John Curtas for Mayor


If nominated, I will run. If elected, I will serve. – John A. Curtas

Yes, it’s true.

I’ve thought long and hard about this. I’ve decided to announce my candidacy for Mayor of Las Vegas. The election may be three years away, but if you know politics, you know it’s never too early to start laying the groundwork for a campaign.

Rest assured constituents, I have given serious thought to this and my platform, and after 40 years in Vegas, I consider myself pretty darned qualified to solve most of the problems plaguing our fine city.

My platform is outlined below, and as with all strongly-held political ideologies, it is the product of deep thought, experience, erudition and introspection, most of which came to me in the usual manner: after my fourth bottle of wine at a three hour lunch.

So here goes….

Fremont Street

Exotic entertainers — whether posing as flaming-ly gay Batman, or Diaperman, or a 77 year old in a slingshot bikini — have made Fremont Street such a pleasant stroll for kids of all ages. I say it’s high time we embrace them as symbols of our resurgent city:

Street performers test limits in Las Vegas, L.A. and New York - South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Downtown Re-gentrification –

Downtown is a rapidly re-gentrifying area where your morning latte or artisanal pizza is often interrupted by a boulevardier either asking for money or doing something far less appetizing.

Somewhere, these flaneurs got the idea that they have the CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to intrude on my sight lines when I’m parsing the distinctions between a ‘o9 Nuits-Saint-Georges, and a ’15 Savigny-les-Beaune. (THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE.)

Therefore, I hereby propose the following solution, which some of the hoi polloi might resist, but I’m told could be a handy-dandy remedy:

soylent-green-riot-truck(Get off my lawn!)

Am I a genius or what?

Red Light District

Mormon Missionary Positions — Neil DaCosta(Saved!)

Oscar was all for it and so am I. Prostitution needs to legalized and we need to put our bordellos directly behind the Mormon Church on West Charleston. This will kill two birds with one stone: souls will be saved left and right (see above), and sister-wives will be given another option.

Open Carry

Not only do we have the right to carry high-caliber firearms on our persons at all times, it should also be mandatory. If elected, my first ordinance will be to require all citizens to strap on if they want to reside within the City Limits. This will have many benefits: safety, security, and looking like a badass being primary among them:

Photo credit Talking to me?)

Defund the Police

With every citizen being heeled to the max; cops will become as obsolete as drug laws. I for one, am looking forward to citizens of all stripes enforcing zoning ordinances from behind the muzzle of finely-crafted, cold hard steel.

Speaking of drugs…

Free Drugs!

melissa etheridge smoking GIF by #ActionAliens(Dottie’s, here I come!)

Why not? Las Vegas was built on the free cocktail, why shouldn’t some grandma loosing her paycheck at a slot machine be given a toke or complimentary line of crystal meth to keep her going? You think conventioneers spend more when they’re drunk, just give ’em a free hit and watch the gambling drop increase geometrically. (NO ONE DENIES THIS!)

Happy Endings for Everyone!

Think about it. You’ve had a hard day at the office. The wife’s out of town, or you’re conventioneering with 10,000 of your closest Consulting Actuaries friends. After a long day of plotting withdrawal liabilities and DC Retirement Income Options, you decide a little stress relief is at hand.

Lucky for you, there are plenty of ladies out there to lend you one. (“You want me touch you there? You pay twenty dollar more.”) It’s high time we celebrate these hard-working lasses for the public service they perform. If you think it’s easy working night and day, stroking flacid, flocculent, flabby egos over and over and over again until they erupt in a flow of gratitude, try it sometime. (WAIT. WHAT?)

Taxes –

I am totally in favor of taxes, as long as I don’t have to pay them.

Drinking in City Hall –

No longer will it banned; it will now be encouraged. Government workers are the unsung heroes of our nation — dealing with everything from stop signs to skyscrapers to getting cats out of trees. These people need a break, and a drink.

Poverty –

People have told me that poverty exists and this has caused me great distress. Not the poverty, but that people keep telling me about it.

Education –

Let the record show that I am 57% behind public education of your snotty-nosed, imbecilic little rug rats.

Woke Political Correctness –

Will be strictly enforced. Everyone at City Hall will henceforth refer to everyone else as “it.”

In conclusion, my fellow citizens, it is obvious we need new leadership around City Hall. Leadership not afraid to tell the truth about the issues facing us. The truth about war, inequality, pestilence, budgetary constraints, and where to find properly chilled vintage champagne.

