June 15, 2000
Inside the Paris Hotel
When Gaston Lenotre opened a branch of his Parisian pastry shop in the Paris Hotel last year, no one was more skeptical than yours truly. Having eaten at his eponymous shop on the Right Bank of Paris, I just knew it would be a pale imitation of the real thing. No way could the tastes of Paris be transformed to the high Mojave desert. This lame Lenotre (I thought) would only achieve the verisimilitude that defines Vegas culture. As the opening of the hotel approached, I read with rapt and cynical attention the press reports of authenticity in technique and ingredients that would ensure the lightness, ingenuity and intensity for which Lenotre's pastries are famous. Its all in the highly refined flour, the mineral rich water and the super rich French butter, Gaston assured us, as he and his P.R. flacks defined the essential differences between American and French sweets. There was not much they could do about our water, but that French flour and butter would be brought in exclusively to guarantee the quality that made him the worlds best know pastry chef. Yeah right I thought
.like every big opening in our town
.the attention to detail and quality would stick around for about the time it takes the paint to dry and the hoopla to subside
.and then it would be back to the mediocrity that made our town famous. Well what I didnt count on was that Gaston was a man of his word. One bite of his chasson aux pommes (that's a feather-light apple turnover), pain aux chocolat (dark chocolate inside a croissant) or tartelette aux framboises (a raspberry tart) will convince you that Lenotre is putting his money (and the world's best ingredients) where your mouth is soon to be. But don't worry if you don't know French. . .everything has a translation next to it. . .but I suggest you just point and eat, because everything here from the heavenly macaroons to the intense eclairs, is the final word on why French pastries are words synonymous with gastronomic luxury. There is nothing dumbed down or inauthentic about this food. . .and for about $5.00 a dessert, your taste buds take the world's cheapest and most delicious French vacation.
My final suggestion is to go there soon before someone turns it into a donut shop.
This is John Curtas.
See discussion rules
|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.