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August 05, 1999
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FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Hard Rock Steakhouse

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By now you know that I'm mad about Mandalay Bay and bonkers over Bellagio . . . but as good as the restaurants are at these icons of excess, it's the Hard Rock Hotel that has smittened me these days. Don't get me wrong, I'm not turning a third blind eye to the cherry poppin' palaces of serious gastronomy, but for the hippest and hoppinest restaurants in town, there's no doubt that the Hard Rock is a jewel. Not that any of the performers or the guests here would appreciate the stylistic cool which pervades this place. I put the average age of the patrons and the performers here at barely out of college, which makes every mother's son over the age of 35 feel like a grandfather. Those youngsters would be hard put to groove on the retro-rat-pack-cool of AJ's Steakhouse, although a few viewings of swingers has certainly helped them locate the early '60's mojo of the place . . . I mean AJ's is so swingin' baby that you expect Bobby Darin to be draggin' on a fag at the neo-hip lounge, or Sammy D. to be be-boppin the night away with the in-house pianist.

If you long for a bygone sense of cool . . . then tuck into a martini that's straight from the days of tail fins, bullet bras and strong cocktails. Follow that with a super tender filet smothered in a real béarnaise sauce or a superb strip, and tell those calories to be damned . . . it's a cholesterol fest of the highest order. The best part is that it's a real slice of Vegas, and not cloned from New York or Chicago or some dreamed-up corporate franchise.

We old-timers know that this town practically invented the Rat Pack, and those wondering what all the fuss was about need look no farther than AJ's, from the piano bar to the velour seats and cool paintings of Old Vegas, AJ's is a cut above virtually every other steakhouse in town, and best of all, it's a steakhouse we can finally call our own.

AJ's Steakhouse is located inside the Hard Rock Hotel.

This is John Curtas.

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Archives

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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
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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.

Jun 19, 2009 | Whassup with Wazuzu
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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.

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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.

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Thai cuisine is starting to show up in more places in Las Vegas. John Curtas has some recommendations

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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.

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Dining on steak at Planet Hollywood! John Curtas takes you along.

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John Curtas has a find - a Japanese-fusion restaurant on the west edge of the city.

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