Luxe Life Blog
First look: Eating Las Vegas’ 50 Essential Restaurants
Chefs and restaurateurs are shaken up over the new book Eating Las Vegas: 50 Essential Restaurants written and critiqued by three respected and feared Las Vegas food writers. The names of the Top 10 and other culinary royalty who are in are being revealed at today’s book launch party at Joel Robuchon’s L’Atelier in MGM Grand.
Chef of the Decade Joel flew in from his Paris headquarters to host the reception for authors John Curtas (who writes for our Las Vegas Weekly), Max Jacobson and Al Mancini. I have the task as master of ceremonies to unveil the Top 10 listed in alphabetical order, and here is your exclusive look:
Alex at the Wynn, Chef Alexander Stratta; Bar Masa at Aria, Chef Masa Takayama; Bartolotta at the Wynn, Chef Paul Bartolotta; CUT at the Palazzo, Chefs Wolfgang Puck and Matt Hurley; Joel Robuchon at MGM Grand, Chef Joel Robuchon; L’Atelier at MGM Grand, Chef Joel Robuchon; Picasso at Bellagio, Chef Julian Serrano; Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace, Chef Guy Savoy; RM Upstairs at Mandalay Bay, Chef Rick Moonen; and Twist at Mandarin Oriental, Chef Pierre Gagnaire.
The authors admit in the book: “Writing this was a lot of fun if you consider three guys with massive egos shouting one another down, mocking opinions and trying to one-up each other. Our differences inspired this book using drastically different voices. But we all had to agree on the 50 that show off the broad spectrum of dining available in Las Vegas.”
Infamous national food critic John Mariani of Esquire penned the foreword: “It’s a formidable task. Each writer brings his own perspective, which doesn’t always jibe with his colleagues. These three experts are never shy about giving real punch to their assessments.”
The most interesting section of the book is the critics’ veto section with a listing of restaurants prized by one but rejected by the others -- which led to their most heated arguments and doubtless heavy discussion by those owners and chefs left out! Eating Las Vegas also features lists of best restaurants in a dozen categories -- and in a city of more than 2,000 eateries, all three had to agree on the final choices.
Here are the best of the best again in alphabetical order: American Fish at Aria, Chef Michael Mina; Aureole at Mandalay Bay, Chef Charlie Palmer; B&B Ristorante at The Venetian, Chef Mario Batali; Beijing Noodle #9 at Caesars Palace, Chef Yu Li; Border Grill at Mandalay Bay, Chefs Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken; Bouchon at The Venetian, Chef Thomas Keller; Burger Bar at Mandalay Place, Chef Hubert Keller; Carnevino at Palazzo, Chef Mario Batali; China Mama, Chinatown, no chef named; Eiffel Tower at Paris, Chef Joung Sohn; Julian Serrano at Aria, Chef Julian Serrano; Le Cirque at Bellagio, owner Sirio Maccioni; Los Antojos, Chef Carmen Ruiz; Lotus of Siam, Chef Saipin Chutima; M&M Soulfood Cafe, no chef named; Marche Bacchus, Desert Shores, Chef Jean Paul Labadie; Monta, a Japanese Noodle House, no chef named; Mozen Bistro at Mandarin Oriental, Chef Shawn Armstrong; Nove Italiano at Palms, Chef Geno Bernardo; Osteria del Circo at Bellagio, owner Sirio Maccioni; Payard Patisserie Bistro at Caesars Palace, Chef Francois Payard; Ping Pang Pong at Gold Coast, Chef owner Karrie Wu; Prime Steakhouse at Bellagio, Chef Jeans Georges Vongerichten; Raku, Chinatown, Chef Mitsuo Endo; Rao’s at Caesars Palace, owner Frank Pellegrino; Rosemary’s, Chef owners Michael and Wendy Jordan; Sage at Aria, Chef Shawn McClain; Sen of Japan, Chef Hiro Nakano; Sensi at Bellagio, Chef Martin Heierling; Settebello, Green Valley, Chef Brad Otton; Simon at Palms Place, Chef Kerry Simon; Society Cafe at Encore, Chef Kim Canteenwalla; Spago at Caesars Palace, Chefs Wolfgang Puck and Eric Klein; The Steakhouse at Circus Circus, no chef named; Todd’s Unique Dining, Henderson, Chef Todd Clore; Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak at MGM Grand, Chef Tom Colicchio; Top of the World at Stratosphere, Chef Claude Gaty; Valentino at The Venetian, Chef owners Pierro Selvaggio and Luciano Pellegrini; Vintner Grill, Summerlin, Chef Matthew Silverman; and Yellowtail at Bellagio, Chef Akira Back.
You won’t agree with all the restaurants and star chefs included in the book or those left out, so it’s certain to start a lot of discussion as of tonight. One big-name celebrity chef was completely omitted, and two other star chefs were vetoed -- and many personal favorites just vanished! I leave you to read the Huntington Press book to discover just who they are, but expect kitchen knifes to be sharpened.
Each of the authors offers his take on why those that are in were included. The comments -- both sweet and sour -- are funny, biting, candid and relevant. They stuck to their mission statement that all three had to agree on who was ranked and mentioned. In the end, they say eat at these 50 essential restaurants, and you will have eaten Las Vegas.
We’ll have full coverage and photos of the party -- and of its chefs celebrating or drowning their sorrows -- right here at Vegas DeLuxe tomorrow.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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