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August 31, 2000
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FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Taking Care of Business

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When people find that I review restaurants, they always ask what my standards are for judging the good from the bad and the ugly. You know that I probably eat out more than anyone in town, but the rest of the dining out public (which is, like, everyone) is more and more satisfied with less and less in its food journalism. Now I'm not trying to pick on my good friend Lenadams, and I know Heidi-hyphenated and Mad Max are trying hard in their respective publications, but there is a fatal flaw in the way they review restaurants--and the way their editors let them get away with it. What they inexcusably do is visit the subject restaurant a single time, then give a first-person account of how much they enjoyed this or that dish. After that comes a grade or a rating based upon their personal likes or dislikes during their only visit. Lacking any basis for comparison, at least in the readers' mind, they then laud or declaim an establishment, without seeing how it stacks up, both to is competition and itself. Now I'm trying not to venture my differences of opinion as to various conclusions drawn by my colleagues, but for example, anyone visiting Z-Tejas and Aureole for the first and only time, then concluding that Tex-Mex mediocre is a better restaurant, either knows nothing about food, or caught one on an extremely good day and the other on a very bad one. Truth be told, I've had atrocious service at both, but the food at Z-Tejas is nothing but a corporate copycat of recipes by inventive chefs like Stephan Pyles, and Mark Miller. Aureole may be too big for its britches, but it competes with the best in town.

And toques off to Sommeliers Stephen Geddes and Jaimie Smith at Aureole for garnering the Wine Spectator's Grand Award for having one of the world's best wine lists. Maybe if my colleagues got out more often (and their publishers paid for it), they would notice such things.

This is John Curtas.

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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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