More importantly, I will never lie to you. My priorities as your mayor will be up-front and firmly established:

Ego satisfaction

Personal Comfort

Pocket Lining


So please plan on casting your vote for John A. Curtas for Mayor of Las Vegas when the time comes…and in the meantime, help me find some hardworking, underpaid, illegal immigrant to drive me around in my new ride (paid for by the taxpayers, of course)…


…preferably someone with big tits.

Downtown Dining is Now a Destination


Downtown has become a gastronomic destination in its own right.

Five years ago I would’ve called you crazy if you uttered those words. But things have been booming, as drinking and dining options continue to expand, and everything from wine bars to wood-fired pizzas are on the horizon.

Main Street (aka the 18b Arts District) and East Fremont Street are the epicenters of this epicurean revolution, and though bleak some surroundings may be, once you duck inside any of these eateries, you will find delightful meals, and hand-tooled food aplenty.

I eat out in downtown Las Vegas more than anyone. Ever. (No brag just fact.) Morning, noon and night I patrol these concrete canyons scouting the best places to sooth my savage hunger, and seeking to send you serenely to the most satisfying sustenance. Here’s where you should be supping and slurping right now, but be advised, more superior comestibles are soon to surface.

Image(Holy Ensendada, Batman! We’re in Baja!)

Bajamar Seafood & Tacos

Good Mexican food used to be harder to find downtown than a slot junkie with good credit. These straight-from-Baja tacos (above) immediately changed that. Ignore the surroundings and dive in.

Casa Don Juan

An old reliable with a large menu and a huge following. The tortillas and the carnitas and the great service keep us coming back.

Carson Kitchen

CK started the downtown dining revolution five years ago and is still going strong. Those veal meatballs, oxtail risotto, and glazed donut bread pudding never get old.

DE Thai Kitchen

Forget the regular menu and order off the (not so) secret menu on the chalk board. If there’s a better Kua Gling (spicy ground pork) or soft shell crabs in town, I haven’t found them.


Brand spanking new, still finding its sea legs, but early experiences with its limited menu have been positive.


Esther’s Kitchen

I eat here so often they ought to name a booth after me.


Wonderful breakfast and lunch; to-die-for flapjacks; heavenly hash.

Evel Pie

Downtown is blessed with four good pizza joints, and it all started with Evel Pie. As good as it is, I prefer the dense, chewy slices at….

Image(One of each please)

Good Pie

Nothing more than a counter, some deck ovens, and an assortment of the best slices in Vegas (above). Soon to open a full-service pizza restaurant in the Arts District, much to the rejoicing of pizza mavens everywhere. The pepperoni slice (above) absolutely slays the competition.

Image(Sake to me Hatsumi)


Robotayaki on East Fremont? Yep, and it’s great. Fine sake list, too.


The drinks here are so good they make me wish I was an alcoholic. A booze-absorbing menu of (mostly) Jamaican food is just the thing after a few of them.

La Monja (The Nun)

This is one fun nun. An indoor-outdoor vibe (at the top of the page) that threatens to do for East Fremont Street what Esther’s did for the Arts District: bring a modern twist to a hoary formula. In this case, by giving ceviches, taquitos, and fish tacos the upgrade they deserve. Everything is under twenty bucks, and the patio has “destination drinking” written all over it.

Ocha Thai

A family-run oasis of good Thai cooking for decades.

Image(Comfort me with meatloaf)

Old Soul

The odds are against Old Soul, but Natalie Young’s food — like the meatloaf above — is so good we don’t care. Take the time to find it and you’ll fall in love.

Oscar’s Steakhouse

Oscar Goodman is an iconic figure in Las Vegas. His steakhouse doesn’t quite match his out-sized reputation, but new chef Ben Jenkins is on a mission to change that.

Image(PublicUs is always packed)


We constantly debate the relative merits of PublicUs v. Vesta like a man who can’t decide between his wife and his mistress. We resolve this argument by alternating between them… just like we did in 1999.

7th and Carson

Elevated pub grub (below) at a location we can never quite remember.  ;-)

Image(Once in a blue moon, we eat healthy)

The Kitchen at Atomic

Jackson Stamper’s food might be too hip for the room, but it suits us just fine. One of the best steaks (and rum-brined pork chops) in town, too.

Image(Blimey, mate; takes me straight back to the Cliffs of Dover, it does.)

The Smashed Pig

Ignore the Fremont Street fanny-packers and duck in for a black & tan and the fish and chips (above).


