October 01, 1998
SO MANY RESTAURANTS, SO LITTLE TIME
SO MANY RESTAURANTS--SO LITTLE TIME. NOWADAYS THATS MY CONSTANT COMPLAINT. IT USED TO BE--LIKE 5 YEARS AGO--THERE WERENT ENOUGH GOOD PLACES TO EAT IN LAS VEGAS. THESE DAYS ITS ALMOST AS IF WE HAVE TOO MANY.
IT ALL STARTED IN 1992 WHEN SPAGO, AND THEN EMERILS, CAME TO TOWN. UNTIL THEY BROKE THIS GROUND, A FAMOUS CHEF OR RESTAURATEUR WAS AS RARE IN LAS VEGAS AS A FLAT-CHESTED SHOWGIRL. NOW EVERY SAVVY FOOD SERVER IN AMERICA WANTS A PIECE OF OUR ACTION. EVEN THE TOAST OF NEW YORK, SIRIO MACCIONI AND HIS FAMILY ARE SOON TO DISPLAY THEIR WARES AT THE BELLAGIO HOTEL. THE MACCIONIS, OWNERS OF LE CIRQUE 2000, LIKE W.P. (WOLFGANG PUCK) & E.L. (EMERIL LAGASSE) ARE NOW BETTER KNOWN THAN MOST OF THE CELEBRITIES THAT MADE THEM FAMOUS IN THE FIRST PLACE. ALL ARE SO ANNOYINGLY GOOD AT SELF-PROMOTION THAT THEY MAKE ASHLEY JUDD LOOK LIKE GRETA GARBO.
WITH THESE THOUGHTS IN MIND, I WAS LESS THAN THRILLED AT LEARNING THAT VICTOR DRAI, EX-HOLLYWOOD PRODUCER AND RESTAURATEUR TO THE STARS ON LA CIENAGA IN LA, WAS OPENING IN LAS VEGAS. COMING ON THE HEELS OF THE GONE BUT NOT MISSED NICKY BLAIRS, HIS RESTAURANT, DRAI'S, WOULD SEEM TO HAVE AN UPHILL FIGHT TO LURE CUSTOMERS TO ITS REAL DOWNHILL LOCATION. I MEAN WERE TALKING THE BASEMENT OF THE BARBARY COAST HERE----HOW MUCH MORE DOWNHILL CAN YOU GET?????
BUT DRAIS HAS SOME WEAPONS AT ITS DISPOSAL THAT MIGHT CARRY THE DAY. SUCH AS THE FOOD WHICH IS CREATIVE BIG CITY FARE, BUT PRICED A FEW BUCKS AN ITEM LESS THAN AT THOSE OTHER EXPENSE ACCOUNT MONEY PITS AROUND TOWN. AND ITS DÉCOR, WHICH IS WAY BETTER THAN ANYTHING YOU MIGHT EXPECT AT THE BARBARY COAST.
AND EVEN IF SUBTERRANEAN DINING ISN'T YOUR BAG, YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT THE COMFORTABLE AND SOPHISTICATED COCKTAIL LOUNGE. NOTICE I DIDNT SAY BAR, DRAIS BRINGS A JAZZY-BLUESY LIVE MUSIC LOUNGE TO TOWN THAT IS ELEGANT IN A WAY THAT THE AGING PINKIE-RING SET FROM NICKY BLAIR'S WOULDNT UNDERSTAND IF YOU EXPLAINED IT TO THEM.
LIKE I ALWAYS SAY, YOU KNOW YOURE MIDDLE-AGED WHEN YOU DONT WANT THE BAND TO START PLAYING AND LEAVE AS SOON AS IT DOES, AT DRAIS I STUCK AROUND.
THIS IS JOHN CURTAS
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