John Curtas is …

Happy Chinese New Year!

ELV update: Since posting this review, we’ve returned to 1900 Asian Cuisine twice and encountered laughably poor service on both occasions, as documented in our “Letters of the Month-Hospitality Hell” post above. (It was atrocious even as measured against the relatively low bar set by ethnic Chinese restaurants in general.) As a result of these unfortunate experiences — ranging from a non-existent waitstaff to half our order being unavailable or forgotten about — we can no longer recommend the restaurant. For the masochists among you, read on and let us know if things change.

1900 Asian Cuisine Reigns Supreme

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In celebration of the Year of the Horse, we at ELV thought we’d do a little celebrating of our own by proclaiming the the new holder of the coveted “Best Chinese Restaurant in Town” title.

The votes are in and the critics* have spoken. And while the public (and by “public” we mean white people) hasn’t quite caught on to the fact yet, this new vanquisher of competing  Chinese vittles has verily vexed various viands as it has vied  to vesicate  other ventures and vault to veneration and victory.

Or something like that.

So with apologies to China MaMa (and those who hate alliteration), the new grand Chinese champion is….drum roll please….1900 Asian Cuisine!

Yes food fans, three recent meals there (sandwiching one at CM), have confirmed what we suspected after our first bite several months ago: Jimmy Li’s reincarnation of his now-defunct Three Villages restaurant — located a floor below the old location and with a much bigger menu — is beating MaMa at her own game. And by “own game” we mean putting forth the tastiest dumplings and Northern Chinese noodle dishes this side of Monterey Park, CA.

Props will always be given to CM for introducing this dumpling and noodle-centric cuisine to our humble burg, but it must be said that the aforementioned xiao long bao here are juicier, thinner, richer and more nuanced of flavor than MaMa’s.

Whether you get the pork dumplings pictured above, or the pork and crab stuffed ones:

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…you will be in for one astonishing bite after another. Deign to devour them directly, however, as these delightful and doughy drops of deliciousness devolve dramatically if you diddle with their destiny.  Translation: eat ‘em while they’re hot, because as soon as they cool off (which only takes minutes), the silky, melted, pork-rich gelatinous broth loses some of its savoriness.

Sorry for being so didactic — not to mention diagrammatically devoid of dysphagia — but as long as we’re issuing decrees, we must declare the hot and sour soup:

Hot and sour superiority

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…as rich, sour and peppery a version as we have ever devoured.

After four visits we still can’t think of a single bite that disappointed (we even liked something called “tree fungus salad”) and every dish coming from this kitchen has a vibrancy to it that is as far from your standard kung-pao-sweet-and-sour joint as Chinese imperial garb is from a Mao jacket.

Best of all, for us gringos, all of these tasty delights are pictured  on a full-color, multipage menu — to relieve that ancient white person malady known as Chinese menu anxiety — and you pretty much see what you’re going to get. What the menu doesn’t tell you, though, is how damn tasty everything is.

So, whether you’d like a slick and salty green onion pancake:

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…or these firm and flavorful garlic shrimp:

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…or some slow-cooked and stuffed lotus root:

Interesting mouthfeel, odd taste

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….which is really more about texture than taste — a Chinese thing that — or this rolled up green onion pancake with beef:

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…you will be getting the best versions of them this town has to offer.

Yes, you heard us right. As Mad Max said: the dumpling and noodle-centric menu here surpasses China MaMa’s for sheer Shanghai slurping supremacy. CM remains solid (we’ve eaten there in the last month as well), but can’t match this Shanghai surprise for sheer dumpling deliciosity and noodle notabilia.

The only problem we’ve found here is with the so-so service. But going to a Chinese restaurant and expecting crackerjack service is like going to Adam Sandler movie and expecting to laugh. It may take longer than you’d like to get fed, and getting any attention beyond having your order taken is unlikely, but that’s not the point of this place.  You’re there for the food, period. Once those plates start arriving, and you get lost in a blizzard of bites, and a fight for every last morsel, you’ll forget about the mountain of dirty plates surrounding you, and the lack of napkins.

Gong Hei Fat Choy! (May prosperity be with you)

1900 ASIAN CUISINE

5115 Spring Mountain Road Ste 103

Las Vegas, NV 89146

702.998.8989

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

* By critics, we’re referring, of course, to the only two critics in this town who count: Max Jacobson and that bloviating gasbag who always writes in the third person.

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8 Responses to Happy Chinese New Year!

  • Went there for dinner tonight. Simply outstanding. This why I read this site, to get suggestions like this. Outstanding food, great value. Five of us got stuffed to the gills with very high quality food for less than $100. Gets my highest recommendation, for what that’s worth. I can’t wait to try out the rest of the menu.

    I know you’re feeling a malaise about posting these days, ELV, but when you make recommendations like this, you’re doing us all a huge public service. Thank you.

  • I’ve eaten there a few times and have to completely agree with your review except for one point. The xaio long boa in my opinion are better tasting at CM. Although they are prepared far better here and the soup has a more luxurious mouth feel, they are too “porky” for my taste. Even though CM sends them out sometimes half dried out and overcooked, I prefer the taste of them over 1900.

  • I do agree with george as well. CM does it better. The only thing I disliked on my visit was eating the beef roll. Salty and I could taste was the hoison? (duck sauce?) in the roll. You could’ve put any other ‘meat’ in there and you couldn’t tell that if it was beef or not. Which was to me, a mystifying act on itself to be unable to accept ‘is this really beef? Taste like duck!’

    Otherwise, service? Who cares. Its always about the quality of food in ethnic restaurants.

  • After reading rave reviews on your site about this restaurant I decided to give it a try. Absolutely piss poor establishment. I expect poor service at a Chinese restaurant but the service I experienced at this poor excuse for a restaurant was abominable. I thought perhaps the food would make up for the horrific service however that was a let down as well. The hot and sour soup was impressive however the various other dishes recommended by the waiter were horrible. They smelt funny, tasted horrible, and caked your mouth with salt. This restaurant review made me lose all respect for the palate I thought you had. You know nothing about cuisine.

  • This place is awful. Horrible service and horrible food. Any respect for your palate I might have had is gone. You know nothing about cuisine.

  • So here we are, in the 21st Century. It is rather stunning how often one can see definitive public reviews posted about a restaurant based on a single visit. It is no longer just about the experience the person had, but instead a damning of the restaurant as an entity. There is a screaming to be heard, and somehow “This place is awful” starts to become the new norm, instead of “My recent experience at this place was awful”. A poster loses credibility when they reach too far. And in this case, it is not just the restaurant, but the original reviewer as well!

    “You know nothing about cuisine” is such an absurdity that commenting on it might be lost on the author of the line. But at least the author knows that we noticed.

    Perhaps this is where always have been as a culture, and it is simply the modern age in which one can so easily get their opinion into public domain that brings it to light. “Yelpification”? Maybe that can weave its way into a future edition of Webster’s.

  • My experience at this restaurant was not a positive one at all. Bad service and good all around. I will point and laugh when I see this place go out of business.

  • I ate at HK Star soon after here(see above comment) and had a piece of one inch dirty metal tear into my gum while eating their Singapore Noodles at lunch. The guys at HK Star offered to make me another and were amused at the situation. I was stunned . Someone less astute would have ended up in the hospital with a torn esophagus or gastric perforation. I’m laying off Chinatown for a while. Especially after hearing about how filthy the kitchens are.

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