Archive for the ‘Openings’
“I’m sorry, but we are no longer taking requests for media day,” the e-mail said.
“Wait. What?” we thought to ourselves. “You won’t give a little early access to Eating Las Vegas so we can get some first photos of your restaurants? DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?”
The fact is, the p.r. hacks and flacks running these things usually don’t. Which bothers us not at all.
Because the last thing you want when you go restaurant exploring in a shiny new Vegas hotel is to be followed around by some clueless bimbo.
So with that e-mail tucked into our pocket, we went anyway. Strolled in like we owned the joint, six hours before the official opening, to patrol the premises alone, without being herded like cattle with the various free-’zine freeloaders on property.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Who cares if she can cook?
After reading this bought-and-paid-for piece of public relations drivel today, we at ELV thought the record ought to be set straight about why restaurants like Giada’s should be approached gingerly, if at all, and always with a sense of healthy skepticism about what is really going on.
So, let’s go over the 7 Reasons You Shouldn’t Line Up to Eat at Giada’s New Restaurant: