On the Inexplicable Popularity of SKINNYFATS

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If you want to know what’s wrong with the Las Vegas restaurant scene, look no further than the unexplainable, head-scratching popularity of SkinnyFATS — an office-park, hole-in-the-wall, “concept” operation off Dean Martin Drive that serves junked-up, under-seasoned and over-thought food that mimics the faux-industrialized interior and fake tastes of its customers.

It is food perfectly geared to a generation that thinks it’s smarter than it is.

It is food that doesn’t have a clue about quality.

It is food that gives the clueless poseurs of the Millennial Generation the cuisine they deserve.

Where oh where to begin?

Let’s start with the customers, shall we?

In order to order here, it appears that you must a) wear nothing but skinny jeans and t-shirts, and b) convince yourself that more is more when it comes to whatever you’re stuffing in your pork pie hat…er….uh….hole.

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Now, a more reasonable sort might argue that SkinnyFATS does the business it does because it’s the only game in town — or at least the only thing edible on this forlorn stretch of single story office slabs along this parallel artery to the Strip. But Eating Las Vegas understands that you do not come to this Web site for reason, but for (generally) thoughtful, fulminating-yet-fulsome invective….and this place inspires it in droves.

First of all, it’s a f*king takeout counter. (Heaven forbid all those hipsters actually have to speak anyone not as cool as them for longer than they have to.) Secondly, it seats like, 18 people (actually, more like 36, but let’s not let facts get in the way of a good rant.) Thirdly, ordering is a nightmare. The menu has like, 100 things on it; it’s divided between a “healthy” and “happy” side (apparently, being healthy and happy simultaneously never occurred to the dimwits behind this concept), and navigating it takes the eyes of an Indian scout (the print is none too large) and the skills of a Portuguese sailor. All of which needs to be done while you listen to people ask such scintillating questions of the poor sap taking orders as: “What’s better, the Drunken Monkey Cakes or the Drunken Gypsy toast?” (In case you couldn’t guess, cutesie names are as necessary to sell this dreck as the hyperbolic health hullabaloo.

As for being the only eatery for miles, true enough that, but one doesn’t get the sense that its patrons are here but for a lack of options — or out of a sense of resignation like you get inside any Subway or chain sandwich shop. No, these customers think SkinnyFats serves really, really good food……just like they think this is really, really good music.

But you’re there at the behest of a foodie friend, so you sucks it up and you takes your chances. Being a critic, you go for the basics: Can they make an edible burger? Can they compose a tasty taco? Is the kitchen challenged by a simple salad?

The answers are no, no and sort of.

Everything, and we mean everything on the menu is is overwrought to the nth degree, i.e., loaded with lots of ingredients and very little thought. For example, here’s the menu’s description of the Cheeseburger Benedict: “1/2 lb. Angus burger, w/ lettuce, tomato pickles, cheddar, avocado, red onion, fried egg and SF sauce.”

You would think, with that moniker and laundry list, the cheeseburger would bear just the slightest hint of eggs-y, Benedict-y savoriness. You would think that of course, and you would be wrong.

Amazingly, in a feat of magic befitting David Copperfield, the burger tasted of none of these — and barely tasted of burger. “There’s supposed to be a fried egg in here,  but I couldn’t taste it,” said our foodie friend. “I could see it, barely (ELV blathered), but the whole thing just tastes like a pile of overcooked, unseasoned meat mush,” he replied.

And so it went, throughout the whole circus of descriptions and funeral of flavors.

The tacos (both the Ahi Sirachi and the Ahi Taco-san) were no better. One was supposedly loaded with “Slaw Chee(?), mango pico, spicy aioli & teriyaki,” How SkinnyFATS  manages to trumpet yet avoid all of these flavors is a question best left to minds smaller than ours.

The Ahi Taco-San:

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….deep fries everything but the mangoes and the tomatoes and still manages to pull off the flavor-free hat trick.

We present this picture by itself because good taste prevents us from offending our readers’ sensibilities with any more photos than we have to. Suffice it to say, every plate comes out of the kitchen heaped with ingredients and drizzled with this or that — more likely drizzled with this and that — none of it to any great effect. It’s  just the sort of food you’d expect to appeal to people who party like this.

They also must like drinking stale-tasting, dirty-looking apple juice….because ours tasted as dirty as it looked:

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On the plus side, the chocolate chip cookie was pretty good:

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So there’s that.

You have been warned.

ELV’s lunch for two — which could’ve fed three — came to $36.


