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August 31, 2000

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Taking Care of Business


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.

See discussion rules.


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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.

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Jun 4, 2009 | MandM Soul Food
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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.

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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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