The 2017 edition of Eating Las Vegas—The 50 Essential Restaurants has just come back from the printer. The book brings together three local food critics—John Curtas, Greg Thilmont and Mitchell Wilburn—to collectively select Las Vegas’ best dining establishments. I publish ELV, but I don’t do the choosing, so the selections are always interesting to me, especially those who come in on the low end for price.
Each restaurant in the Essential 50 has one of four price designations: “$125 and up,” “$75 to $125,” “$25 to $75,” or “$25 or less,” which reflects the per-person cost for a complete meal. This is the fifth edition of the book and the number of restaurants in that lowest category, compared to the earlier editions, reflects what all of us already know, that prices continue to rise. Whereas the earlier editions had six or seven options for under $25, this edition has only three. However, another 14 come in at the second-lowest designation of $25–$75, which means that two people having an appetizer, an entrée, a side or dessert, and one or two lower-priced cocktails can easily get out for under $100 total before tip. That’s more than half of the 50 restaurants in the two lowest price categories. Not bad.
The three most affordable are District One, The Goodwich and Khoury’s. District One (3400 S. Jones Blvd.) features low-cost small plates, including noodle soups of all sorts for $9 and an awesome whole grilled squid for $12. Good happy hours that run Mon–Fri from 5–7 p.m. and midnight to 2 a.m. feature $1.25 raw oysters and 50-cent serrano pepper wings. The Goodwich is the sandwich shop that used to work out of a stand near Dino’s Lounge and is now stationed in Soho Lofts. The creative sandwiches are $7–$10, and there’s a punch card for a free one after you buy 10.
Khoury’s, in the Village Square at S. Ft. Apache Blvd. and W. Sahara Ave., serves Mediterranean cuisine, primarily Lebanese. The House Mezza plate alone will feed an entire table for $33. Gyros, Mediterranean salads and the best grape leaves in town are all under $10. During happy hour, Mon–Fri from 3–6 p.m., kabobs are $5 and beer is $2.
At the next lowest level, $25 to $75, there are more than a dozen selections: Allegro (Wynn), Border Grill (at Mandalay Bay), Bouchon (The Venetian), Carson Kitchen, Chada Street, Cleo (SLS Las Vegas), Due Forni, Hearthstone (Red Rock Casino), Hiroyoshi Japanese Cuisine, Lotus of Siam, Marché Bacchus, Other Mama, Sen of Japan and Yonaka Modern Japanese. These aren’t supercheap, but they still rate as a deal when considering what it costs for this quality elsewhere.
By the way, another interesting development in this year’s edition of the book is the exit of Joël Robuchon, Guy Savoy and Twist by Pierre Gagnaire from the Top 10. These temples of food were heretofore considered untouchable. Who would dare? These authors did!
Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor and LasVegasAdvisor.com.