Archive for the ‘Food’

EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants – Number Two

July 29, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Critics, EATING LAS VEGAS - The 50 Essential Restaurants, Food, Reviews No Comments →


In an Atlantic Monthly article entitled “Six Rules for Dining Out,” economist Tyler Cowen counseled avoiding any restaurant where “groups of people (especially beautiful women) are laughing loudly and having a good time.” Such an atmosphere indicates people are there for anything but the food.

Take solace in knowing that you will never encounter this at Guy Savoy. What you will find are gourmands and oenophiles taking their meal very seriously. Top toque Mathieu Chartron oversees all of the classics that made Guy famous—“Peas All Around,” artichoke truffle soup, and Guinea hen au cocotte—but also exotica like “Santa Barbara spot prawns caught in a sweet-and-sour fishnet” (a blanket of mesh-cut daikons), or wild salmon being “cooked” on a slab of dry ice—a conceit brought tableside that turns the fish into a density heretofore unknown by most fish lovers.

French chefs know foie gras like Koreans know cabbage and Chartron is no slouch in this arena either, offering small cubes of horseradish-topped foie over poached celery stalks dressed with “potato chip bouillon” that tastes exactly like it sounds. Put it all together with jaw-dropping bread-and-cheese carts, and you have food so impeccable that no one ever smiles—they’re too busy enjoying themselves.

Max Jacobson: “If pressed, I’d have to say I’d choose the intimate, art-filled Paris restaurant over this one for atmosphere, but what is on the plate is equal to Paris.”

Favorite Dishes: Marinated Grilled Hamachi With Egg-Sherry Vinegar; Eggplant Sherry And Radish Gelée; Oysters En Gelée. Pintade (guinea fowl); Peas All Around, Truffle-Artichoke soup; Colors of Caviar; Basically the whole friggin’ menu.


Caesars Palace


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 →


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.



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.


In the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino



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

The Original (and still the best) Caesar Salad

July 25, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Food, Wake Up With the Wagners 2 Comments →

Beat the Heat With KUMA SNOW CREAM on News 3 With Kim and Dana Wagner

July 18, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Food, Spring Mountain Road, Wake Up With the Wagners 1 Comment →

Yours truly gets to cough his way through a tasty segment on the best shaved ice in town — with good sports Kim and Dana Wagner — this morning on KSNV TV Channel 3. Ahhhh…the joys of live television.


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.


Great Food in Odd Places on KSNV TV – News 3 with Kim and Dana Wagner

June 27, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Food, Wake Up With the Wagners Comments Off

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.


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 →

GUY FIERI Gets It Done

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

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.


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.