Las Vegas is the Rodney Dangerfield of restaurant towns. Despite 40 million visitors a year, an Asian food scene that puts almost every American city to shame, and more great restaurants crammed together than anywhere in the world, neither the national food press, nor the James Beard Foundation give us the respect we are due.
Vegas is also the $40 whore of American food cities — used and abused by that same press whenever they want/need a quickie headline or a furtive assignation to get an article off.
We are seen as the soulless, steroid-stuffed homunculus of the eating out world because food writers (not without reason) have always viewed Vegas as an inorganic, top-down phenomenon — a sui generis, celebrity chef money machine without any deep cultural roots to support its restaurant renaissance. And let’s face it, at times it’s been hard to argue with them.