Bouchon, breakfast, March 1st Report
I should have sent the plate back.
I'm a foodie, and a Vegas lover. And although I live in a big city with some great chefs, I'm out in the 'burbs and work and life don't allow the time I'd like to really explore my foodie side. So vacation is really my time to indulge.
For two months I've been looking forward to arriving in Vegas and having breakfast at Bouchon that morning (my husband is such a non-foodie, I figured it was a venture I'd do on my own, and he was going to meet with a vendor that morning). In anticipation, I made Thomas Keller's roast chicken recipe, which in 15 years of cooking has not only been my best roast chicken, but the only one that even worked as described. I was psyched.
From straight off the plane, picking up the luggage and getting the rental car. Hubby dropped me at the Venetian while he went off on his adventure. I headed up to Bouchon, with dreams of a wonderful meal in my head.
I like to do lunches at the fancier places.... usually a bit more relaxed and a bit cheaper.
I've looked at the menu at least twice a week since Christmas (this trip was a present) trying to figure out what I wanted to try. I knew the Pomme Frites and Cheese Danish had to be tried. I eyed the Croque Madame, but was also eyeing it for a lunch at Rosemary's the same day (that did not happen) and thinking I might try it there.
Inside the Venetian, the signs easily lead me to Bouchon, and the staff greeted me with smiles like I was an old friend. No waiting and I was quickly seated (in what I dubbed "single lady row", since they kept puttin' all the single female diners in the same area).
I settled on the Breakfast Américaine. It had everything I really wanted. Thought about the boudain blanc, which was on the menu, but figured I'd go with the choice that had the two main things I wanted to try since I wouldn't have to order seperate items.
They delivered the Cheese Danish first, and my eyes about bugged out of my head. It looked fantastic.
Then came the main plate. And my heart sank.
I'm a lover of eggs. And while I consider myself only a semi-accomplished home cook, I'm darned good at eggs. And I love love love some nicely done, soft and tender scrambled eggs. I figured if any place, anywhere, ever, would deliver that for breakfast, it would be Bouchon and I'd be a happy camper.
My plate looked like Dennys. Hard, "Peeps" yellow rubbery eggs and bacon that was half crisp and half soggy (my love of crisp bacon is second only to the love of good scrambled eggs). I really, really should have sent the plate back, but being a gal alone in the resteraunt and looking like I'd just stepped off a plane, since I had, I begrudgingly sank in my seat and ate what was good.
The sausage was fantastic. Nicely browned, juicy with a wonderful spice. The pomme frites.... I'm spoiled for any other plain french fry (now covered in chili and cheese... that's another story). Even the cold ones were great.
They were late in getting butter to my table and I'm not a cold butter gal, but this stuff was so stiff I could hardly get it on a knife and it made breadcrumbs of the brioche toast when I tried to spread.
The Cheese Danish was one of the most fantastic things I've ever had. The staff was fantastic, not overly intrusive but there when you wanted more coffee, more water, or the check.
But I couldn't get over the eggs. The "looks like Dennys" eggs. I don't know if they've had enough scrambled eggs sent back for being 'not right" and figure this will please most people or if the morning line staff just needs to learn a thing or two. Part of the reason I like fine dining is knowing they should deliver a certain standard for the money. And they didn't. Even describing it later to the hubby, he knows enough about the difference in scmabled eggs that he was a bit upset I didn't send the plate back.
Bouchon may be worth another try, with a braver me who will actually send a dish back at such a place. But I really, really question if the place does have the commitment to standards that I thought they did. Maybe with other recent openings in Vegas they've lost some talented line cooks or something, but this breakfast just did not deliver what I expected, and it's got me heartbroken right now.
Yes, I should have sent the plate back. Blame it on years of being trained "you eat what other people serve you" when I'm not at my home table.
But I do have a problem with the fact that this plate was even allowed to go out. I expected Bouchon's standards to be better than they showed on my visit, and I think that is my biggest issue.
There were parts of the meal that were fantastic, that I would gladly eat again.
A couple people around me had quiches, and boy, when I looked at their plates and then looked at mine, I knew I made a wrong choice.
And ziggylu, I walked in about 9:30 on a Thursday morning and was seated without a wait (I barely had time to tell them it was just me before they were leading me to a table). I've heard from other sources that usually, Monday thru Thursday, it's easy to get a table at breakfast.
