I'm back in Sin City. The main reason for my being here is to earn continuing medical education credits, but I can't say that the dining opportunities available were not a factor in choosing this destination. There certainly are plenty of dining choices, though many are of the clone and cookie cutter variety, which don't particularly appeal to me. In between my educational time I hope to visit a few of the more unique restaurants and dining opportunities Las Vegas has to offer.
I have had an on-going discussion on eGullet with David Ross, a food writer from Spokane with a soft heart for Las Vegas, about whether or not the Las Vegas culinary scene has a "soul." I doubt that in the few days I will be here that I will be able to discover whether or not that collective soul does indeed exist. I already know from personal experience that there are chefs here such as Richard Chen of Wing Lei in the Wynn Hotel and restaurants like L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon at the MGM Grand that cook great food with passion, precision and personality that is not designed to cater to the masses or the lowest common denominator. Does that indicate a cohesive soul? My experience is insufficient so far to draw any conclusions, but I aim to expand upon that. To aid me in my quest, I have enlisted the help of the foremost culinary critic of Las Vegas, John Curtas. John, David and a few others have pointed me in directions that should hopefully lead me to outposts of culinary grace in this city known most for its vices.