6261 Dean Martin Drive

Las Vegas, NV 89118


7 thoughts on “On the Inexplicable Popularity of SKINNYFATS

  1. Next stop – Container Park – along with all the other ill-conceived, poorly run, poorly executed DOWNTOWN PROJECT concepts

  2. John,

    Try not to knock it to hard, everyone knows Vegas local is the ashtray of life.
    I mean we stand in line for 2 hours to eat Steak and Shake, 4 hours to eat White Castles in a parking lot, we line up like little soldiers with our coupons and players card to eat at the Station Casino’s buffet. You coming down on shitty food in Vegas is a no brainer, you ever been to a Farmers Market here? Its a joke to even get out of the car even our Whole Foods sucks, They even know that they can mail it in for the Vegas crowd. So leave these guys alone they are serving shit, because shit is what we like to eat, its like the one dish you can get at all local Vegas restaurants its a big bowl of shit, but just make sure my beer is cold and I have a coupon to buy my shit.

  3. So, it’s in a rather nondescript part of the Valley, but it does seem to be close enough to Town Center and even Chinablock for that matter that there are any number of good lunch places around there that people could go to if they wanted to. Also, I think that there’s a difference between an office park and a warehouse/light-industrial area — Dean Martin south of Russel is much more of the latter rather than the former.

  4. This post is a perfect example of why I can’t stand self-proclaimed food critics. A restaurant with a clever concept opens up in an unquestionably terrible location and still manages to be wildly popular. But rather than focusing on that — the real story here, you go to far and absurd lengths to crap on a small business as to justify your opinion. I don’t particularly care for all movies myself, but I respect when something that isn’t to my taste has a loyal audience. I’m suddenly imagining you bashing Tyler Perry movies and then ruthlessly (and needlessly) slamming it’s movie goers for their appearance, education and spending their money on “anything that appeals to the black demographic.” You should probably set your clearly very large ego aside and enjoy a reminder that once all the fluff and circumstance about the dining experience is taken away, it is about a restaurant operator delivering something that a loyal customer base enjoys and continues to pay for. That is it.

  5. ELV responds: We always find it amusing when some Yelper (and you just know TIWIDLTC is a Yelper) refers to us as a “self-proclaimed critic” or “what the hell do you know?” blogger.

    ELV invites TIWIDLTC to review his body of work (not to mention income) from: Nevada Public Radio, Bon Appetit Magazine, Travel & Leisure Magazine, Food Network, Top Chef Masters, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Huntington Press, KLAS TV, KSNV TV, et al over the past 19 years before making such a stupid remark.

    But then again, we forgot TIWIDLTC is a Yelper (and/or probably a friend of the management of this dumb excuse for a restaurant), so they probably don’t read.

  6. Thanks for your reply. As it happens, I’m neither Yelper nor a friend of the restaurant. I’ve eaten there once, found their food to be mediocre and took issue with the fact that they hadn’t bothered to gather caloric or nutritional information about their meals. That’s a problem for me, so I haven’t returned.

    And while I certainly can and do respect your body of work, I’m also intimately familiar with the media beast and therefore understand how successfully sitting at the intersection of a publication’s never ending thirst for content (especially web) and a publicist’s need for press (leading to comped meals at most places, I’d imagine) can greatly assist one’s career throughout various media outlets, but doesn’t automatically mean that a writer’s taste is universal, always correct or appropriate.

    That being said, again, when you are forced to marginalize customers (or commenters) to support your views as a food critic, you might want to step back and look at how you are approaching it. A better way to have handled your review of Skinny Fats would have been “Hey, I didn’t like the place, here is why. But it’s popular because it’s the only game in that part of town. For the health conscious eater, here are better nearby recommendations and why.”

    Instead, you basically said “this place is stupid and anyone who disagrees with me is a fucking moron.” Which takes me to my original statement, most food critics who have any degree of resume often become elitist to the general’s public’s taste and out of touch with the point of why they are writing: to improve it.

  7. Most so called “foodies” grew up eating mac and cheese (the one out of a box) and cheap cold cut sandwiches. In short if you did not grow up in a home where when you walked in after school to the aroma of a dish and the clattering of mom/dad in the kitchen was the most familiar normal thing in the world, then really you know nothing about food, nor can you. Food and taste is not something you learn by reading urban spoon or the like. ( outside the rare supertaster) Senor Curtis by your comments and writings I can only assume, that you had that lucky experience as I did. Your sidekick, I am not so sure about.

    This is why food dorks in black shirts line up an Pho Kim Long and not Pho 87, and as it appears Skinny Fat trying to hard to be a cool contradiction of a place to eat.

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