I had breakfast at Bouchon once a couple years ago and had a great quiche with very good bacon. If you're into it, they have the best chocolate milk I've ever had, too. (Also now The Venetian has a little walk-up Bouchon bakery right near the entrance to the theatre and tower elevators, which has great sandwiches, pastries and the aforementioned chocolate milk.)
i have nt eaten at Bouchon...a day will come when i will. but i can tell you one thing, when i am at a high end restaurant and the food is not to snuff, i send it back and request that if be done correctly...you are paying top $$$ you want the best...it's that simple. for years, i would shrug it off and move on...not anymore - i've even asked to have the chef come to my table and explain to me what went wrong with my food and even argued with a few chefs when they disagreed with my opinion and honestly, i had respect for those chefs that took issue to what i said - as long as they are respectful ( as am i ) and don't preach or have that condescending tone that makes me want to stick a chinois up their...you know what ! I think Thomas Keller is one of the top chef's in america...if not the best. i respect him even more after reading his bio and one of his cookbooks ( not sure how many he has ) - so if any elemen t of a dish is not to par, there's no doubt in my mind he would want you to send it back and demand better.
Thanks for the review. I've been wanting to try Bouchon for the last the two trips and haven't done it yet. My problem is I like lunch much better and never could convince myself to skip lunch for breakfast. I know Bouchon has lunch, but everyone raves about the breakfast, not lunch. I'll be just as happy skipping this place and having lunch at Rosemary's instead. I'd rather have a great lunch than chance it on breakfast.
I'm pretty sure "brunch" is what Rick meant. In the past it has been voted Best Brunch by a couple different periodicals. The problem is - they didn't really serve brunch. They served breakfast and lunch ( but only on Saturday and Sunday ). The moniker has been a point of debate ever since.
The lunch menu is basically the same as the dinner menu. Unless it has changed drastically ...
I'm sorry you didn't enjoy your breakfast there completely.
My husband and I have had breakfast there more times than I can remember and each have been perfect, interestingly, especially the scrambled eggs. I have waxed poetic about those eggs and have tried begging for the recipe to no avail. I would have sent them back for sure if they weren't to my liking. And I always specify how I want my bacon cooked so if half of them were not cooked right, back they would go as well. For the price of breakfast there, I want it perfect.
I do have to agree about the butter situation tho, I never understood why they don't have it at room temperature so it would spread easily.
BTW, I'm one of those people who even love their dinners. Only have had good experiences, although service can be either fantastic or somewhat spotty. But I've excused that because the food is so good.
You certainly have every right to voice your opinion here. Things can change in any restaurant. The last time were were there was last April, so perhaps there are new cooks in the morning not as well trained, who knows? That would be quite a shame as it was one of those things we always looked forward to each time we were in town.
One of the things that Chowhound enables all of us to do is express our views and experiences. Yet for some reason when someone posts a negative experience about a beloved Chowish hangout it is categorically dismissed. Bouchon is beloved... Your post about Bouchon (for Breakfast) couldn't be more spot on. The space is very nice. Like you, I found the staff friendly but at times scatter-brained. But most importantly, I found the food to be extremely uneven. I have only been for breakfast. If a place is open for breakfast, whether it be Thomas Keller or Joe Blow, it should treated with the same professionalism as lunch or dinner. I have been several times over the last 3 years and I have found it to be average, at best for breakfast fare. However, when you have one of the special quiches that are offered, you are then brought back to why people continue to flock to this restaurant. OMG, those quiches are made of dreams! Which brings me right back to the question...is Bouchon one of the best breakfast spots in Las Vegas? If you are looking for breakfast fare, no. My vote goes to The Verandah at the Four Seasons. Maybe I need to try if for lunch or dinner now!
That doesn't sound like the Bouchon I know. All of the line cooks there have the discipline of Thomas Keller because all of the sous and the executive chef have that drive and fire. Bouchon delivers one of the best breakfast menus in town and I will stick by that statement. It must have been an off day or something was awry. I would try it again and see what you come up with before making any decisions. Those line cooks make some damn good breakfast plates even though they really shouldn't be doing it - it's really not a place that should be serving breakfast, IMO ( although it's damn tasty ).