Archive for the ‘Celebrity Chef Hell’

Top Chump

January 21, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Celebrity Chef Hell, Chefs, Food, Reviews 18 Comments →

Picture 1 of 1

Tom Colicchio’s Heritage Steak was everything we thought it would be, and less. Calling it a copy of a copy is being kind.


The Beatings Shall Continue Until Morale Improves

October 08, 2013 By: John Curtas Category: Celebrity Chef Hell, Chefs, Critics, Food, Zines 13 Comments →

Picture 1 of 1

There’s a reason we’re leading off with a picture of the crave-able curry at Zen Japanese Curry, but before we get to that, let’s take stock of the continuing moribund state of the Vegas dining scene, shall we?


Celebrity Chef Takedown – OTTO ENOTECA

August 15, 2013 By: John Curtas Category: Celebrity Chef Hell, Critics, Food, Reviews 15 Comments →

ELV note: We’ve been consistently disappointed by Mario Batali’s more affordable offering at the Venetian ever since it opened. (A lunch there a little over a year ago had us longing for the enforced mediocrity of Canaletto — literally a stone’s throw away in the same shopping mall.) After a succession of paltry and pathetic pasta performances, we had a face to face with Molto Mario and his partner Joe Bastianich last fall and gave them details. In return, they made all the right noises and assured us that things would change. By the looks of things, they haven’t. Below, uber-foodie and Official Friend of Eating Las Vegas David Ross explains (in a tone more reasonable and less hyperbolic/venomous than you are probably used to at this web address) why this is just another celebrity chef money machine — to be avoided by anyone with anything but a company credit card and low expectations. (ELV wonders if, with their busy schedules, Mario and Joe ever actually taste their restaurant’s food)

A partnership between Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, (you know his Mother, Lydia, she cooks Italian on PBS), Otto Enoteca should be a soft introduction to guests of the marriage between Italian wine and quality ingredients crafted into familiar, yet authentic dishes. That’s one of the better aspects of what this restaurant should be. Yet the expectations of dining in the restaurant of a former “Iron Chef” is quickly tempered by reality. Otto Enoteca is both the best and worst of the Celebrity Chef culture in Las Vegas.


Bests and Worsts

June 28, 2013 By: John Curtas Category: Celebrity Chef Hell, Chefs, Food, Openings, Rant, Reviews, The List 20 Comments →

Best Night to Dine Out – Thursday

Worst Night to Dine Out – Saturday

Worst parking – MGM Grand

Worst Valet – MGM Grand

Worst Oversight in Posting This List Yesterday – Yonaka

Best Candidate for Best New Restaurant of 2013 (so far): (toss-up) Yonaka/Hops & Harvest


If Ever a Picture was Worth a Thousand Words…

June 22, 2013 By: John Curtas Category: Celebrity Chef Hell, Food Network 23 Comments →

This is the picture posted in the New York Times today about Paula Deen supporters lining up to support her and her restaurant in Savannah, Georgia.

We at ELV hate to get in the middle of racially sensitive issues, but there are dozens of reasons Paula Deen should lose her job at the Food Network, but being a late-middle-aged, racially-insensitive, inarticulate Southern white woman ain’t one of them.*


SIMON Sadly, Insufferably, Stupifies

June 16, 2013 By: John Curtas Category: Celebrity Chef Hell, Chefs, Food, Reviews 20 Comments →

Picture 1 of 1

Alan Richman once gave us the best piece of food writing advice we’ve ever received. “When it’s really bad,” he said, “just report the facts.”

So here goes.


Letters of the Month – The Unimpressiveness of Vegas Uncork’d

May 21, 2013 By: John Curtas Category: Celebrity Chef Hell, Events 9 Comments →

When Uncork'd was headed up not down - March 2008

Picture 1 of 2

ELV note: For the first time in six years, yours truly did not attend a single event at Vegas Uncork’d. In this past half-decade, we have gone from being both a participant and reporter at the event to one whose excitement about it ranks somewhere between our boredom over the interminable NBA playoffs and our disgust about whatever stupid country music award show is in town this week. This makes ELV sad — both for the event and himself — as there was a time he when he felt these four days in May would be the defining event in the history of the Las Vegas dining revolution. Alas, like Camelot, it was a fleeting aspiration that was not meant to be.


