John Curtas is …

Critics

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EATING LAS VEGAS 2017 is Here!

It’s here and you know you want it. You know you need it. You know you gotta gotta have it.

And it just-hit-the-shelves. like yesterday: The 5th edition of EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants – a concise, literate, irreverent, honest, meticulously researched tome that tells you where you should be eating and drinking in Las Vegas right now….and for the next year.

Everything you’ve come to know and love about Las Vegas’s only definitive dining guide is here:

  • The Top 10 (with several surprises in store)
  • The Rest of the Best (with 13 new entries added just since last Spring)
  • Chinatown (Updated and expanded with almost 20 pages of recommendations of where to get your Asian on.)
  • Steakhouses (Why we’re becoming the center of the steakhouse universe + our top 10 + shout outs to all the usual suspects.)
  • A new “French” section (Did you know there were 16 great French places in town? Neither did I until I wrote the darn thing.)
  • 17 Mexican joints rate a wave; 28 Italian ones do.
  • Expanded “Desserts” section
  • “Sushi” now merits its own chapter.
  • 8 full pages of “Cheap Eats” (Done under duress by yours truly; thank god for Mitchell Wilburn and Greg Thilmont.)
  • “Drinking Las Vegas” now gets a serious section, with Thilmont and young Wilburn weighing in on everything from coffee culture, to brewpubs to dive bars. (Cooler, more sober heads prevailed and they left the wine recommendations to me.)
  • And my favorite section of all, soon to become a fan favorite: “JOHN CURTAS’ BOTTOM 10”! Rather than give away too much, we’ll just quote our introduction to the chapter and let you find out for yourself who won this race to the bottom.

Do you enjoy overpriced tourist traps? Tired food? Dated decor? Giving hard earned dollars to celebrity chefs who are phoning it in? Then Las Vegas has you covered too! Not only does Sin City boast dozens of the world’s greatest restaurants, it also hosts more htan a few half-baked concepts, licensing deals with “name” chefs, and sad old warhorses, all of which exist to separate the gullible from their cash. Proceed to any of these at your own risk, and don’t say I didn’t warn you.

We at ELV are warning you:

Buy this book here or here

….to avoid that most dreaded of all eating-out fates: dining in Tourist Trap or  Celebrity Chef Hell.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

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

P.S. They make great stocking stuffers for the restaurant goer in your life….which is like everybody these days, isn’t it?

Finding the Frauds – John Mariani on the Absurdity of the World’s 50 Best List

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It’s that time of year again, when Restaurant magazine, an industry journal published out of London, names the “World’s 50 Best Restaurants,” an annual list so nonsensical as to make “Alice in Wonderland” seem like a serious guidebook.

Years ago I was invited to be one of the hundreds of judges for this awards program (and I was to pick the other North American judges), now made up of more than a thousand food writers, chefs and restaurateurs, and well-traveled gastronomes. Each judge casts seven votes, “three of which must apply toward restaurants outside of his or her home region. Voters must have dined at a restaurant within the past 18 months.”  After that first year on the panel I realized the whole thing was a farce, for several reasons.

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EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants is Here!

imageTwenty-one years ago, I started writing about the Las Vegas food and restaurant scene.

First with my weekly gig on Nevada Public Radio, and then with every magazine and weekly published in town, I started amassing a library of meals, reviews, experiences, tastes, and sensations that would one day give me the storehouse of information needed to catalogue all of the noteworthy eateries surrounding us.

For years, I imagined the book would be entitled “The Restaurants of Las Vegas,” and for years I knew I would be the one to write it. (Whether anyone would read it was never in doubt, given the booming popularity of Vegas and its food scene throughout the 90s.)

But the 90s came and went, and then 9/11 hit and put a damper on things, and by the early aughts my dream had receded to but a whisper in the back of my brain —  a receding hum of hope that maybe, someday, Las Vegas residents and tourists would have reliable guide to tell them where to find the best food in town. And again, through it all, there was no doubt in my mind who would be the one to write it. (It never occurred to me that I would need help to write it, but as it turned out, I did.)

When Alain Ducasse (2004) and Joël Robuchon (2005) arrived, it signaled the start of a French Revolution of a different sort. Soon thereafter, Guy Savoy and Pierre Gagnaire expanded their brands here, and suddenly the whole world was paying attention to our culinary scene, and taking it much more seriously than it had before, even eclipsing the interest shown after the Bellagio opened in 1998.

Michelin came and went in ‘o8 and ’09, but still no book from yours truly.

I had pretty much given up on my authorship ambitions when Al Mancini approached me in the Spring of 2010 and asked if I was interested in doing a dueling critics thing in a book with him and Max Jacobson. Seeing a chance to finally do what I’d dreamed of doing for fifteen years, I jumped at the chance. From the get-go, I’ve always been more than a little proud that the book takes its name from this web site. (That original title was a bit stuffy, after all.)

Now, after a three year hiatus, we’re back with a bigger, better and more wide-reaching book than ever before. God bless Al Mancini for thinking of it, and Huntington Press for publishing it, and my new co-authors for diving in with me to re-start the franchise.

You can order it now from Amazon.com, or from the Las Vegas Advisor bookstore if you want the best price.

If you travel to Las Vegas, or live in Las Vegas, or eat out in Las Vegas, or know people who do, or wonder about being in Las Vegas and/or eating in Las Vegas, you need this book.

I guarantee it will make you hungry, and take care of any arguments you ever have about “where should we eat?”

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