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"Best of Las Vegas" - REALLY?!?!

Here are the 2013 "Best of Las Vegas" award results:


However, considering the reader picks for "Best Italian Restaurant" (Olive Garden), "Best Seafood Restaurant" (Red Lobster), "Best Chinese Restaurant" (P.F. Chang's), "Best Steakhouse" (Outback Steakhouse), and "Best BBQ" (Famous Dave's), I'd take these awards with a grain of salt - AT BEST!!

To the Las Vegas locals who voted in these awards: come on, folks! You live in Las Vegas!! And, you think these mediocre chains are the best this city has to offer? Las Vegans ought to be ashamed of themselves!! Bloody hell!!

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  1. Don't know whether this is more scary or funny.

    1. A lot of folks probably can't afford the higher end. That, and for many , it is just a meal, nothing more.

      I have eaten at all of them. The olive Garden, and Red Lobster are off my radar due to how they treated their employees back home, and over fishing of swordfish.

      Dave's has some good BBQ sauces, and I love their hot pickles. Saying that, I cannot tell you the last time I was in there. Simply can't afford to eat out much after the pay cut.

      7 Replies
      1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

        You are probably right and that has a bit to do with it. However, I still think it's rather small-minded.

        I'm not saying that the named franchises are BAD...I just can't believe people would vote them EMBLEMATIC of the city's BEST. Why not choose one of the many local BBQ joints, which are at least as affordable and at least as good, instead of Famous Dave's? Why not choose one of our excellent local Italian restaurants (Nora's? Roma Deli? Marc's?) instead of Olive Garden?

        A restaurant doesn't need to be "higher end" to be the best. But when you're going to bestow an award titled "Best of Las Vegas" onto an establishment, you'd think you'd at least want it to be not only quite good, but also the best of what is somewhat unique to Las Vegas. And to say that these mid-level chains are "best" and therefore imply that they are "better" than the local dining landscape takes a lot of credibility away from these awards, in my opinion.

        1. re: TravelScholar

          This sort of thing happens all over. The taste of Vegas residents isn't any more sophisticated than anywhere else, and many people like the consistency of chains. Besides, Vegas has a real shortage of mom-and-pop restaurants -- in my experience, once you get off the Strip, it's mostly chains.

          Not defending Famous Dave's, but as for these local BBQ places, please tell us which ones are as good or better than F.D. I consider the BBQ in this town to be pretty weak.

          1. re: Steve Green

            You are probably right, Steve, on all counts. Even my favourite BBQ place in town is a chain (Lucille's). LOL. And, Famous Dave's is probably my 2nd favourite. Like I said, though...my point isn't that the chains aren't good. But, I think to imply that they are the "best" that Las Vegas has to offer is pretty sad.

            1. re: Steve Green

              I agree. I have friends at home who would absolutely vote for Olive Garden, Cheesecake Factory, Red Lobster, etc as the "best" restaurant. There's a reason there are so many of those places around--most Americans like their food.

              1. re: Njchicaa

                Maybe the title should be Favorites of our readers, not Best of Las Vegas.

                Personally I have yet to dine on the Strip- outside of the buffet at Excalibur, and I was treated to the buffet at Bellagio once-otherwise I would probably never pay that much for a buffet.

                I love good food, but I have my limits cost wise. I would say that a lot more people can afford the chains than any Strip restaurant. So, to do a Best of list they would need to revamp the entire process of picking winners-panel of judges maybe?

                As to BBQ joints I only know of Lucille's, Memphis, and Famous Dave's. Haven't been to any others.

            2. re: TravelScholar

              What "many local BBQ joints" are you referring to? I'm looking for a good one.
              Nora's Italian is considerably better than OG; no comparison.

              1. re: mucho gordo

                Big Paul's on Pecos-McLeod at Desert Inn (SE corner) is decent.

                I've heard that Road Kill Grill at John Mull's Meats is very good, but I haven't been there.

          2. I always have to laugh when I see "readers picks" or "best of" lists in any publication. While, to me, the Review Journal's lists are laughable, these illogical lists are frequently published in magazines and newspapers all over the country. No matter who was at the top of category, would you take it seriously and run right out and dine there? No, you'd do more research because you are a Chowhound and you'd find out the real deal. I'd do the same. For some people, the dining establishments that were named are fine and are regarded as good eating. All I am saying is to each his own, and don't think that anyone knows better than you, what you like.

            1. Olive Garden has been the "Readers' Pick" for best Las Vegas Italian for several years running. All you need to do is read any of the comments to any R-J article (I hesitate to call the Review-Journal "fishwrap", because that would be cruel to fish) to see the mindset of the people who vote in this particular poll.

              1. I am impervious to the reader selections from the RJ -- I've seen every one since the feature began. What is depressing to me, this year, is how bad the editors' picks are.

                1. Many of these surveys end up picking the highest volume restaurant chain. To avoid that, you have to conduct surveys with knowledgeable subjects

                  1. If I recall correctly, one year Taco Bell won for best tacos, lol. The "Best of Vegas" list is good for a laugh and nothing more.

                    1. Hey, be grateful for the outcome on these polls. How would you like it if all Vegas residents had exquisite appreciation of culinary standards? If you called for reservations at Sage or Le Cirque, you'd be told that there is a 4 month wait because everybody who lives in Vegas and half the tourists would be competing for a table there as well as at every other highly regarded restaurant.

                      1. The results that flow from these newspaper-run "best _____" lists are always ridiculous for a simple statistical reason. They are always done by having people send in their "favorites," and the winner is the one with the most votes. The flaw is that big volume places will always get lots of votes simply because of their volume, not their quality. Quality is nearly always paired with low volume, meaning that few people have even tried the place, so the best places get few votes.

                        Consider burgers. Suppose hypothetically that Burger Bar is a legitimate contender for best burger in LV. How many LV residents who respond to the poll have eaten there, or even heard of the place. Probably very few. But you can be sure that many of them will vote for McDonalds. So McDonalds gets more votes than BB, even though you and I know it is an absurd result.

                        The result is not necessarily because ordinary people, IF THEY WERE EXPOSED, would not appreciate good quality. The problem is that all opinions are weighted equally in the vote tally, even though most have not been exposed to quality places.

                        Serious polling organizations, such as J.D. Power use methodologies that correct for these problems. Newspapers don't bother because the readers' polls are for entertainment, not serious information.

                        All that said, the editors picks should be better -- Dave Feldman questions that as well, and I agree with his point. There is no statistical excuse for bad editors' picks.

                        This is why newspaper "best of" articles are invariably dumb.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: johnb

                          You also have to keep in mind that "best" means different things to different people - otherwise all you would have to do is ask one person, and everyone would agree with that.

                          Besides, how many people on Chowhound bow down to the very name of In & Out? Should that be considered a contender for "best burger", even though it's a chain?

                          1. re: That Don Guy

                            Depending on whether the person you ask has eaten at all the contenders.

                            I don't think that the fact that a particular restaurant is part of a chain should automatically disqualify it from having a dish that is a contender for "best." While chain places, due to their business model, tend not to provide the "best" of whatever, but there are exceptions such as I-n-O who are contenders and who have their fans among 'hounds.

                            Of course it also depends on what you call a "chain." Strictly speaking IMO the term "formula restaurant" is more to the point of what most people mean when the say chain, and should be used instead of chain. After all, the term chain could refer to any multi-location restaurant business. Some guys, like Jose Andres for example, have enough places by now that they meet some definitions of "chain," but e and others of his stable certainly have many items these days that could be considered as best in their category.

                        2. It is always so stupid, I don't even bother to read it anymore