Archive for the ‘Zines’


June 03, 2012 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Food, Wine, Zines 6 Comments →

ELV note: As you may know, we write the “So Many Dinners” column for VEGAS magazine — a column that highlights noteworthy restaurants from around our valley. This month’s feature explores the origins of Vintner Grill, and since the ‘zine isn’t running it on its website, we at ELV thought you’d might like to peruse the gustatory gusto with which we gratifyingly gallivanted to (and gushed over) this galvanizing grill.


It’s safe to say that when Vintner Grill opened on December 6, 2006, no one associated with the project had the slightest idea it would become Las Vegas’ most prominent neighborhood restaurant. Who could have predicted that its sleek interior and swanky bar were destined to become the hotspot for everyone from serious oenophiles to socialites to celebrity chefs? These days, it all feels like a forgone conclusion, and five years on, you are as likely to run into Nicolas Cage as you are a power broker on the gorgeous outdoor patio. And if you think you see Andre Agassi and Stephie Graf , Bette Midler, or Steve Wynn sitting in a corner booth, you probably do.


ELV Gets Cheesed Off

May 30, 2012 By: John Curtas Category: Critics, Food, Zines 23 Comments →

When a fellow critic says something truly idiotic (in print no less) along the lines of: “The cheeses at Morels are every bit as ripe and well conditioned as anything I’ve had at Robuchon or Savoy,” ELV has two choices: he can either let the stench of such know-nothingness hang in the air like the odor of sun-baked Limburger, or he can set the record straight (and, once again, call out the never-ending cheer-leading that passes for food reporting in our humble burg).

Guess which path we’re taking?


The Ghosts of the GOLDEN STEER

March 31, 2012 By: John Curtas Category: Food, Zines 8 Comments →

ELV note: The following story appears (albeit in highly truncated form) in the current issue of VEGAS magazine. Since they haven’t posted it yet on their website, we thought you might like to take a tour of this iconic eatery, as seen through the eyes of the owner, waiters and celebs who have populated it since 1958.

The Ghosts of the GOLDEN STEER

There are ghosts in the booths at the Golden Steer. Lots of them. Sit in any of them on a busy evening and they will work their charms on you.

Not at first, mind you, but soon enough. At first you won’t see them, or hear them (that will come later). Initially, all you will notice is a plaque or picture named after a very famous (and long dead) person. “Wow,” you’ll say to yourself, “this booth is named after Frank Sinatra.” Then you will look around and see another one with a picture of Marilyn Monroe above it, or John Wayne, or Joe DiMaggio, and you will start to wonder if these are more than mere decorations. “Oh yes, a waiter will tell you. “This is where they sat, and many of them had these booths named for them when they were still alive and coming here all the time.”


Diner Time Machine – PEPPERMILL

March 03, 2012 By: John Curtas Category: Food, Zines 3 Comments →

ELV note: The following article appears in the current edition of VEGAS magazine, but since we couldn’t find it online, our staff thought you might like to read it in this format.

Picture 1 of 1

Diner Time Machine

by John Curtas

The Peppermill exists within a space-time continuum of its own creation. What has become a time warp anomaly, burst upon Vegas’s restaurant universe on December 26, 1972 — when Richard Nixon was still celebrating his landslide second election, the Vietnam war was dragging on, and neckties were wider than a baby’s bib. On that day, William Paganetti and Nate Carisali opened an offshoot of their Reno “Peppermill Inn” in a free-standing building on Las Vegas Boulevard South, across the street from the Stardust Hotel and Casino. Little did they know they were boldly going where no restaurant has gone before or since.


101 Crazy-Awesome Desserts in Grub Street

February 14, 2012 By: John Curtas Category: Food, Zines Comments Off

ELV note: The following article appears in today’s Grub Street, and can be accessed in its original form by clicking here. Or you can scroll down to read it and continue to the slideshow on the Grub Street site. Congrats to Comme Ça, Crystal Whitford (Spago) and Theresa Gwizdaloski (RM Seafood) for their recognition. (Their desserts are numbers 55-57 of the slide show.)

Crystal Whitford’s Amaretto Eskimo Pie at Spago

It’s time to think seriously about sweets: When Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and the doldrums of winter (even one this mild) have taken hold, there’s something about dessert that speaks to everyone. And these days, more than ever, pastry is getting the due that it deserves: Food & Wine is launching a search for the country’s best new pastry chef; Top Chef keeps churning out seasons of its pastry-only spinoff; Johnny Iuzzini and Michael Laiskonis were rightfully heralded as stars when they recently departed their respective restaurants; and every other show on TV is about cake wars. We won’t call it a sugar renaissance, because dessert never went away, but pastry is undeniably playing a larger part in the culinary conversation than it ever has before.