If you insist, there’s a vegan restaurant downtown – the best vegan restaurant in town, in fact. In fact, we have actually eaten here more than once and sorta enjoyed it (hangs head in shame).

Vesta Coffee Roasters

See comment to PublicUs above. And please don’t mention anything to our current wife.

Image(Sweet sammie dreams are made of these)

The Goodwich

We have dreams about the Rueben-ish (above) and the Patty. How good do sandwiches have to be for you to dream about them?

Image(Comes with a “highly addictive” warning label)

Pop Up Pizza

The only thing wrong with Pop Up Pizza is its customers. Most of them take a gander at these superior pies and wonder where the Domino’s is. The stromboli (above) is so good it ought to be illegal.


Santos Guisados Tacos & Beer

These guisados (braised meat) tacos are in a class by themselves. Good beers and a full bar in a postage stamp place about the size of studio apartment (above).


As tasty as things have gotten downtown, it bears mentioning that this entire renaissance has occurred because restaurant owners, chefs and developers finally decided to ignore Fremont Street altogether.

Those of us of a certain age remember all the teeth-gnashing in the 90s and early aughts about how to “revive” Fremont Street….as if that collection of sad, shitty hotels and their slacker/slob customers were the key to downtown’s revival. They weren’t and aren’t. Leave them to their lame-ass beers and souvenirs.

No one under that atrocious canopy gives a crap about spending money. All they want is Vegas on the cheap. Gawking at those stupid light shows and naked street performers is the Las Vegas they deserve.

The good stuff is for the rest of us. All you have to do is walk a few blocks east, or a half a mile south to taste it.




All Mobbed Up at OSCAR’S

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling(Oscar Goodman – consigliere, capo dei tutti capi)

So me an da paesans wuz gettin’ pretty messed up da udder nite. Ya know whad I’m talkin’ about?

Let’s just say we wuz so umbriag our capicolas felt more like muzzarell.

Der wuz tree of us, and boy were we were sesenta fame and needed sum beef and we needed it pronto.

One of my jamokes, Vinnie Boombahts sez: “Hey, Jabrone! Why donts we head to Oscar’s Beef, Booze and Broads?”

I sez, “Fuggedabadit….that’s not a good idear.”

He sez, “Ahright ahready….then where do youse wants to go?”

I sez, “I ain’t never had no buona fortuna there…and I’m sorta kinda persona non grata, gabish?”

Now, this goombah of mine, he’s a gavone, a real chooch, always with the agita, so I told him to go “ah ffangul,” and he “iamo,” and I said, “haicapid?” and he called me a mamaluke, and I called him a scorchamend, and somehow we ended up at Oscar’s.

And you know what? We had a whale of a time.

We started at the bar at happy hour, and were pleasantly surprised (blown away really) by how great everything was. It was just the three, chopped prime rib sliders that grabbed our attention, but also a remarkably fresh, and a no-filler-allowed crab cake:

…that was the definition of this steakhouse mainstay.

Almost as good (if a tad tough) were the Mob (chicken) Meatballs:

(Happy hour of champions: meatballs, marinara, and a Manhattan)

…and a series of side dishes — creamed, but not-too creamy spinach, fresh roasted corn brûlée, asparagus cooked right — all served with classic cocktails containing just the right amount of kick-your-ass.

The main courses in the dining room measured up far better than I remembered from four years ago, when I wrote a none-too-flattering review of the place. Back then, the dishes seemed as flaccid as Fredo Corleone. Now, the filet was as perfect as a filet mignon can get — and seasoned just right by the kitchen:

…..and the strip sirloin smothered in crab, asparagus and Bearnaise was the kind of throwback indulgence that made you long for the 70s. A couple of the sides (Brussels sprouts, mushrooms) were by-the-numbers, but the “extraordinary” mac & cheese was cheesier than a Wayne Newton love song.

I’m not sure when Oscar’s got its act together, but obviously, sometime in the past few years it has. Executive chef Jeffery Martell oversees a big menu (too big, really), but he’s pulling it off and people have obviously responded. (The joint was jumping even on a Tuesday night.)

So, whether you’re with intelligent, discriminating friends, or the stunads and scustumads that yours truly drinks with, whether you’re mortadafam or just want a quick bite, Oscar’s has you covered. It may not be ready to muscle into Strip steakhouse territory, but the throwback food and booze is tutto bene! Gabish?

Image may contain: indoor


Plaza Hotel and Casino

1 Main Street

Las Vegas, NV 89101

702. 386.7227