John Curtas is …


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Vegas Aces – The Chefs Who Are Transforming Our Town

ELV note: The following article appears in this month’s edition of VEGAS magazine, and we can’t tell you what we’re prouder of: how great the chefs look, how good they sounded, and/or how much they’re accomplishing in our humble burg. Until we can figure out a way to link to the original article (and upload and better picture of all of them), continue below to read our interview with Daniel Krohmer (Other Mama), Howard Choi (Fish N Bowl), David Clawson (David Clawson), Daniel Ontiveros (Therapy), and Bradley Manchester (Glutton). Merci beaucoup to all of them, and to VEGAS for giving us such a plum (and worthwhile) assignment.

There is a revolution going on in Las Vegas. As revolutions go, it’s a quiet
one. But unlike most social upheavals, there is nary a bitter pill to swallow.
This revolution is chef-driven, but not by celebrity chefs. Its pioneers are
fiercely independent souls who have cut the cord and abandoned the safety net of the Strip to boldly go where precious few chefs have gone before: straight into the heart of the suburbs and Downtown Las Vegas. In the process, they’re redrawing neighborhoods around the Las Vegas Valley. When you ask these trailblazers why they made the bold, almost unprecedented move of opening a small, personal, chef-driven restaurant in the neighborhoods, their reasons are remarkably similar.

Howard Choi: I learned a lot from working seven years on the Strip, most notably with Rick Moonen at RM Seafood, and wanted people to enjoy good, Strip-quality dining and ingredients without having to drive down there for it. Until I worked [on the Strip], I had never really had the chance to work with really good chefs, but once I did, it really sparked my interest and gave me inspiration to open my own place.

Daniel Ontiveros: I wanted to show people they didn’t have to go to the
hotels to experience good quality product. There was a huge change I saw
coming when Glutton, Carson Kitchen, and Le Thai all opened Downtown.
I just wanted to be part of the boom and become part of the food community and help change the way Las Vegas eats.

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Bits, Bites, Bitings and Beginnings

ELV — the man, the myth, the Asian food maven — has been a bit under the weather recently. Actually, what he’s really been under is a number of dentist’s, dental hygienist’s, periodontist’s, and oral surgeon’s hands, as he’s struggled mightily to correct some malfunctioning molars in the back of his mouth.

And by “struggled mightily” we mean he’s been so full of novocaine, Xanax, diazepam, general anesthetics and Tramadol over the past ten days he barely knows his own name…much less what he’s chewing on.

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