Archive for the ‘Reviews’


April 07, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Food, Openings, Reviews, Spring Mountain Road 11 Comments →

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Lobster pho photo by Sam Morris

Eating Las Vegas has often wondered whether Vietnamese food in America is the ultimate revenge for that little dust-up we caused there in the 60s. They could never hope to outgun us, the thinking goes, so the expats figured they’d bore us to death with their cuisine.


The Goodwitch of the North

March 01, 2014 By: mitchell Category: Food, Openings, Reviews 2 Comments →

Damn man, damn.  I have been so consistently wowed by this place, that I’ve been going back about twice a week.  It does help that it is five  minutes away from my hip (and only slightly dangerous) digs in “The Downtown”, but I would drive from Summerlin consistently and even bear slumming it in Dino’s (and I REALLY don’t like Dino’s) to enjoy these seriously bad-ass sandwiches.


The British Invasion: CORNISH PASTY CO.

February 24, 2014 By: mitchell Category: Food, Openings, Reviews 2 Comments →

In the plaza that is host to Lotus of Siam, about a dozen other pan-asian restaurants, and even a few places where you might find local politicians and religious leaders.  But the newest opening isn’t a Thai place, a swingers club, or an alternative lifestyle independent theater at all!  It is the first Las Vegas location and fourth overall location of Cornish Pasty Co.

Yes, once again the Brits have started colonizing, straying from their conquered home-turf of Arizona.


Happy Chinese New Year!

February 05, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Events, Food, Reviews, Spring Mountain Road 8 Comments →

ELV update: Since posting this review, we’ve returned to 1900 Asian Cuisine twice and encountered laughably poor service on both occasions, as documented in our “Letters of the Month-Hospitality Hell” post above. (It was atrocious even as measured against the relatively low bar set by ethnic Chinese restaurants in general.) As a result of these unfortunate experiences — ranging from a non-existent waitstaff to half our order being unavailable or forgotten about — we can no longer recommend the restaurant. For the masochists among you, read on and let us know if things change.

1900 Asian Cuisine Reigns Supreme

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In celebration of the Year of the Horse, we at ELV thought we’d do a little celebrating of our own by proclaiming the the new holder of the coveted “Best Chinese Restaurant in Town” title.


“Crush” – Dave Matthews Band: The Restaurant

February 03, 2014 By: mitchell Category: Chefs, Critics, Food, Openings, Reviews 5 Comments →

Ah, the dulcet tones, the violin solo, the sweet as hell music video of some Utopian jazz club.  I was very excited to see the new joint in the MGM (taking over the Nob Hill spot) is named after my favorite song from one of my favorite bands, Dave Matthews Band (I call them DMB).  ”Crush” is a totally great song with good music in it, but will this tapas/wine bar be worth the square footage?

It’s a venture of Michael and Jenna Morton (of La Cave, La Comida, and the Morton Steakhouse Group [but only via familiar relation, not business]), but an interesting one.  The space itself is unusually cozy.  I was thinking it would be all bistro seats and techno music.  Yes friends, I am glad to tell you there is a semi-casual restaurant that isn’t pumping out Teen Disney or geriatric-core rock, but rather simple and soft jazz piano covers.

The interior here is cool, but cool in that way where you make a normal space and put a ton of vintage laboratory equipment in it to make it “hip”.  Like all darkened tapas/wine bars, it has already started to attract every lady over 30, probably by way of some kind of pheromone or emitting an extremely low frequency.

The menu, in a very uncharacteristic move for such concepts, is actually NOT a giant unfocused mess!  Twenty-three items are tapas (seven of which are pizzas, just thin enough to skirt the entree category), eight are “full-size” dishes.  More on the suspicious quotations around that term later in the article.

Some items, like the hamachi or the kale salad, are a bit phoned-in or could have benefited from some simple tweaks or additions.  These sour notes only punctuate an otherwise very unique menu.  The executive chef, William DeMarco, has taken the next logical step from his La Cave style with pizzas that leave his own flat breads in the dust.  The Thai coconut curry shrimp pizza, with asparagus and smoked bacon, is complexly spiced and surprisingly creative.