Romantically Speaking, Things Have Changed Around Here

February 13, 2012 By: John Curtas Category: Wake Up With the Wagners, Zines 3 Comments →

ELV stumbled across an old issue of Las Vegas Life magazine last week — the February 1999 issue to be precise — and looked up an old article of his about the “Most Romantic Restaurants” in town for Valentine’s Day. Thirteen years ago, his top 10 spots for romantic dining were:

1) Suzette’s (In the Santa Fe Hotel – yes, this was our #1 romantic restaurants…yikes!)

2) Palace Court (In Caesars — still missed)

3) Top of the World (still spectacular)

4) Monte Carlo Room (the gourmet room in the Desert Inn)

5) Prime (which remains one of the most gorgeous restaurants anywhere – see above)

6) Aristocrat (anyone remember it?)

7) Ferraro’s (pink neon and all)

8) Terraza (Caesars – where Rao’s now sits)

9) Stefano’s (singing waiters and all)

10) Le Cirque (which shows we had some good taste and sense even then)

If you saw us on Wake Up with the Wagners last Friday, you saw our list of most romantic, price is no object places today now includes:

– miX

- Eiffel Tower Restaurant

- Twist by Pierre Gagnaire

- Picasso

- Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare

- Le Cirque

- Prime

- Sage

A list that has, on the whole, much better food and nary a sliver of pink neon in sight.

Where Romance is Always in the Air

February 07, 2012 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Events, Food, Zines 2 Comments →

ELV note: The following article appears in this month’s issue of VEGAS magazine, and can be accessed in its original, on-line form by clicking here, or you can continue reading below. If you’re considering eating at ETR this Valentine’s Day, you’d be well-served to make your reservation immediately…which might already be too late. Keep in mind though, that the restaurant is also open for lunch, and might have tables available for a midday soirée a deux!

Sin City turns into the city of love every Valentine’s Day, when Vegas’s five-star dining establishments prepare special menus for couples from all over the country wanting une table pour deux. And no place hits all the right love notes better than Eiffel Tower Restaurant.


What’s Next For Vegas? in Real Eats

February 06, 2012 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Food, Zines 6 Comments →

ELV has been a pretty busy boy lately, whipping out articles left and right for a variety of traditional and on-line media. As we said in an earlier post, the national and international media has stopped assigning our dining scene to the warmed-over steam table, and everyone seems interested in Las Vegas again.

Click here to read our take on the current status of our dining scene — written for Real Eats, Barbara Fairchild’s newest, online food ‘zine.

The 7 Best Restaurants for High Rollers?

February 03, 2012 By: John Curtas Category: Zines 4 Comments →

Click here to read our most recent interview in Business Insider about Vegas’ top tables for high rollers and other well-heeled gourmands.

As our loyal readers know, we could’ve easily listed 50, but the author, Matthew Kassel, wanted to keep the list within the range of lucky dice rolls.

FYI: this is the fourth interview/article we’ve done in the past couple of months for a national or international ‘zine about the fine dining scene in our humble burg. Each of them, including The Guardian in the United Kingdom, have wanted to know where the best and most expensive tables in in town are. No one was asking such questions two years ago.

Does this portend a possible resurgence of our fine dining scene? Are better times ahead? Can ELV look forward to more food and wine bacchanalian nights in his future — in the manner to which he has become accustomed?

Hope springs eternal.

Top Tastes of 2011 in Las Vegas Weekly

December 30, 2011 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Critics, Food, Las Vegas Weekly, Reviews, Zines 5 Comments →

ELV note: Click here to read this article in its original format, or scroll below to see what Brock, Jim and ELV thought were their top bites of 2011.

On the plate, it was a very good year. In revisiting their best bites of 2011, the Weekly food critics will get you salivating for 2012.


John Curtas

1. Oxtail Bucatini with Oxtail Sauce (Le Cirque, at Bellagio) This Gregory Pugin dish looks like a plain, savory custard but unspools to reveal bucatini strands hiding insanely rich braised oxtail. It’s a meat dish made by angels with a devilish calorie count, and it might be the biggest umami bomb of the year.

2. Roasted Sea Bass over Arugula (Due Forni, 3555 S. Town Center Dr.) Take a talented Italian chef (Carlos Buscaglia) and give him an 800 degree oven and a juicy piece of branzino—in a minute or two he can turn out a crispy, succulent seafood wonder, atop a bed of tangy arugula sprinkled with capers. The best off-Strip seafood dish I had this year.