ELV note: We temporarily halt our regularly scheduled programming (i.e. a tour through the izakayas of Las Vegas) to bring you this special announcement (more like a brief rumination on the state of downtown dining):
1. an excessively greedy eater
Synonyms: gourmand, overeater, big eater, gorger, gobbler, pig, chowhound.
Nouns: gluttony, gluttonousness, hoggishness, crapulence, greed, greediness, voracity, rapacity, edacity.
Verbs: be gluttonous, gourmandize, gorge, overeat, engorge, cram, stuff, fill, guzzle, gobble, devour, gobble up; eat like a horse, eat out of house and home.
Adjectives: hungry, voracious, edacious, omnivorous, crapulent, swinish, gorged, overfed, insatiable.
In terms of unappetizing names for a restaurant, “Glutton” ranks somewhere between “overeater” and “crapulence” on ELV’s scale of distasteful monikers.
In terms of graphic design, the above sign looks like it belongs in a food court.
But we’re willing to suspend disbelief long enough to give this place a fair shot.
Because downtown needs another destination restaurant like Steve Wynn needs Asian gambling addicts.
Carson Kitchen, good as it is, can’t sustain a food revolution with its puny 50 seats. Nor can the various misfires at Container Park, the generic sushi at Bocho, or the delicious sandwiches at The Market.
Downtown needs another venture that makes foodies and foodie-wannabes say: “Ya gotta go to _____, it’s the bomb!” (or whatever is hipster jargon for the bees knees these days). It’s all about symbiosis or critical mass or synergy or whatever touchy-feely phrase you want to use, but the point is, you can’t revive a neighborhood with a single eatery any more than you can have pub crawl with one bar.
East Fremont became hipster heaven when lots of bars saw Millennial gold in them thar streets. Downtown Cocktail Room, The Griffin and Beauty Bar kicked things off, but they were a forlorn presence (albeit very successful ones) until Commonwealth, Scullery, Park on Fremont et al came along to make this area buzz-worthy (and worthy of a buzz) .
But as much as we like the vittles at MTO and EAT (and the coffee and doughnuts at O-Face) , they are breakfast/lunch spots only, and do nothing to keep the joint jumpin’ after the sun goes down.
Into this vortex of diminished expectations comes one Bradley Manchester. From his bio he seems to have extensive experience in feeding lots of people large quantities of food as fuel on any given day. (Stints at Green Valley Ranch and Cosmopolitan certainly train you for that.) Whether he has the chops to put out a menu that will have people lining up to eat it (who haven’t bought a buffet ticket), remains to be seen.
The name and signage alone give us pause — if that’s all he could come up with (an odd, semi-offensive name and graphics that could’ve come from a failed franchise), can he really make a menu that matters? A menu that will have critical as well as popular success?
The jury is out (until the place opens in another couple of weeks), but we’re pulling for him. No matter what bad advice he’s taken about the exterior, he still has a chance to make his mark. The place looks to be coming together inside:
….and if he realizes there’s a market to be tapped into down there of people who want to be impressed with what’s on their plate, he could become a worthy rival to CK.
People’s food IQ is so much higher than it was a dozen years ago, you can’t get away with the tried and trite anymore. Even the fast casual chains know they have to bring something fresh to the party these days. And if you’re going to draw folks downtown, you have to give them a good reason to brave the inconvenience of going there.
We hope Mr. Manchester gets this message. Bocho didn’t. Bocho is built on the premise that a sushi bar (to be fair, a really good looking sushi bar) serving the same old sushi and rolls you can get in any mall all over town would be enough to draw customers. It may make money but it won’t make a mark. Because we don’t live in an I Love Sushi universe anymore. Kabuto took care of that. California rolls are something your parents ate. And badly cut fish won’t cut it anymore, either.
The message: Get a clue or get back to the ‘burbs. Or better yet, stay on the Strip where the paychecks are higher and the headaches less intense. More than ever, we’re convinced downtown dining will be about bringing your “A” game and living above the store. You can’t phone it in like Park on Fremont; you have to have a vision and stick with it and gut it out.
Are you listening, Bradley?