Thursday, November 15, 2007

This Week's Column

I've got a busy day ahead, catching up on so much that was placed on hold by the Frontier implosion, O.J. hearings and my niece's fabulous visit. But I did want to note that our chats with Michelin director Jean-Luc Naret and Joy Behar are online now. Click here to download the show or right-click here to save it and listen to the show whenever you wish.

And here's the top of my Las Vegas Weekly column, "The Strip Sense":

Vegas isn’t San Francisco: The foodie stars shine brighter on us

It’s a bit hard to believe now, but a scant two years ago I got into a bit more than a tussle with my editors at Conde Nast Traveler over the Vegas food world. Simply put, I knew it was becoming something extraordinary, and they didn’t quite get it.

As their man on the cuisine scene for the annual Hot Issue, the edition that names the best in new restaurants, hotels and nightclubs from the year that was, I was in a quandary. We were looking at 2005, the year the Wynn Las Vegas opened, and the new joint had at least four restaurants—Alex, Bartolotta di Mare, Wing Lei and Tableau—that deserved recognition. In any other year and in any other city, all would make CNT’s Hot Issue.

But beyond that, it was also the year that Joel Robuchon at the MGM Grand opened, as did Sensi at Bellagio and a few others the names of which I can’t recall at the moment. But my editors insisted that I select just two.

“Two?” I cried. “Are you crazy? This is Las Vegas! How many is San Francisco getting?”

Four, I was told. But San Francisco is San Francisco. Las Vegas isn’t San Francisco.

In the end, since I had to count Robuchon in, I ended up throwing my bouquets at Alex at Wynn.

I tell the story because this week, as if I needed any more backup to my view, the vaunted Michelin Guide’s much-awaited assessment of Las Vegas came out and, lo and behold, it seems that Las Vegas is San Francisco after all.

The Vegas results in the food world’s most respected critical publication were astounding. For this first-ever examination, they awarded 16 of the 127 restaurants they wrote about with their sought-after stars. In Michelin world, just one star denotes an exceptional experience; the three-star honorees are out of this world. Not getting a star does not mean they don’t like it; it just doesn’t hit the exacting threshold.

Read the rest here


Gregory_Zephyr said...

In case you missed it, an interesting article in the SF Chronicle the other day. Although not directly related to ratings, I suspect that the variety of challenges facing SF restaurants will probably mean stagnation if not decline over the years.
"Chef's high hopes, low pay leave SF restaurants starved for help"