John Curtas is …

Wake

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Au Revoir ANDRE’S

imageEd. note: After eighteen years at the Monte Carlo Hotel and Casino, the last Andre’s will close its doors in early October — management having made the decision to close before the lease is up to make room for a gigantic Eataly to span the Strip side of the hotel. The good news is that Andre’s will soon resurface in a new location in the southwest part of town (in the space of a well-regarded local joint that has already relocated downtown), and that negotiations are underway to bring a casual bistro back downtown, only a stone’s throw from the original Andre’s location on Sixth Street. Below, I share some thoughts on my long and tortured relationship with the chef-owner of this culinary pioneer.

When I got the news last night that Andre’s would be serving its last Dover sole on October 5, it suddenly dawned on me that Andre Rochat and I have had a decades long, movie-of-the-week relationship straight out of a bad rom-com.

You know the kind: where a couple who each has been starved for affection meet cute, have a torrid affair, drift apart for years, miss each other terribly but won’t admit it, rediscover the flame, re-connect for what looks to be a long, steady relationship right up until they both disappoint then infuriate each other causing both to swear undying loathsome contempt for the other until one is found to have a disease that brings them back together even thought willful pride won’t let either one admit they made a mistake and  even though everyone is rooting for them to get back together and it’s only when one of them is leaving for good that both realize what they’ve been missing all along.

Yeah, that one.

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Odds, Ends and Veal Parmigiana

(No one can beat Enzo’s meat)

A few things as we head into the stretch run of this holiday season:

1) O-Face Doughnuts announced it’s closing at the end of the month, leading our staff to ask: If downtown can’t support a freaking doughnut shop, what gastronomic chances does it have? Answer: We haven’t a clue. Every time we were in O-Face (and that was dozens of times) it always seemed to have customers. Not wrapping-around-the-block numbers mind you, but a fair amount of folks ready to make their own O-face after biting into the pastries. Were they the best doughnuts we’ve ever had? No, but they were a damn sight better than any others in town. And the coffee was superb. Pity all around, and a real head-scratcher when it comes to predicting what, if anything, this signals for the future of downtown dining. Speaking of which…

2) The Smashed Pig is now open, on East Fremont Street, right across from the failed experiment that was Radio City Pizza. It’s another Downtown Project-funded operation, but initial visits have been very positive, with chef/owner Martin Smith firmly in control of a tight, controlled menu of the English pub food he has in his veins. Don’t miss his fish and chips:

…served with superior mushy peas, or his steak and ale pie, or the sticky toffee pudding:

 

The burger and beers are also top notch, and only the noise level gives us pause. (Tip: eat at the bar if you want to hear yourself think.) All and all though, TSP is a flat out winner, and a nice addition to your downtown dining options. Eating Las Vegas loves restaurants that are so much better than they have to be.

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