Eating Las Vegas

John Curtas is …

The Chinatown that isn’t

Las Vegas’s Chinatown is neither Chinese nor a town. But in a city where a pseudo-neighborhood that is neither green nor a valley is named just that, or where a Town Center isn’t either, and a Town Square is neither, I guess the appellation fits as well as any.

This stretch of Asian-themed strip malls, starting a mile west of the Strip, could just as easily be called Asiatown or Vietnamtown or Koreatown. In fact, of late, Malaysiatown might even apply. The only country on the Pacific Rim that is scarcely seen among the 40+ restaurants here is Japan; and even it has several worthy representatives.

Once you pull your car into one of these malls, you enter a unique world that will be more fascinating (if a little smokier and less friendly), than the one you just left. Some things take a little getting used to, but that’s all part of the adventure in leaving your culinary comfort zone.

Some of these include being the only round-eye around, the perfunctory service, and seeing lots of edible animals with their heads still attached. A little easier to digest will be how cheap dinner for two can be. In fact this area may be the only one in all of Las Vegas where you have to work at spending more than $50 for dinner, for two.

Also, don’t be put off by all the places specializing in massages and “relaxation” therapy, even if more than a few appear to be the sort where your happy ending for the evening doesn’t need to end with the evening’s meal. Rather, take comfort in the crispy sides of roast pork and the lacquered, bronze sheen of fowl hanging in windows, the pungent smells of marinated beef being barbecued tableside, and the hordes of native families chowing down on the authentic food of their homeland. All of which will make it seem like you’ve taken a short trip to a strange and foreign land which, in a sense, you have.

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Corkage fees – a no no – but not so fast…

A recent post on the new Korean-Japanese restaurant Maru in Summerlin in Vegas Wineaux mentioned that Maru has a $15 corkage fee. You can read that article here.

As reasonable as that fee is, it is illegal.

Or so sayeth the liquor enforcement officers of the City of Las Vegas. According to their strained, tortured, and attenuated reading of State and local liquor licensing laws and regulations, any establishment who charges a corkage fee, or who allows patrons to bring their own bottles into a restaurant, is violating Nevada law (and local ordinances) which mandate that all alcoholic beverages consumed on premises be sold by a licensed purveyor who obtains those beverages from a licensed distributor/wholesaler. The convoluted, nonsensical nature of these statutes and the interpretation of same, put us in mind of the immortal word of Otto von Bismarck: “Anyone who loves the law and sausage should watch neither being made.”

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The Palazzo Restaurants – Part One – on Nevada Public Radio

By now I’m sure you poured over the text of my Palazzo article (posted last week) at least a dozen times (parsing every phrase and mulling every opinion), so hearing me read the thing on Nevada Public Radio may be a bit redundant.

Nevertheless, all semi-literate, word-challenged folks, may click here to hear this week’s Food For Thought, heard weekly on News 88.9 FM KNPR,

Restaurant Charlie/Bar Charlie, The Palazzo Hotel and Casino, 3325 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV 89109, 702.607.6336

Carnevino, The Palazzo Hotel and Casino, 3325 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV, 89109, 702.789.4141

Morel’s French Steakhouse, The Palazzo Hotel and Casino, 3325 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV 89109, 702.607.6333

Table 10, The Palazzo Shoppes, 3327 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV 89109, 702.607.6363

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