John Curtas is …

ECHO, RIG and a Second Opinion

Having spent the last few weeks getting blasted with semi-encouraging Facebook food photos from half of my friends list, I was encouraged enough to take an evening out to Tivoli Village’s newest “place that probably uses a chalkboard for a permanent feature somewhere”, aka Big-money-backed trendy restaurant.  I was mildly entertained by the idea of a butcher shop/bar downstairs, and I was even going to go to the media event pre-opening.  I missed out on the free E&R branded Victorinox chefs knife with the tote bag, but plans changed when I had to go watch doctors pull a medical oddity the size of a lemon out of my brother’s brain (he’s fine now, and I already had that exact knife anyways).  Well, I made it out and my first impression was…

NOISE

NOISE

NOISE

Holy friggin hell, combine stone with glass and a bunch of drunk lawyers on a Friday, I felt like I was in a wind tunnel full of ducks.  They could have been slaughtering the cow straight up kosher style and I wouldn’t have noticed.  Thankfully it was a lovely night to be seated in the quietest part of the restaurant: the patio.

Alright, enough jokes.  Brass tacks.  This is a steakhouse, I had a steak.  Their “Spencer Steak”.  Verdict: pretty good.  Appropriate seasoning, very tender, fat just melted in your mouth, and great heavy grass-fed flavor.  Let it be known, “This steakhouse has cooked a steak and did not fudge it up.”  They get a banana sticker on their report card for that.  Honestly, they deserve it because it’s embarrassingly common to see a steak cooked poorly in a Vegas Steakhouse.

Steak Levels: Good

Now onto a list of things they kind of tripped over themselves on.  Salmon, the last bastion of entrees for people who do not belong in a steakhouse, was MAD SALTY, on wet and SALTY greens, with a side of the saltiest Béarnaise sauce I’ve ever had.  I don’t mean this was salty like some brands of potato chips are salty, I mean this was salty like a heaping bowl of salt WISHES it was salty.  In its defense, it was saltier than I could imagine not being a mistake by some green-horn line cook, so there’s that.  Maybe he mistook ounces for kilograms.

This Salmon supplies iodine, an essential nutrient.

They have 47  “things that weren’t entrees or steaks”, so bear with the smattering few I decided on.  The one I couldn’t really picture was “Bone Marrow Carne Asada” so I decided on that, the “Grilled Bacon and Barbecue Sauce”, the brussels sprouts, the kale salad, the grilled heirloom carrots, and the fried cauliflower.  Everything was very… Meh.  The only thing I really ended up coveting was the bacon, and not really for any kind of enthusiasm for it, just out of hunger and base cravings.

It was bacon.

The one thing that was less than “meh” was the brussels sprouts.  If there is one vegetable that you don’t really want to “stand on its own”, it’s these.  That’s why we fry them, coast them in spicy stuff, just pack them with flavor.  E&R decided to treat it like it was sashimi and applied nothing but lemon and pistachio.  I finished the pistachios, I didn’t finish the brussels sprouts.

Carne in the foreground, pictured not living up to its uniqueness

Now lets get it straight.  Was I unhappy with this meal?  Yeah.  Will I go back?  Maybe.  Frankly looking back at my choices, I avoided things like pork schnitzel, the Drunken Goat sandwich (goat cheese, brie, and a ton of fruits can’t be that bad), or whatever “Jumping Beef” is.  Bad form, old boy.  Maybe it’s the hopeless optimist in me, but I feel I have menu regret big time.  All I hope is that they haven’t gotten so self-satisfied by looking cool that they won’t be taking criticisms and feedback to improve what I frankly see as stubborn bumps to be ironed out.  Only time, and I guess maybe myself, will tell.

PS: Why didn’t I mention the desserts or cocktails?  Brother, they weren’t worth mentioning.

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12 Responses to ECHO, RIG and a Second Opinion

  • Well, ELV and Mitchell, tried this joint today as I was in the area for lunch. Verdict, nothing special to force my return. Ok, price point, but their are better choices in the burbs of Summerlin. Did note the noise level could become unpleasant if loud patrons or groups are present. Frankly the goofy layout/ set up with the bar and restaurant being on separate levels. The wait staff schlepping up and down stairs? I predict this wont fare any better than the other venues in Trivoli. Too bad really, looks like they need some time to either work out the kinks or revise the menu to make something on it a stand out signature dish to warrant traipsing down there.

  • Ok, first of all your links to click on are hilarious!

    Second of all I am SO thankful you don’t write in the perverted, sexual innuendo filled style of Mr. Curtas- that’s just EW!

    Third, I am glad to see the honest writings of my young Mr. Wilburn aka Mitchiekins. :)

  • Donna(aka Mom) oy vey Momma, your little boychick is writing for a big boy paper now and is getting alittle gelt so he can now move out of your basement on his own. Please let him fly like a birdie to the outside world. He will rise or fall without anymore help. But Momma, dear, please continue to love him as your little baby but you can now let his testicles decend.

  • So, as a former Summerlinner, how in the hell did Tivoli Village get built in the first place? Summerlin wasn’t able to support Tre or Rosemary’s; how could a collection of supposedly high-end restaurants, all opening at the same time, make it?

  • ELV responds (to Donna, aka Mitchell’s mom): Remember, when loves goes out the door, sex comes innuendo.

  • Oooh, now this all makes sense, Mitchell & his family are all friends with John Curtas, no wonder he has to kiss his tuchas!! Never returning to this site again.

  • Hoo Haa Diamond, its a shanda, but its nice for you my boy that you wont be returning to the site. But my shmegegge friend, as you leave would you stop by the Bagel Café and get me a bissel schmaltz Herring, some rye bread,alittle shmeer of cream cheese, a few slices of lean corn beef and nova lox? Please delivery to Turnberry Towers One and ask for Manny! Then Gay Ga Zinta Hate! Thanks!

  • Wilburn. I’m expecting a steak dinner when I come to town in late October. Don’t even try to drive me by this place.

  • ….Tre was all fluff and no bite…Rosemary’s and Jordan’s was way ahead of his time but Sarhara bit him in the ass, look at all the crap holes on Sahara now and that started popping up in the late 90′s when he was in his prime….now I’ve never been to this place Mr. Curtas is writing about but when VG’s is the best we have then you know it’s tough…now, I’m not complaining about VG’s but as far as it goes in the grand scheme of things it falls into the moderate avg type place….I resigned myself to the best bets continue to be day in and day out in Vegas our China town. Our China town way way underrated. All these new fluff and fake bake places that open, they come, they go and they die!

  • The desserts at this place are a joke. The true saving grace is its price point. I go there over outback but I would take Flemings any day.

  • Good review. Sides or small plates whatever they call them were pretty weak. Charcuterie platter really sucked was terrible..
    Anyways steak lacked much needed salt. Pink salt on table AWESOME touch. The price of the steak definitely influenced my enjoyment as well as it was PRETTY good.
    I will say I just ate the 9 month riserva ribeye @ carnevino at 110.00 an inch and well that was incredible.
    Wine list was cheap as well. I wouldn’t rush back that is for sure. Maybe if I was on that side of town (the worst side of town) ran out of most of my savings and was out of a job I’d consider going back for a cheap steak. Anyways let’s face it Summerlin is a joke.

  • Hey Kathy, if Summerlin a Joke, then a whole bunch of well off folks are living large and laughing easy my dear girl.

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