Johnathan L. Wright •
Reno Gazette-Journal - Oct 9, 2013
You don’t know who they are or when they’re coming.
In this case, “they” — it’s always “they,” isn’t it? — are the inspectors who annually travel to scores of restaurants and lodging properties across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean for the AAA diamond ratings program. Visits are unannounced, inspectors work anonymously and they often bring to the job years’ of travel industry experience. Unlike, say, the ongoing danger with Yelp, AAA inspectors don’t have axes to grind and aren’t the owner’s competitor or brother-in-law.
So, that’s the context in which the Atlantis Steakhouse just received a AAA Four Diamond rating, one that comes on the heels of the entire property’s Four Diamond rating in 2012. Fewer than 3 percent of the 29,000 restaurants rated by AAA are awarded four diamonds. In Nevada, about 35 restaurants have received either four or five diamonds (the top rating); all but a handful are in Las Vegas.
Atlantis Steakhouse’s four diamonds comes after Bimini Steakhouse in the Peppermill received four diamonds this past summer. Go Reno!
The award is even more impressive when you consider the Steakhouse, by design, offers only a classic meat-and-seafood menu. That means the restaurant cannot rely on exceedingly diverse ingredients or constantly changing menus to impress inspectors.
Since reopening about three years ago, Atlantis Steakhouse staff have taken part in ongoing training on ingredients, dishes, cocktails and spirits and how to describe and recommend them, wine regions and pairings, and the major and finer points of service. This training is conducted by food and beverage director Chira Pagidi, assistant executive chef Dennis Houge and other chefs, cellar master Christian O’Kuinghttons and steakhouse director Ali Sar-Sangi.
Bravo, brava, kudos, congrats to everyone at the Atlantis Steakhouse. We will be visiting soon with a special request to see how you handle it. Hint: capybara.