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December 24, 1998

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: 1998 Year in Review - Part 1


1998 Year in Review

It's Christmas time. That time of year to spread joy and good cheer throughout the land, No matter how much lousy food that land has foisted upon me in the last year. So in the true spirit of the Christ child, Hanukkah, the pagan rituals of the winter solstice and shameless self-promotion, KNPR and yours truly hereby bestow our 1998 Taste of Vegas "Johnny" awards for those places and people who made the past year gastronomically memorable.

For the first time in a long time, maybe ever, the categories were crowded with nominees. Truly a testament to how far we've come in our fine dining choices. Maitre 'D and esteemed producer Tim Anderson will announce the categories, and nominees, and I—as sole judge, jury and arbiter of good taste (of Vegas anyway)—will proclaim the winners: Drum roll please.

TIM: For best new restaurant, the nominees are: Bix's, Le Cirque, The Green Lips Café, McCormick and Schmick's and Petit Provence.

JOHN: Envelope please. And the winner is: Le Cirque. Yes, for truly applying the coupe de glacee to the icing on the cake, for the piece de resistance in our epicurean desert, no place anywhere can top what Sirio Maccioni and sons have done by brining a slice of the Big Apple to the universal home of the bad, bloated buffet. And if you think that's easy, just try mixing that many metaphors sometime.

TIM: Our next category is come-back restaurant of the year, given to the place which has staged the biggest improvement over its past performance. The nominees are: The Tillerman, Andre's at the Monte Carlo, Café Nicolle and Ferraro's.

JOHN: And the winner is: The Tillerman. No surprise here folks, especially when you consider how shopworn and tire the old Tillerman had become. Each of these places was invigorated in 1998 by either new chefs or management, and all have managed vast improvement over past mediocrities.

That's all we have time for before we go to a break—which in this show's case will last a full week. So tune in next week when we'll conclude our year-end presentation of the most exciting culinary awards this side of the Flamingo Wash. You won't want to miss it. So, until then, have a happy and bountiful Christmas, and lay off the eggnog.

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.

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