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.
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.
In the Aria Hotel and Casino
3730 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109