David knows his Weiners
ELV note: One of our favorite paisans – David Greco – who owns and runs Mike’s Deli on Arthur Avenue in da Bronx, was in Vegas recently, and filed this report (the kind we at ELV love to get from our favorite foodies) on some of his experiences. He also ends his mini-reviews with a question that often bugs us as well as our staff.
Having a craving for fancy French during my recent visit, I wound up at Twist. I dare say I was disappointed. Dreadfully boring room. OK sure, maybe great place to impress a hot brunette, but service was spotty. For example, no one removed the dirty plates from the entree course until the dessert course arrived.
Both appetizer (Pierre’s salad) and main (pork chop) were rather pedestrian. The pork chop was even on the dry side. The highlight was certainly the “grand” dessert. That was worth the price of admission. Frankly, I think if you want French in this town, there is little reason to go any farther than Robuchon and L’Atelier.
Bazaar Meat‘s praise is well placed. They are doing some really interesting stuff in there. I had the strip steak, and found it a bit boring. But a handful of appetizers and the sides were awesome. I sat at the bar near the charcuterie station and the chefs entertained me and sent some samples my way. The tuna carpaccio was unspeakably good. The dining room there is a bit too busy for my taste though. It seems like there is just some inefficiency in the wait staff where they are constantly running around.
I do have a question. Both Bazaar and Giada were “fully booked” when I approached the hostess stand without reservations. This wasn’t a problem at Giada, I just sat at the bar, but Bazaar does not offer a full menu at the bar. I sat at the bar at Bazaar anyways and the hostess fetched me a couple minutes later saying they had room. However, both rooms were half empty the entire time I was there. Why could neither seat me when the rooms were so empty?
It gruntles us to hear you loved Bazaar Meat (especially from a guy who knows his meatballs), and we agree with you about Robuchon and L’Atelier (although we think Guy Savoy must be considered in the same sentence as well). As for Twist, it appears you ordered á la carte — which is not the strength of that menu — but there is still no excuse for a dry pork chop at those prices.
To your question about “fully booked” (or the dreaded euphemism du jour, “fully committed”), we can only offer this tepid defense of the restaurants. In both cases, these places are in their infancy. Management has told us they have kept the reservations down, and don’t want to stress the kitchens beyond 50-60% capacity for the first month or so.
Given that both places are huge (Giada seats 225, Bazaar 350), and have extensive, labor-intensive menus, this caution is understandable until staff gets their feet on the ground.
Thus are we of two minds about these things. We sympathize with the customer who, like yourself, has traveled far to sample the (highly publicized) goods, and finds themselves being denied a seat when there are plenty to be had. On the other hand, we have four fingers and a thumb.
Seriously, we want to side with the restaurants here, but we must admit your annoyance is not misplaced, and further indication of the food factory mentality that is all too pervasive in Vegas. Anywhere else in the world, it would kill most restaurateurs to turn away a paying customer, but here in Sin City, they know there are plenty of fish ready to be hooked, in the barrel right behind you.