John Curtas jumps back into the food critic fray with a no holds barred look at the new Nobu Restaurant & Lounge at Caesars Palace. "Nobu is the perfect example of what happens when a celebrity chef gives up, sells out and cashes in."
His good news/bad news review, he says the sushi and sashimi here is top drawer, "some of the most pristine fish you will ever find 250 miles from the nearest ocean." He says the King crab with Amazu ponzu is swoon-worthy, "but forty-two bucks seems like a lotta lettuce to pay for four short fingers of crab meat."
And while he says he wants to start with the positive, the review quickly turns. A spicy scallop hand cut roll — "an itty-bitty piece of scallop and zero spice" — and the Big Eye tuna with asparagus roll "both being indistinguishable from something you'd pick up at Trader Joe's on your way home," were just some of the sharper barbs to come out.
Then comes the sake list, "nine sakes all from the same producer in the Niigata prefecture." He says that, "reducing your list to a few offerings from a single, expensive producer is the equivalent of Joël Robuchon stating he will only serve classified growth Bordeaux with his food. Tourist trap, thy name is Nobu."
Max Jacobson at Vegas Seven looks at the changes to Red Square and the new Citizens Kitchen & Bar at Mandalay Bay. He calls chef Brian Massie's fare at Red Square, "generally quite impressive if you remove the Russian context," so don't go in expecting to find Russian cuisine. At Citizens, the Southern fried chicken, "rivals any on the Strip," while the mahi-mahi fish tacos "could use some optional heat." Skip the Bag of Bones, "a gimmicky conceit featuring reasonably tender barbecued baby backs in a brown-paper bag." The steam from the ribs makes the onion rings soggy. [VS]
Heidi Knapp Rinella at the Las Vegas Review-Journal says every casino has a steakhouse, Italian restaurant and Mexican restaurant since "They're a lock, because they represent the most popular restaurant genres in the country." With that knowledge securely in hand, she visits Javier's, the new Mexican restaurant at Aria. "Javier's may not stack up to the celebrity-chef spots with James Beard award-winners manning the kitchens, but that's not its mission. And in delivering Mexican comfort food, it fulfills its mission, and quite nicely." She doles out an A- for the food, an A for atmosphere and B- for service for an overall B+. Most interestingly, under pluses, she says, "Service could've been better," and minuses, "Those Strip prices." [LVRJ]
Al Mancini at CityLife says Crepe Expectations in Henderson to find a culinary team with a chichi background, high-end linens and nary a dish over $10 or a glass of wine over $8. "Those aspects, combined with a cuisine you won't find in many other places, make Crepe Expectations one of the valley's most unique restaurants." [CL]
Brock Radke at Las Vegas Weekly checks out the changes at Bistro 57, the three-meal restaurant at Aliante Casino. "This new restaurant provides a coffee shop-style experience while adding some European flourishes," he says, calling it "A worthwhile addition to a neighborhood saturated with chain restaurants." [LVW]
Erik Chudy at Vegas Burger Blog tried the burger at Lola's after a friend recommended it a few months ago. "And as the rule typically goes for me, if only one person in this city has suggested the burger there, it's probably for a reason." What he got was a puny, overcooked burger with no char and a tiny generic bun. He gives it a 60 out of 100. [VBB]