The latest episode of Robert Irvine’s “Restaurant: Impossible,” which began streaming Thursday on Discovery+, features the Las Vegas kosher restaurant Burnt Offerings. It’s titled “Saving an American Dream,” and the network describes it as Robert Irvine facing “the most difficult challenge of his career when he must save a Russian immigrant’s dream of success in America.”
That woman, Burnt Offerings owner Alexandra Emtsova, says she doesn’t know how the producers got her name and that she originally didn’t return their calls because she “thought it was a scam phone call.” But the offer, which she received in late August, could not have come at a better time.
“I was almost ready to give up, with no people, no conventions, no tourism,” Emtsova says of her predictament in the midst of the pandemic. “My restaurant is in a very narrow niche, and without proper tourism and the traffic from the convention center, it’s very hard for me to make it.”
Nonetheless, members of her staff were wary of the experience.
“My team said, ‘Alex, do you understand what kind of show it is? They’re going to make us all look like idiots!’ And I said, ‘Yeah, but at the end of it we’re going to get a brand-new room, and a menu that has Robert Irvine’s name on it. Come on, guys, anybody can get abuse for a few days and be OK with it.’ ”
Despite that, Emtsova says she and members of her team went home in tears after some days on the set.
“I knew they were going to be rough and tough and completely straightforward. But I didn’t consider my business a failing business. I’m just in the global pandemic situation. And then, of course, the way the show spins it is you are completely failing, you’re about to shut down your doors, everything sucks and the food is horrible.”
The restaurateur laughs a little when she talks about it now but admits that last part was hard to swallow.
“Telling me that my food sucks, that’s like telling someone their baby is ugly. That hurts.”
In the end, however, Emtsova is happy with the results.
“I totally would do it again, and I do look at it as a positive experience. I did get the room I’ve been dreaming about. It’s brighter, nicer, modern, welcoming. It’s a place where people want to come in and hang out.”
You can see Emtsova and her restaurant on Discovery+, or experience them in person at 3909 W. Sahara Ave.