My Vegas Celebrity Chef Tour (very long)
I just got back from 3 days in Las Vegas and this is my Chow experience.
Day 1 Wed (In&Out - B&B)
I arrived mid morning, picked up my rental car and headed straight to In&Out. I know that it's fast food but this is the one place I needed to try because I've heard such good things about it. I ordered the Double Double, Animal Style Fries and a Neapolitan Shake. The burger was very good, nice and juicy. The fries were good with the spread and onions. The shake was OK. Couldn't really tell the 3 flavors apart. They kind of just meld together. Overall In&Out was good but not great. Fatburger and Five Guys are just as good in my opinion.
Had tickets to see Spamalot so I booked an early reservation at B&B. I was looking forward to this for a long time. Although I live in CT getting to Babbo just isn't convenient. I have read complaints about the music but I didn't notice it. Maybe because the room was almost empty when I dined and they turn it up later on. I ordered the Pasta Tasting Menu and it was an unforgettable experience.
1) Amuse Bouche - Chick Pea Bruschetta - Very good
2) Herb Fazzoletti - Very simple but very delicious
3) Cavatelli with Peas and Ham Hock - This was the most disappointing dish of the night simply because it was very salty
4) Spaghetti alla Chittara - The pasta was salty but the sauce was excellent
5) Jose's Pyramids - Loved them.
6) Goose Liver Ravioli - My favorite dish of the night.
7) