Archive for the ‘Openings’
If you want to know what’s wrong with the Las Vegas restaurant scene, look no further than the unexplainable, head-scratching popularity of SkinnyFATS — an office-park, hole-in-the-wall, “concept” operation off Dean Martin Drive that serves junked-up, under-seasoned and over-thought food that mimics the faux-industrialized interior and fake tastes of its customers.
It is food perfectly geared to a generation that thinks it’s smarter than it is.
It is food that doesn’t have a clue about quality.
It is food that gives the clueless poseurs of the Millennial Generation the cuisine they deserve.
Where oh where to begin?
Let’s start with the customers, shall we?
An opening down on the Eastern/215, of a unique, rustic pizza place leaves everyone asking the same question, “This isn’t the first location?”
Opened about 10 months ago and a good 25 miles away, Novecento the First is nestled far, far, far, far further than anyone should consider driving for a slice of ‘zah. Hence the limited audience, until Novecento the Second opened a few weeks ago. Good word after good word got me in there, and I’m really glad I did.
Having spent the last few weeks getting blasted with semi-encouraging Facebook food photos from half of my friends list, I was encouraged enough to take an evening out to Tivoli Village’s newest “place that probably uses a chalkboard for a permanent feature somewhere”, aka Big-money-backed trendy restaurant. I was mildly entertained by the idea of a butcher shop/bar downstairs, and I was even going to go to the media event pre-opening. I missed out on the free E&R branded Victorinox chefs knife with the tote bag, but plans changed when I had to go watch doctors pull a medical oddity the size of a lemon out of my brother’s brain (he’s fine now, and I already had that exact knife anyways). Well, I made it out and my first impression was…
The name is made up, contrived by management and conceived by contest — a competition, we were told, among employees to come up with a unique-sounding name. The name is catchy alright, but it also tells you nothing about the establishment. Thus, is the concept, like its cognomen , more than a bit confusing.
Through these doors on Las Vegas Boulevard South:
….standing in the shadow of both the Olympic Garden strip club (literally) and the Luv-it-Custard ice cream stand (figuratively), lies the best goddamned gelato ever to melt on a Las Vegas sidewalk.
The brainchild of pastry chef Desyreé G. Alberganti, these luscious concoctions are all made on premises, with all natural flavors, no additives, and a ton of passion — passion (and intensity) you can taste with every silky smooth spoonful.
It is gelato so good that we at ELV think it could soon challenge Luv-it for frozen dessert fabulousness on this little corner of our humble burg. (Truth be told, Luv-it-Custard hasn’t been the same ever since the original owner stopped manning the booth a few years ago. Now, it’s run by a bunch of teenagers and it tastes (and feels) generic.)
There’s nothing generic about AoFG, however, and after one bite of the cioccalato di pepperocino (chocolate spiced with the back-of-the-throat warming glow of peppers), you’ll be tempted to abandon that forlorn little shed around the corner forever.
Yeah, it’s that good.
ART OF FLAVORS GELATO
1616 Las Vegas Blvd. South #130
Las Vegas, NV 89104
What is a world renowned chef to do when the dining out public seems to be turning its collective back on the type of food experience he has spent his life perfecting?
And then he may tell himself: This is not my beautiful wife: this is not my beautiful house; how did I get here?
But get here, Rick Moonen did.
Something for everyone generally means nothing for any one. - ELV
The above photo is also there as proof positive that ELV loves Michael Mina – the chef and his restaurants. We like the guy, too, and consider the “Egyptian Wolfgang Puck” to be something of a genius in being able to pull off multiple concepts, in multiple locales, and keeping the quality of his product very high.
When you think about it, only Puck does it better, and Mina, now with 19 restaurants, is nipping at his heels.
Here’s a typical conversation ELV often has with his fellow food writers when discussing Chinatown:
Food Writer #1 (puffed up with his usual arrogance): “Have you been to (name any place on or alongside Spring Mountain Road)? My Chinese friends come here all the time, and I consider it the best blah blah blah….”
ELV: “Yeah, I was there the week they opened, and hit it for lunch at least once a month.”