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Is Todd's Unique Cuisine really good?

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josephnl Feb 7, 2012 07:24 PM

Really missing Rosemary's as a wonderful off-strip restaurant, and noting excellent reviews of Todd's on this site and seeing a 28 food rating for Todd's on Zagat's, I decided to try the restaurant when I was in LV 2 weeks ago. I had an awful experience, and posted the following on another thread.

"Perhaps it was just an off night, but I don't think so...too many things were wrong. Based upon the recommendations on this board, I went to Todd's last evening and had perhaps the worst meal I've ever had in Las Vegas...and, I was told that Todd was in the kitchen. First of all, the bread was totally dried out...with the surface feel of melba toast. My calamari/shrimp appetizer was ok...not bad, but certainly nothing special. My entree was a disaster!! I ordered the steelhead salmon that was highly recommended by my very nice server. The fish was ok, but somewhat overdone; the accompaniments were truly shockingly bad. The stir fried vegetables were obviously not cooked to order, but we're cold, limp, seriously overcooked and dreadful...as though they had been cooked the day before, or sitting in a chafing dish for hours. The fried rice was equally awful...not nearly as good as the frozen that I occasionally buy at TJ's. Because the bread and entree were so bad, I asked the server to show them to the chef and ask him his thoughts. I heard nothing back. They did take the entree off my bill, but when I asked what the chef had said about the returned items, I was told that he "was busy".

Perhaps Todd's was terrific at one time, but it was truly awful last night. It was a long ride from my central strip hotel, and certainly not worth it. I had been hoping for a good replacement for what was previously my favorite off strip restaurant Rosemary's, but alas Todd's is not even remotely in the same league. Todd's even looks old and worn out, but this would be easily overlooked had the food been good. It wasn't!"

There has not been a single response to the above posting, and I'm quite surprised. Was my experience at Todd's "unique"? I was really shocked by the poor quality of my meal, especially noting the 28 food rating in Zagat's whereas the wonderful Le Cirque only receives a 27!! Zagat's is obviously not authoritative, but what about my dreadful experience at Todd's?

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    westie RE: josephnl Feb 8, 2012 03:35 AM

    I am sorry to learn of your poor experience at Todd's and be assured yours was an exception and not the rule. Todd's has garnered an amazing number of awards and is included in the 2012 edition of Eating Las Vegas: The 50 Essential restaurants. I have eaten there almost a dozen times since the restaurant first opened and have never experienced anything remotely like what you describe. My food has been consistently excellent. Hopefully you will give the restaurant a 2nd chance.

    10 Replies
    1. re: westie
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      josephnl RE: westie Feb 13, 2012 11:05 PM

      I find it interesting that aside from you, no one on either this thread or my earlier posting on another thread has come to Todd's defense. Hmmmm!

      1. re: josephnl
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        lvnvflyer RE: josephnl Feb 14, 2012 02:00 PM

        Well, I think restaurant experiences are pretty individual, which is why I didn't respond to your earlier posting. I've eaten at Todd's numerous times and have not had the experience you did...to the contrary. The food has been consistently very good to excellent, and the service is generally exceptional. Most of the servers have been there for years, and the service is warm and attentive. (I do agree with you about the room, to a degree...generally we eat at the bar, but I find the booths not as comfortable as I would like). The salads are generally terrific, as are the soups; and there are really interesting and good vegetarian options especially on Thursday, when they are trying to feature those.

        When I say that I think restaurants are a really personal choice, I am reflecting as well on your statement about Rosemary's. Many, many people loved Rosemary's...but I would not count myself among them. No need to go into the reasons, especially when the restaurant is no longer open, but simply to note that different things are going to strike different folks.
        LAS is also a place where neighborhood places (like Todd's and Rosemary's) are not very common, unfortunately (two others that come to mind that are still open are Vintner Grill and Marche Bacchus). For me, Todd's meets the requirements of a very good neighborhood restaurant: consistency, enough change in the menu to keep my attention, and a reasonable price point. I am sorry your experience wasn't better, but can only assure you that others have had different takes!

