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December 07, 2000
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FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Commander's Palace

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Commander's Palace

Inside the Aladdin

I know Thanksgiving is over, but I'm still giving thanks that Commander's Palace has finally opened. After a tortured construction history that caused a two-month delay in the opening, we now have a taste of New Orleans right in front of the Desert Passage that pays delicious homage to the Big Easy's original. In New Orleans, Commander's Palace is consistently at or near the top of the restaurant heap in a serious restaurant town that is serious about its food. AS the flagship of the Brennan family, it has set the standard for Creole food since 1880; which means they've been cooking crayfish etoufee there since before Las Vegas was even thought of. And before he ever was thought of, much less surrounded by press agents and sycophants, Emeril Lagasse sharpened his talents as Commander's executive chef. That was after another cooking heavyweight, Paul Prudhomme, left to open K-Paul's--the place that really put spicy food on America's eating map. With this pedigree, one would imagine that the Brennan's have this restaurant thing knocked, and they do. Like the Maccioni's of New York, they refuse to spread themselves too thin, insuring that quality control and reputation remain high and intact.

And what quality it is. My partner in crime, John Bonds of Taste of Vegas fame, took one sip of their turtle soup and now can't get enough of the stuff. Commander's short menu is faithful to its Louisiana roots and full of upscale odes to Creole cooking that set it deliciously apart from other high-end eateries. Appetizers like Tasso Shrimp Henican, are so good that no one will want to share them. Seasonings are strong but subtle. . .normally an oxymoron, but not for this kitchen. They won't knock your socks off in a Cajun way, but from the Lyonnaise fish to the Colorado Lamb Chops, everything dances in the mouth. Italians call this effect, saltimbocca, and you will be calling for Chef Carlos Guia to thank him after one bite of his seafood stew.

I'm telling you folks, this place hit the ground running--well it's had 120 years of practice--and is already one of the best restaurants in town. I guarantee.

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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