Monday, June 21, 2010

Foodie Thoughts: Fleur de Lys Closing, "Top Chef Masters" Fallout, & Everything Is California's Fault

Everything is California's fault. Everything, I tell you. F*CK YOU, CALIFORNIA!

If you follow ELV on Facebook, you know that a week ago he reported that Hubert Keller’s Fleur de Lys in Mandalay Bay will close in August, to re-open before the end of the year as a casual, small plates, world tapas bar concept.

The good news is: Hubert Keller (and his chefs and crew) will still be running the new restaurant, and are actively working on said concept and menu as we write this. [...]

The bad news is: This closing is yet another step in the dumbing down of Vegas restaurants — to fit a clientele who doesn’t want to pay for anything more elaborate than burgers, sliders, pizzas, and (god help us) more mediocre sushi. The creeping California casualization of American dining continues, and we fear this relentless trend towards small plates and grazing platters, represents a step away from quality and bodes ill for the future of good restaurants in our humble burg.

OK, let me put aside the Kleenex and bon bons to regain my composure. Deep breath, deep breath...

OK, I can speak again. I can understand Mr. ELV's frustration. Fleur de Lys was one of our more underappreciated fine dining gems. And did I mention Hubert Keller is a culinary god?

But hey, even culinary gods can only swim against the trend current for so long. While fine dining is far from dead and moiself will never stop stimulating the economy via the occasional outrageous food splurges, the fact of the matter is that many diners these days are foregoing the traditional fine dining experience for gastropubs, tapas houses, burger joints, and sushi dens. And foodie genius that he is, Hubert Keller saw this coming and decided to go with the flow rather than risk losing it all by keeping Fleur de Lys as is. And with the Mandalay Bay complex already served by the uber-chic Mix and lovely French-American Aureole, they pretty much had their "Fussified Frenchie Food" covered.

It's sad to see Fleur de Lys closing, but I intend to keep an open mind and see what becomes of Keller's new tapas concept.

And speaking of Mandalay Bay, everyone is still talking about the "Top Chef Masters" season finale. Was Jay Rayner being a dick? IMHO, yes. Is cooking and eating sustainably tough? Absolutely. But is it worth it? I think so. And is Rick Moonen doing what he can to practice what he preaches? IMHO, yes.

Again, it's all California's fault. Wait, so Jay Rayner is from Britain? Oh, OK. F*CK THEM! ;-)

And WTF is this sh*t? Oh, it's at Las Vegas Club. That explains it all.

The slogan on the front is "You catch 'em, we cook 'em," but good luck. The price of $2 per play isn't bad if you manage to grab one of the poor unsuspecting creatures within thirty seconds of depositing your cash and manipulating the claw, but unfortunately their are no consolation prizes (I was thinking a shrimp would be nice) and based on what an employee says in this local video, not many people win. If we hadn't just eaten and if the lobsters had been larger, I might have played, yet there was still something unsettling about it. If monkfish is referred to as the 'poor man's lobster,' then the crustaceans in The Lobster Zone must be the 'cheap, drunk Vegas tourist's lobster,' because I'm not sure who else would actually attempt catch one. I suppose it gets one closer to catching their own food than they otherwise would be, but when neither the animal nor hunter have much of a chance of winning, it just seems cruel for everyone involved. Anyhow, if you're really on a budget give it a whirl, and let me know how it goes. My bet, however, is that you're better of going to Red Lobster for the money, where you're also rewarded with delicious free cheddar biscuits!

If something is so bad that one praises Red Lobster for f*ck's sake, it's that f*cking bad. FAIL!

But this is NOT fail, kids. Our BFF Mike D from Tasting Las Vegas, along with Jillian from Frugal Foodie, made the big leagues when they were featured on KNPR's "State of Nevada" on Friday, when Mr. ELV and Mr. Max do their occasional delicious Friday (not really) hostile takeover of the show. It's good to see the food bloggers in this town get the recognition they deserve.

And finally, both Mr. ELV and Sage (Shawn McClain's ab fab restaurant at Aria) get the national recognition they deserve. Well, at least some things are still working out nicely in this town.

OK, I felt the need to catch up on all I've been missing since I left town. And did I mention everything is always California's fault? I need to get me out of this gawddamned hellhole. ;-)

1 comment:

  1. As I said on John's Facebook, looking forward to Keller's new restaurant. You know about my food fussyness (chicken, burgers, pizzas, burritos with few topping just cycled endlessly) and tapas restaurants sound good in concept since I can bravely order something that might make my throat lock up and my gag reflex start without breaking the bank on something I find inedible.

    Besides, I will pretty much never eat French. Not after finding out they eat snails.