Top Chump

January 21, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Celebrity Chef Hell, Chefs, Food, Reviews 18 Comments →

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Tom Colicchio’s Heritage Steak was everything we thought it would be, and less. Calling it a copy of a copy is being kind.


Tacos on a Different Level

January 15, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Food, Openings, Reviews 3 Comments →

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We’ve taken our time with Desnudo Tacos.

We didn’t rush to go there when it opened back in early December, and have taken our good sweet time in taking the measure of the place.

Maybe it was our inherent anti-taco temperament, cynical street food snobbishness and predisposition to dislike endless south of the border permutations that made us more circumspect. It was those, of course, combined with our (usual) quick draw readiness to dismiss yet another trite, hipster, downmarket “joint” that promises more than it delivers.

So you might say we were lying in wait for it. Ready with sharpened keyboard(?)  to vivisect everything from the recipes to the lighting fixtures.


Our Favorite Italians – Restaurant Division

December 09, 2013 By: John Curtas Category: Food, Reviews, The List 15 Comments →

As long as we’re thinking like an Italian these days, this might be a good time to point you to ELV’S FAVORITE ITALIAN RESTAURANTS (Las Vegas Division).

The Top Five are, in order:

1. (toss up) Allegro (for Neapolitan cooking at its finest)/B & B Ristorante (for the best pasta in Vegas)

3. Carnevino – possibly the best steakhouse in the country; certainly the best Italian steakhouse in the country.

4. Rao’sItalian-American cooking at its finest

5. Buddy V’s – a worthy newcomer that, like Rao’s, does its Italian-American ancestry proud.

Special Honorable Mention:  Nakamura-Ya – which is technically a Japanese restaurant, but which does pasta better than just about any true Italian restaurant not named one of the above.

Some of you might be wondering about the omissions of perennial favorites Circo and Sirio, to which we can only say: one is closing soon (Circo) and Sirio is now being run exclusively by its hotel’s F & B department, with nary a Maccioni on site, save for an occasional p.r. appearance. None of these developments bodes well for the future of upscale, Italian eats in our humble burg.

Indeed, when considered along with the recent, without-fanfare closing of Valentino at the Venetian, and the shifting fortunes of whatever is going on at Piero Selvaggio’s flagship in Santa Monica, one might conclude that sophisticated Italian cooking is going the way of French haute cuisine in fast becoming a gastronomic artifact, as the great food of this gourmet mecca gets drowned under a sea of red sauce.

Which leads us to:


The Bottom 5 are, in order:


Face it. They’re all terrible and you know it.

Include Me Out

December 05, 2013 By: John Curtas Category: Food, Reviews 3 Comments →

To play it safe, stay away on all seven

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In case the fact that Sonio’s Cafe is, hands down, the most charm-free eatery in all of Las Vegas — serving food of astounding mediocrity* — isn’t enough, its owners see fit to greet you with this friendly reminder and enticing signage** right before you step foot on the premises.

Fairness in advertising would suggest that the sign should also warn you that the food tastes like it’s being cooked by Smith & Wesson too.

Fair warning is also necessary to dissuade you from buying a jar of Uncle Teddy’s** Giardenerra(sic) “G”:

Seasoning by Smith & Wesson too

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An oily (in an industrialized, hydrogenated greasy way), under-seasoned, barely-spicy and poorly-chopped mess, it tastes like something a bad home cook would throw together as an afterthought.

Like all the food here, it is a testament to cheap ingredients badly treated.

And that’s about all the time we’re ever going to waste on…


3900 West Charleston Blvd.

Las Vegas, NV 89102



* ELV is being kind.

** 8 to 5 has it that “Uncle Teddy” is a horse’s ass.

*** That gang of idiots over at Yelp, however, really, really like it.

BUDDY V’S Doesn’t Suck Like We Thought It Would

December 02, 2013 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Food, Openings, Reviews 4 Comments →

Leave the shells, take the filling

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Before we get to explaining the headline, a question:

Why are all cannoli shells as hard as a rock?