John Curtas is …


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BOCHO – A Conversation

 ELV has it on good authority* that this was the exact, verbatim conversation that took place as Bocho was being conceptualized:

Owner: You know what downtown needs? A sushi bar!

Consulting Chef: Yeah! I remember that John Curtas-guy talking to people at the Downtown Project years ago and saying a sushi establishment would kill here. I think he even referred them to some top-drawer Japanese restaurateurs who might be interested.

O: Who needs top-drawer Japanese? Anyone can do sushi these days.

CC: Yeah, but we can’t do just any old, all-you-can-eat sushi. Our clientele is much too sophisticated for that.

O: You’re right! We need to dress it up and make it hipster sushi! By featuring all kinds of hip items like kaarage chicken, yellowtail ceviche, gyoza and all kinds of with-it “specialty rolls” like salmon skin roll and Philadelphia roll and….

CC: Uhhh….hate to tell you this, but those aren’t all that special.

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I’m Not Prejudiced, I Just Hate Everyone’s Opinion Except My Own

“Prejudice is a vagrant opinion without visible means of support.”
Ambrose Bierce

“Everyone is a prisoner of his own experiences. No one can eliminate prejudices–just recognize them.”
Edward R. Murrow

“How you look at it is pretty much how you’ll see it”

Am I prejudiced? You bet your sweet bippy I’m prejudiced. But unlike the the blindly opinionated, I like to think my biases are born of experience, not bigotry.

Put another way: I’m not easily impressed. And I do carry a certain “been there, done that” attitude into most restaurants these days.

Does that mean I can’t be objective? No it doesn’t and yes it does.

Because I don’t look at places through the wide-eyed amazement of some amateur….or the credulous, bought-and-paid-for acceptance of someone just happy to be getting free food.

And I do have a certain chip on my shoulder that comes from enduring thousands of p.r. pitches over the decades telling me how “amazing” some chef or his menu is….and then discovering it’s nothing but a re-hash of something done better (and a lot earlier) somewhere else by someone more talented.

Which is basically a long way of saying there are probably some restaurants I just shouldn’t bother with anymore. Because even walking into them, I know exactly what they’re doing and what I’m going to hate about them.

Like Hearthstone Kitchen & Cellars.

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EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants – 46. “The New” EL SOMBRERO


The old El Sombrero was Las Vegas’s oldest restaurant. It opened its doors for the first time in 1950, and was considered time-worn and venerable when, in 1970, Teresa and José Aragon took over and started cooking their unique brand of Mexican-meets-New Mexican food. After a 44 year run, the Aragons retired in April and sold the joint to Irma Aguirre. It reopened in August, and what she and Executive Chef Oscar Sanchez have done to the 43 seat space is nothing short of amazing.

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