If Max Jacobson, Al Mancini and I had only to decide on the top seven restaurants for the second edition of our book Eating Las Vegas: The 50 Essential Restaurants, the decision would have been easy. No food writer (or gourmet) worth their salt would dispute that Bar Masa, Cut, Guy Savoy, Joël Robuchon, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Picasso and Twist set the standards for top-flight food in this town. But once we got past those, the foam started to fly. “Too much fancy French,” moaned Mancini. “Not enough from the neighborhoods,” said a surly Jacobson. ¶ In the end, the specialness of Le Cirque and new chef Gregory Pugin could not be denied, which left two selections over which to cross knives. In what we could call the “seafood spot,” the Greek newcomer (Milos) got the nod over the tried-and-true Italian (Bartolotta). And then we were down to our No. 10 slot, claimed last year by RM Seafood. Its kitchen crew has been overhauled in the past year, and none of us were quite sure it had yet found its sea legs. That opened the door for Michael Mina’s revamped menu at the Bellagio mainstay. Like Picasso and Le Cirque, it’s that rarest of restaurants that just keeps getting better.
Wed, Nov 23, 2011 (1:14 p.m.)