EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants – 16. CHINA MAMA

August 19, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Critics, EATING LAS VEGAS - The 50 Essential Restaurants, Food, Reviews, Spring Mountain Road

16. CHINA MAMA

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China MaMa has settled comfortably into its skin of being our best Chinese restaurant, but that doesn’t prevent it from being the constant target of slurs and rumors along the lines of: “It’s not as good as it once was” or “No one goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.”

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Technical Difficulties Fixed

August 18, 2014 By: The Staff Category: Miscellaneous

Thanks to all who pointed out the broken links. The server maintenance changed a setting and rudely did not inform us. Those responsible for the temporary outage will be sacked, or at least forced to eat Hot Pockets washed down with some Yellow Tail Merlot.

EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants – 15. ALLEGRO

August 18, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Critics, EATING LAS VEGAS - The 50 Essential Restaurants, Food, Reviews

15. ALLEGRO

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‘Tis a pity what’s happened to upscale, authentic Italian food in our humble burg of late.

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EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants – 14. SAGE

August 12, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Critics, EATING LAS VEGAS - The 50 Essential Restaurants, Food, Reviews

14. SAGE

I’d like Sage a whole lot more if it weren’t so hideously expensive. Everything on the main dish menu — meats, fishes and pastas….yes, pastas — tops the forty dollar mark, which means you’ll top a buck fifty a head here without breaking a sweat.

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EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants – 13. JULIAN SERRANO

August 11, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Critics, EATING LAS VEGAS - The 50 Essential Restaurants, Food, Reviews

13. JULIAN SERRANO



Five years ago, Las Vegas went from having no good tapas in town to having two of the best Spanish restaurants in the country. This one just keeps getting better and better.

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Masa Would Be Mortified

August 08, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Celebrity Chef Hell, Food, Rant, Reviews

ELV note: We interrupt our regular programming — i.e., our march through the 50 Essential Restaurants of Las Vegas, in descending order –  to bring you a few words about Bar Masa.

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What you mainly feel, after the anger subsides, is a sense of relief. The sort of relief that only comes from knowing you’re free. Free from the pull of perfection. Free from dark thoughts that pull you back in, time and again. Thoughts of passions and pursuits. Chasing the high. Never getting enough.

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EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants – 12. CHINA POBLANO

August 07, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Critics, EATING LAS VEGAS - The 50 Essential Restaurants, Food, Reviews

12. CHINA POBLANO

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From the moment you glimpse the groovy-cool interior, you know you’re in for some mind-bending Chinese and Mexican food, provided by a mix-and-match menu created by Chef Jose Andrés. To be fair, José Can You See (Vegas)? comes around about as often as I go to Madrid these days, but give him a break. He’s got a restaurant empire to run, and run it well he does.

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EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants – 11. YONAKA

August 07, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Critics, EATING LAS VEGAS - The 50 Essential Restaurants, Food, Reviews

11. YONAKA

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Yonaka is the type of restaurant that couldn’t have existed in Las Vegas ten years ago.

Like all upscale Asian joints, it owes a debt of gratitude to 2013 Chef of the Year Mitsuo Endo for educating the minds and palates of the fledgling restaurant consumer. Without Raku paving the way six years ago, the appetite for intriguing Japanese food would remain but a tiny niche in our local food world. As it is, Yonaka took a page from Raku’s playbook, and tweaked it according to Ramir DeCastro’s own playful (and fruit-friendly) sensibilities – making Yonaka’s food even more fun and accessible than Raku’s.

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EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants – Methodology

August 06, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Critics, EATING LAS VEGAS - The 50 Essential Restaurants, Reviews

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ELV note: Before we continue to list the Top 50 Essential Restaurants of Las Vegas, our staff suggested we say a few words about the standards and methodology we are employing.

Put another way, they suggested we give you a brief look into the palate-parsing predilections and prejudices of ELV, in order that you might suss some sense and sensibility out of our serialization of our fundamental foodie favorites.

TOP 10

The Top 10 are the ne plus ultra of restaurants in our humble burg. They are the elite, the best of the best. Food, service and decor on par with any great restaurant in America, with prices to match (except for Raku/Sweets Raku – which remain a flat-out bargain). To crack the Top 10, a restaurant must be consistently excellent, almost flawless for a substantial period of time — with technique and ingredients providing a world-class experience.

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Chefs Tough As Nails? We Don’t Think So.

August 05, 2014 By: John Curtas Category: Chefs, Critics, Rant, Zines

Never confuse the size of your talent with the size of your paycheck. – Marlon Brando

All wish to have knowledge, but few are willing to pay the price. – Juvenal

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ELV note: Chef John Tesar’s feud with restaurant critic Leslie Brenner of the Dallas Morning News has been getting a lot of traction lately. In response to it all, a certain anonymous Dallas chef posted this missive on line, siding with Tesar (complete disclosure: JT is a Facebook friend and a chef we hold in high regard), and calling out Brenner in a number of ways. Both it and our response are probably a bit over-the-top, but both he (the anonymous Dallas chef, NOT John Tesar) and Eating Las Vegas have some rather strong, contrary opinions which we at ELV thought you might enjoy agreeing or disagreeing with. So, without further ado, for your elucidation and delectation, we give you the following war of words:

Dear Go to Hell,

Chefs tough as nails? Maybe some of them, but you sir are a big baby. A small-minded, fragile little girl who objects to someone’s tone of voice. What are you? Twelve? Man up…and admit that you and your ilk get your feelings hurt very, very easily.

A chef is a craftsman who is trained to put out food, in volume, with a minimum of health concerns to those eating it. That’s all you really are. A cook. Not a humanitarian or a philanthropist. “Anyone can write about food,” you say. Well, I suppose so,  just the way anyone can heat up food. Even an idiot can make a pot of stew and fill people up with it. And you sir, I fear, are a stewcook. If you truly had game, I suspect you wouldn’t take critical words to heart like sappy teenager.

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