It’s not even officially Summer yet and the mercury has already topped 100 degrees for a solid week.
ELV is glad the days are heating up, because that’s the only thing that’s hot in Vegas these days.
Our restaurant scene may seem muy caliente to some — with Daniel Boulud, Guy Fieri, Mathias Merges and Giada What’s-Her-Name all opening new joints in the last two months — but it’s still pretty boring with a capital “B” from where we’re sitting.
Think about it. No matter how many Food Network stars grace us with their twice a year presence, it is still a far cry from what our humble burg experienced between 1998-2008. Try as he might, ELV has a tough time getting excited over Giada and Fieri (as solid as his new place is), especially when compared to the salad days of Joël Robuchon, Michael Mina, Pierre Gagnaire and Guy Savoy.
Bar food, small plates, insufferable noise levels, and “C” level chefs masquerading as “A” list celebrities are all Vegas is selling these days, and any thoughts of us ever becoming “Restaurant City” have faded faster than ELV’s hopes for a 36″ waistline.
So, while we’ve implored you to go to Yusho, and crowed about the delights of DB Brasserie, we’re still feeling very tentative about where all this is going. Both of these joints will struggle in the short term to find their audience, while Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar and Giada’s are where the action is right now. (Fieri is averaging over a 1000 covers a day; Giada’s is expected to do likewise.) The fact that Boulud and Yusho are cooking better, more interesting food means nothing to your average turista.
It was those un-average turistas that beckoned and supported the Robuchons the Pucks and the Savoys ten years ago, but they don’t count in the casino’s eyes anymore…or at least not nearly as much as the fawned over, non-gambling, non-spending, cool-at-at-all-costs Millennials.
We’re not ready to abandon all hope for that generation (ELV has two children that fall squarely within it)….yet, but until they show a desire to eat in places with professional service, a decent wine list, conversation-conducive noise levels and actual, sanitary tablecloths, we’re consigning them to a lifetime of teeny tiny locavore tastings in the hipster hovel of their choice.
As for ELV, he’ll be writing about food when the quality merits it. That means you shouldn’t expect him to get excited about another Honey Salt or celeb chef photo op. That’s what free magazines are for.
As for EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants: It looks like 2013 will have been our last edition. Max Jacobson (god bless him) is making progress from his horrific accident, but still isn’t up to the task, and Al Mancini (who had no such excuse) really wasn’t up to the task either.
By the end of summer, we hope to incorporate our contributions to the three editions of the book into this Web site, and provide you periodic updates of our Top 50, plus any changes to existing reviews that we feel are merited.
For the time being, we’ll cool our heels until SLS Hotel opens towards the end of the year (it could be the second coming of The Cosmopolitan), and try not to get depressed about how much the downtown dining scene really, really, sucks (we’re hoping Carson Kitchen, opening this week, will provide it a much needed shot in the arm).
In the meantime, you can share our pain on Instagram: @johncurtas, Twitter: @eatinglasvegas, and Facebook (although we’re almost maxed out on “friends” due to their 5,000 friend limit)…. if you want to keep up with where we’re eating on a daily basis….and what we think about it.
R.I.P. Pinot Brasserie. We’re sorry it took us seven years to rediscover the joys of Eric L’huillier’s cooking.
Death Watch: Wild (someone needs to put this gluten-free disaster out of its misery)
The List (where we’ve eaten in the past month):
Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar
Wild (see above)
MTO (total hit or miss when it comes to quality control)
O Face Doughnuts
Bin 702 (the only place to drink good wine downtown)
Nevada Chicken Cafe (in the running for the worst restaurant in town)
Serendipity 3 (never again)
Zen Japanese Curry
Rodeo Las Reyes de la Barbacoa estilo Hildago:
(2115 N. Decatur, 702.638.1100 — the best tacos in town, bar none)
John Mull’s Meats and Road Kill Grill
Memphis Championship Barbecue
Art of Flavors Gelateria
Kuma Snow Cream
Scullery (our new favorite watering hole)
Yasou Greek Grille