Archive for the ‘Chefs’

The 50 Essential Restaurants – Number One

July 28, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Critics, EATING LAS VEGAS - The 50 Essential Restaurants, Food, Reviews No Comments →

INTRODUCTION

Here it is food fans: The unbridled, unvarnished, unimpeachable list of the top 50 restaurants in Las Vegas. The essentials. In order of excellence. Unfettered by Max Jacobson’s loathing of all things Japanese, or Al Mancini’s insistence that a hamburger deserves the same respect as haute cuisine.

Yes, we have gone from a oligarchy to autocracy, but we at ELV prefer to think about it as a benign dictatorship — one that applauds substance, talent, and hard work over hype.

As owners of the book EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants will note, much of the text is taken from our portion of the book. But we have made cuts and edits where appropriate (e.g. Valentino has closed and Marche Bacchus lost its chef and the food there no longer warrants top ten status), and will roll out our current top 10, one at a time, over the next week or so.

THE TOP 10

1) JOËL ROBUCHON
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I hate Joël Robuchon and his dastardly henchmen. Especially Claude Le Tohic and Steve Benjamin – I really hate those guys. They are evil wicked men who deserve to die, smothered in a glistening vat of torchon de foie gras of their own making.*

Night after night, they lay in wait. Beseeching me. Haunting my thoughts, tempting every fiber of my body. It starts with the Bordier butter. Then they hook me with the incomparable bread basket. “The first one’s free,” is what they whisper. From that point on, all resistance is futile. How can truffled langoustine taste any more of either? What devil worshipper concocted beef cheeks braised with red miso in cocotte?

Dishes like risotto of soybean sprouts or roasted duck and seared foie gras with cherries-and-kumquat compote lead me to the flame like a helpless hungry moth. This food is so intense and so faultless, it will destroy your capacity to appreciate anything less.

Someone needs to do something about how fat I am, and getting rid of this place would be a good place to start.

Favorite Dishes: Roasted Farm Chicken With Château Chalon Cooked In Cocotte; Delicate Green-Pea Cream With Fresh Mint And Bacon; Chocolate Ganache Topped With Carrot Coulis And Almond Ice Cream; Caramel Crème And Toasted Waffles Mixed With Fresh Berries And Swirled Vanilla Blackberry Ice Cream. Basically the whole friggin’ menu.

JOËL ROBUCHON

In the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino

702.891.7358

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

* Uh…hold on…wait a minute….that’s the way I want to die.

CARSON KITCHEN is Kerry’s Crowning, Crowd-Pleasing Achievement

June 30, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Food, Openings, Reviews 8 Comments →

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Kerry Simon and I have had a rather prickly relationship over the years. We both like each other on a personal level, but he hasn’t always liked what I’ve written and I haven’t always liked what he has cooked.

That said, we have a certain wary respect for the other’s craft — which usually leads us to warmly greet each other — even if, two minutes after hugs are exchanged, we start debating one of his recipes or one of my sentences.

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GIADA – THE RESTAURANT (Where the Suits are Picking Up the Bill)

June 23, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Food, Openings, Reviews 16 Comments →

Squirrel Nut Zippers "Suits Are Picking Up the Bill" directed by Norwood Cheek from Norwood Cheek on Vimeo.

It’s pretty hard to feel sorry for a celebrity chef — especially one who’s led as charmed a life as Giada De Laurentiis – but that was our primary response after reading a recent article on her trials and tribulations in trying to get things done her way at Giada – The Restaurant.

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Celebrity Chefs Doing It Right on Channel 3

June 22, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Food, Openings, Wake Up With the Wagners 1 Comment →

Summer Doldrums

June 09, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Celebrity Chef Hell, Chefs, Openings, Rant, The List 15 Comments →

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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.

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GUY FIERI Gets It Done

May 29, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Events, Food, Openings, Reviews 5 Comments →

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When you’re a human cartoon, it’s tough to be taken seriously.

When your pedigree springs from the louche environs of UNLV and the middle-brow banality of Johnny Garlic’s (not to mention those dens of sophistication: Sacramento, Santa Rosa and San Jose, et al, (wherein this franchise fits like stretch pants on a soccer mom), serious gastronomes consider your cooking  (if they consider it at all) unworthy of their time or calories.

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Hot Hostesses Watch – BIN 702 + A Few Thoughts on Downtown Dining

May 25, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Food, Hot Hostess Watch, Openings, Wine 13 Comments →

LaLa and LoLo (we kid you not — those are their actual names*) are two big reasons to do all of your fine wine tasting at BIN 702 in Container Park.

The other is: all bottles of wine are 1/2 price on Sundays and Wednesdays.

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DB BRASSERIE Deliciously Beckons

May 15, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Food, Liquor/Liqueur/Libations, Openings, Reviews, Wine 8 Comments →

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ELV note: Daniel Boulud is back, and gastronomes everywhere are licking their chops. But before we dive into reviewing his new spot db Brasserie (opened just three weeks ago), perhaps a little history lesson is in order.

When it was announced ten years ago that Daniel Boulud would be coming to Las Vegas (at the Wynn Hotel and Casino), no one in Las Vegas was happier than yours truly. When the Daniel Boulud Brasserie opened there in May of 2005, no one was a bigger fan or more loyal customer.

When Philippe Rispoli — the on-premises chef de cuisine who made the restaurant hum — was shown the door in ‘o7, things went downhill rapidly. Between the Wynn’s wanting to steak-i-fy the place, and a kitchen crew that had neither the heart nor the chops for true French food, it was pretty much a relief when they closed the joint (on July 4, 2010), so as to no longer sully the name of one of America’s greatest chefs.

But Boulud — being neither a fool nor a bad businessman — knew there was still gold in them thar hills; he just needed the Great Recession to recede a bit more before throwing down for another try in our humble burg. This time he’s maintaining more control (he owns the restaurant in partnership with the hotel, we’re told), and this time he’s gonna stick.

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You Should Go To YUSHO

April 21, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Food, Openings 7 Comments →

Matthias Merges Makes Merry Mixology

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Draught Cocktail Degustation

Bold, compelling, uncompromising, intense, and one-of-a-kind were just a few of the phrases that leapt to mind as we sampled about 40% of Yusho’s menu last week — and all six of the house-made, draught cocktails pictured above.

“Totally unlike anything the Strip has seen since China Poblano opened in 2010,” was the other.

To say that we were impressed is an understatement. To say we weren’t expecting to be would be equally accurate.

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In the News: EL SOMBRERO Closes, WILD Gets Tamed

April 14, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Food, Wake 2 Comments →

After a 64 year run, Las Vegas’s oldest restaurant has closed its doors for good. José and Teresa Aragon (who took the business over from Jose’s uncle, Clemente Griego, in 1970), have fried their last sopaipilla and ladled their last batch of  sweet and smokey salsa.

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