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Feb 17, 2011 01:24 PM

Raku and Las Vegas Shortlisted for James Beard Awards (Best Chef -- Southwest)

This year, these are the only two chefs from Las Vegas shortlisted. Congratulations to Mitsuo Endo and Saipin Chutima. These awards are inherently silly in some ways, but I'm so pleased that two independent, non-Strip chefs have been honored.

Picasso was shortlisted as "Outstanding Restaurant," a national award, and China Poblano for best new restaurant, and Robert Smith at Picasso for Wine Service.

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  1. It is truly nice to see Lotus and Raku get this kind of attention. Well-deserved. But you are right about the silliness inherent in these processes - China Poblano has been open all of two months. One would think that those in charge of such awards would be at least a little sensitive to being viewed as quick on the trigger.

    2 Replies
    1. re: QAW

      Has Picasso made any significant changes or progress in the past year? I'm not sure I would expect too many people to say it's the outstanding restaurant in LV.

      1. re: Dave Feldman

        Dave, I guess you have to define "Outstanding". Many view the James Beard awards as popularity contests. And there is some validity to that. Picasso is a bit of an enigma. I have been there almost every year since it opened and have always marveled at its beauty. It is a magical place. The service is outstanding. As good as any place I have been in Las Vegas. Is it perfect? No, but its as close as any place. And Robert Smith, he is undeniably THE best sommelier in Las Vegas (sorry Dezi). Which brings us to the food. And here is where most people, including myself, wonder why it continues keep its menu unchanged for many many years. Yes, they have some specials, but its core menu has not changed in forever. Even I have become bored with its cuisine and hence, missed it this year for the fist time since it opened. There is no justification to keep going back to Picasso when places like Raku, Lotus of Siam, e, and many others continue to change and capture our imaginations. However, if you are the person who goes to Picasso for the 1st time ever, is it an "Outstanding Restaurant"?

        Lotus of Siam
        953 E Sahara Ave Ste A5, Las Vegas, NV 89104