Eating Las Vegas

John Curtas is …

KLAS TV Channel 8 (CBS) Restaurant(s) of the Week-DONG TING SPRING and YUN NAN GARDEN

Authentic, fiery, funky and fresh Chinese appeals to the average American palate about as much as a plate of lutefisk. But right next door to each other on Schiff Dr. (just south of Valley View and Spring Mountain Rd.) are two such places that are packed nightly with fellow Asian travelers who know and appreciate the real Magillicuddy in these things.

Dong Ting Spring features the cured pork and dried chili specialties of Hunan Province, along with more than a few chili-covered fresh fish dishes and hotpots that seem to pop up on every table.

Yun Nan Garden is from the region bordering Myanmar, Tibet, Vietnam and Laos, and is known for its polyglot of ethnic minorities and a cuisine that reflects influences from all of them. The food at both is not for the timid, and together they pack a one-two punch of hot and spicy goodness that took me straight back to Hong Kong.

Both are squeaky clean and modern (at least by the standards of most Chinatown places), and have young bilingual staffs that are unfailingly polite. Be prepared to feel like a fish out of water, and also be firm when they try to steer you to the round-eye friendly portion of the menu. Aficianodos of Kung Pao chicken and sweet and sour pork need not apply.

Each restaurant has English translations of dishes that for decades were only printed in Chinese characters on the walls of places in cities with large, established Chinatowns. Thus were some of the true tastes of the world’s greatest cuisine inaccessible to the adverturesome haolie….until now!


3950 Schiff Dr.

Las Vegas, NV 89103



3934 Schiff Dr.

Las Vegas, NV 89103


SETTEBELLO on the move

Pizza lovers rejoice! Settebello, maker of simply the best pizzas in town (and the best pizzas in Salt Lake City and the only ones certified as authentic by Italian authorities as Vera Pizza Napolentana-real Italian pizza), has announced plans to move from its present location at Valle Verde and Horizon Ridge (commonly referred to by as the middle of bleeping nowhere) to The District II (a slightly more accessible location in the franchise-restaurant wasteland that is Monochrome Valley.)

Rumor also has it that owner Brad Otton and his pizzaiolo Carmine D’Amato (a master of the craft of pizza making), are scouting locations on the west side of town. Hope springs eternal.

Click here to hear my review of Settebello on News 88.9 FM-Nevada Public Radio.

Click here to watch a YouTube video of D’Amato doing what he does best-to a jazzy Italian soundtrack. But don’t blame me if you can’t understand anything; those darn Italians have a different word for everything!


1776 Horizon Ridge Pkwy.

Henderson. NV 89012



Those who know me know that I’ve complained loudly about the food at Marche Bacchus for the past several years. As much as I liked prior owners Gregoire and Agate Verge, they ran the kitchen here as an afterthought to their wine store. Much of the food seemed Sysco-inspired (not to mention supplied), and their persistence in serving a sub-standard plat des fromage (cheese platter), should’ve been an embarassment, but strangely, never was.

When Rhonda and Jeff Wyatt bought the place last year, the menu improved under Chef Christophe Ithurrize, but still didn’t compete in any way with the bistro classics being churned out by Mon Ami Gabi, much less the ethereal ouefs and pommes and tartes being served at Payard.

Now word comes our way from super-restaurant sleuth and Heat Communications guy Ken Langdon, that one of our favorite chefs, Jean-David Groff-Daudet has become top toque at this neighborhood institution in Desert Shores. We had no idea a Daudet play was in sway when we first reported his foray (at Pamplemousse) in an essay of this mainstay….much to our dismay.

But I’ll try not to flay, as Daudet’s array at Marche will cause an hooray, providing he stays, and plays in the ways of the great Francais.

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