In recent years Las Vegas has experienced a meteoric rise to become, arguably, the best restaurant city in the world.  The names attached to the eateries on the famed Las Vegas Strip represent a veritable “Who’s Who” of the culinary universe, now home to James Beard Foundation award-winning names pulled from the industry’s top food magazines, blogs and television shows. The 2013 edition of Eating Las Vegas: The 50 Essential Restaurants (Huntington Press, December, 2012) accomplishes what no other restaurant guide has, compiling the opinions of the city’s three most respected critics (John Curtas, Max Jacobson and Al Mancini) to create a reference book that lists their agreed-upon “Essential 50″ restaurants in Sin City.

But it’s much more than just a list of restaurants, as each entry receives a thoughtful and candid description from all three authors. The guide also includes a 44-page specialty guide dedicated to “Additional Recommendations” - from beer to buffets and from Sunday brunch to sushi - plus everything else in between.  The contentious (and ever-popular) “Vetoes” section pits author-against-author, a literary version of a free-for-all food fight.

“When we green-lit this project three years ago, I wasn’t sure its realization was even a possibility, as we were dealing with three highly knowledgeable but incredibly strong-willed personalities,” said publisher Anthony Curtis.  “But John (Curtas), Max (Jacobson) and Al (Mancini) have continued to deliver on their promise to seek out, and agree upon, Las Vegas’ 50 Essential Restaurants.”

The 2013 edition of Eating Las Vegas with its foreword written by 14-times James Beard Foundation award-winning food journalist,  Alan Richman, adds three newcomers to the vaunted Top Ten list - including two off-strip restaurants - a first for the book - in Marché Bacchus French Bistro and Raku Japanese Charcoal Grill.  The other newcomer is Piero Selvaggio’s Valentino at The Venetian.  Rounding out the “Top Ten,” and repeating from 2012, are Estiatorio Milos at The Cosmopolitan, Joël Robuchon and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand, Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace, CUT at Palazzo and Le Cirque and Picasso at Bellagio.

In addition to the “Top 10,” 11 new restaurants made the “Essential 50,” including Bread & Butter, Comme Ça at The Cosmopolitan, Due Forni, Fleur at Mandalay Bay, Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris, Kabuto, Le Thai, Mint Indian Bistro, miX at Mandalay Bay, Public House at The Venetian and Sirio at Aria. Of course, when restaurants are added, casualties are inevitable. Eleven previously listed restaurants didn’t make the cut this year.  Some may be easier to swallow than others, but the authors refuse to place celebrity above credibility, as one notable inclusion in the “Vetoes” section amply demonstrates.