Fear and Loathing in Vegas Uncork’d

May 19, 2013 By: mitchell Category: Celebrity Chef Hell, Events, Food 10 Comments →

We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs… Oh wait, this is something else entirely, although I’m fairly certain I listened to “Sympathy for the Devil” at one point, and I recall there being amyl nitrate somewhere.

Tobey Maguire not included

The build up to this story held a great many undertones of personal danger, but mostly calling in favors, tracking down PR types and weaseling my way into whatever it is I could.  My fervor was motivated less by testing my true grit against a weekend of a gluttonous bacchanalia, although I am always eager to do that, but to test my earlier prediction about the Hubert Keller/Sarah Johnson Beer Garden being the best real event (“real” referring to any that isn’t a Michelin starred chef cooking a dozen-by-a-dozen degustation-athons).  Really, honestly, with the trend of overselling the food booth and TV chef selfie events AND making the grievous omission of any Le Cirque/Circo/Sirio things, I would say my prediction had sadly come to fruition.  Grand Tasting: consider the ball dropped.  It all kind of ran together…

Chicken livers, beef and octopus carpaccio, and crudo by... some guys I guess

This strange old French dude grabbed my rump because there was a tiny bottle of champagne in it. True Story.


NOBU, Negated

February 26, 2013 By: John Curtas Category: Celebrity Chef Hell, Chefs, Food, Openings, Reviews 22 Comments →

Nothing about this place is as good as its reputation. - Seymour Britchky

Picture 1 of 3

Nobu is the perfect example of what happens when a celebrity chef gives up, sells out and cashes in. It is the gastronomic equivalent of a once-innovative cook deciding to abandon his legacy to the highest bidder and spend his retirement padding around his culinary house in a succulent silk robe and savory slippers.

None of this is surprising. By now, everyone knows Las Vegas is where they all come when it’s time to settle back and rake in the cash, because our captive audience of 40 million yearly visitors are credulous enough to buy the hype and settle for what little substance they get. But, not being rookies to the celeb chef rodeo, Eating Las Vegas‘ savvy readers know that it is those customers who ultimately pay for the luxury that these (former) titans of gastronomy and their retainers enjoy.

Las Vegas is also where our brimming-with-cash casinos are more that willing to throw money at an established chef’s brand in hopes it will save them from the food and beverage disasters they inflict upon themselves when left to their own devices (cf. Wynn Hotel/Switch). The money men behind Nobu know this, so this is where they’ve decided to plant his flag one last time time before he sails into the Peruvian-Japanese sunset.


Ottavia Bourdain Has a Beef with Someone’s Meat

July 17, 2012 By: John Curtas Category: Celebrity Chef Hell, Chefs, Critics, Food, Zines 46 Comments →

ELV update: Well the mystery meat mystery has been solved folks! Susan Stapleton reported earlier today that Charlie Palmer, he of Charlie Palmer Steak fessed up and issued a public apology to Anthony and Ottavia Bourdain for the steak he served them 12 days ago.  And Bourdain graciously accepted. For the record ELV regrets his mistake in identifying the hotel the Bourdains were staying in. Had he been a more diligent reporter, he would’ve sought confirmation of the information he received.

Geez Louise! What a tempest in a teapot!

Anthony Bourdain and Ottavia Busia - 8th Annual Can-Do Awards Dinner

Ottavia Bourdain, whom Grub Street New York describes as “foodie  royalty” was in Las Vegas two weeks ago to take in a UFC match, shoot machine guns and drink a lot of Amaretto with her husband Tony. (more…)