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January 08, 1998
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FOOD FOR THOUGHT: 1997 in Review

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1997 IN REVIEW

Last week we cited those hyper-theme palaces for raising restaurant ugliness to a new level in 1997. This week we'll ignore these architectural atrocities (if that's possible)-and focus on the good and the bad in restaurants over the past year.

When it comes to bad dining out-nothing comes close to the non-eating "experience" we continue to endure along Fremont Street. Until some wiley accountant decides that Reba MacIntire and Mr. Spock can sell cheeseburgers from a rain-forest-friendly chopper-it'll remain Las Vegas' favorite venue for those on a diet.

But those seeking the truly bad-as opposed to the on-existent-look no further than the intersection of I-95 and Lake Mead Boulevard. Awful semi-fast food and lots of it make this over-commercialized eyesore the ideal eating place for fools and their money. It's no wonder then that the worst idea for a restaurant ever conceived is located right in the heart of this franchise forest. Yes-it's unanimous-Joe's Crab Shack wins the food for thought distasteful" award for the lousiest restaurant of 1997. This shack truly deserves its name-for serving pathetic, overbreaded and deep-fried everything-and for bringing a slice of that cultural mecca-Galveston, Texas, to our lonely desert.

On a brighter note-the good in dining out may still be outweighed by the bad-but some serious cooks and owners moved here in the past year-and some old reliables continue to thrive in the face of the chain-link-theme-scene.

BEST NEW RESTAURANT: Drai's-which brings a touch of class and Hollywood to a corner in need of both.

BEST ETHNIC RESTAURANT: Habib's for consistently showing Las Vegans what good Mediterranean food looks and tastes like. And finally:::::: (drum roll);

THE RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR goes to the Palace Court at Caesar's Palace. This venerable war horse has been rejuvenated by Chef Laurent Tourondel-and now serves the best French food Las Vegas has ever tasted.

This is John Curtas wishing you a happy New Year and promising to finally take the gloves off and tell it like it is in 1998.

See discussion rules.

Archives

Nov 24, 2010 | Thanksgiving 2010 - Another Beanie Reveal
John Curtas delves into family history to discover the real story behind Grandma Schroader's Sour Beans.

Nov 19, 2009 | Valentino -- You don't know the truffles I've seen
According to Food Critic John Curtas, no other Italian restaurant in Las Vegas has performed at such a high level for so long.

Oct 1, 2009 | Blow It Up
In at least one part of town, our dining critic John Curtas says the food used to be a lot better.

Sep 25, 2009 | Social Media Meltdown
For our dining critic, John Curtas, social media has started to intrude on dining out.

Sep 2, 2009 | Discovering LOS ANTOJOS
Our dining critic John Curtas finds a new affordable favorite.

Aug 20, 2009 | Chinois R.I.P.
For John Curtas the recent closing of Wolfgang Puck's first Las Vegas restaurant brings back memories.

Aug 3, 2009 | Food, Inc.
John Curtas turns movie reviewer today - but the subject is in his usual area of expertise. Hear his review of "Food, Inc."

Jul 16, 2009 | The Steak That Saved Las Vegas
Dining critic John Curtas finds some steak aged for EIGHT MONTHS and he tells us how it tastes.

Jul 2, 2009 | Bang for Your Buck
Everyone's food budget is tighter these days. But if you still want to dine out now and then, our dining critic John Curtas has a few tips on restaurants now giving you more bang for your buck.

Jun 19, 2009 | Whassup with Wazuzu
Explore Dining Critic John Curtas' love/hate relationship with Wazuzu. If you want to spice up your dinner go for at least a "4 or 5."

Jun 12, 2009 | Two Farmer's Markets
Fresh, locally produced food has become a big trend across the U.S. Our food critic, John Curtas, says there's more of this trend in Las Vegas than you might think.

Jun 4, 2009 | MandM Soul Food
John Curtas tells us about one of his favorite dining spots - a surpsingly affordable one.

May 28, 2009 | Checkpoint Charlie
While fine dining has seen a downturn in Las Vegas in recent months, our dining critic John Curtas says at least one dining legend intends to stay put. Charlie Trotter is standing pat in Las Vegas. John Curtas reviews Resturant Charlie.

May 8, 2009 | Food Festival Frenzy!
It's a time of many food festivals in Las Vegas. John Curtas has an overview.

May 5, 2009 | Peppermill Coffee Shop and Fireside Lounge
A landmark Las Vegas restaurant gets a visit from John Curtas. He takes you to the Peppermill.

Apr 23, 2009 | Thai Me Up Thai Me Down
Thai cuisine is starting to show up in more places in Las Vegas. John Curtas has some recommendations

Apr 9, 2009 | A Gourmet Corner - In Spring Valley?
Food Critic John Curtas takes a trip to the strangest gourmet corner in town.

Apr 2, 2009 | Pip's is a Pip
If you're looking for good dining near Aliante, our dining critic, John Curtas, has found a new place to go.

Mar 26, 2009 | Stripped to Its Bare Essentials
Dining on steak at Planet Hollywood! John Curtas takes you along.

Mar 19, 2009 | Hachi is absolutely amazing!
John Curtas has a find - a Japanese-fusion restaurant on the west edge of the city.

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