to your review

  • I was talking to one of my employees today and she said her family was going to Las Vegas next week. They had planned on going to Javier’s. She knows I know a guy who knows a guy, so she asked me if I had heard of the place. I directed her to ELV and told her that an opinionated palate tells me that Javier’s is Javi-awful. She said she was going to cancel the reservation.

  • In Las Vegas Los Antojos does a mean chicarone gordita and other authentic fare, but considering the atmosphere it’s more of take your order to go kinda place. In SoCal we like Rivera in LA. Great cocktails and the best handmade tortillas with avocado butter – ever! Most Mexican restaurants in the states cater to gringos who have no idea what authentic Mexican food should taste like and it shows with plates of food that look like piles of slop. Just like bad Italian food, it’s cheap & easy to pawn off on the masses.

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