        1. re: josephnl
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          Philber RE: josephnl Feb 14, 2012 04:36 PM

          lvnvflyer pretty much nailed it. We go to Todd's between 6-10 times a year and have been doing so for over four years. While we have had some meals that we liked better than others, we have never had an experience like the one you describe. In fact our most recent meal at Todd's (mid -January) was one of the best we have ever had......

          1. re: Philber
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            josephnl RE: Philber Feb 15, 2012 02:19 PM

            Interesting. What makes my experience so different, was that there were some things that were really undeniably awful (bread as dry as melba toast, horribly cold limp and overcooked stir-fry vegetables, etc.), and the chef was either too embarrassed or proud to comment on them...or try to make it right. But others must love Todd's for it to have a 28 food rating in Zagat's (ridiculous when Le Cirque gets a 27). Well, I've never been a big fan of Zagat's.

            1. re: josephnl
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              danieli10 RE: josephnl Feb 15, 2012 04:41 PM

              People still use Zagat's? Wow, I haven't used that since late 90s. The internet is such a better tool!

              1. re: josephnl
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                Philber RE: josephnl Feb 15, 2012 06:14 PM

                I must admit that I was really surprised by your post..... But, it's clear that you didn't really want any feedback from Todd's regulars - which is what your post title indicated.

                I wish you the best in your dining adventures elsewhere in Vegas as there are many, many options......

                1. re: Philber
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                  josephnl RE: Philber Feb 16, 2012 07:33 AM

                  I, of course, I wanted feedback from other CH's. Why else would I have posted even a second time when there was only one response to my original post?

                  It now seems clear to me that my experience at Todd's was not the norm, but it still doesn't explain why the chef was unwilling to acknowledge the problem and try make right the things that were obviously (and you'll have to trust me on this) very wrong. In fairness, they did take the entree off my bill, but I would have much preferred having a good meal. Also, since no other CH has reported a similar bad experience at Todd's, I'm led to believe that my dinner was, indeed "unique".

                  1. re: josephnl
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                    juno RE: josephnl Feb 19, 2012 10:49 AM

                    Like the OP, I also miss Rosemary's, but I've always regarded Todd's as a junior version of Rosemary's, and have been going there whenever I'm in town - at least twice a year - almost since it opened. Imaginative food, good service, appropriate prices, consistent high quality. Unlike the OP, I've never taken in a bad mouthful (though I've never ingested any of the dishes he/she ordered). I can only assume it was a rare off night for what, since Rosemary's went out of action, is my favourite Las Vegas neighbourhood joint. And Todd usually has a particularly good hand with fish and seafood. Also, in my experience, like most deeply engaged chefs, if it's not too busy he often comes round to the tables during the lulls to accept compliments and/or criticisms.

                    Mind, I'd have sent the stale bread back immediately.

                    1. re: juno
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                      josephnl RE: juno Feb 19, 2012 12:44 PM

                      I didn't send the bread back because I rarely eat more than a bite or two unless the bread is truly exceptional. I'm clearly seeing that my experience at Todd's was not the norm, nevertheless it's really hard to understand how so many things were undeniably (and, of course, you have to trust me on this) so very, very poor, and the chef seemingly was not wanting to say or do anything about it.

                      1. re: josephnl
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                        westie RE: josephnl Feb 20, 2012 03:30 AM

                        I too find the response you describe as being inconsistent with his past behavior and wonder if, indeed, the server actually conveyed your request. Perhaps Todd was indeed very busy and the server only mentioned that someone was unhappy with the meal and his response was something along the lines of "than just take it off his bill"?

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          gancia24 RE: josephnl Feb 8, 2013 03:20 PM

          Todd's is ok-good but nothing to write home about. I've been twice. Never ate anything memorable. Always took 2-3 phone calls to make a reservation. Really got screwed by them on New Year's but that's a different story. I probably won't be back. There are much better places to eat in Vegas/Henderson.

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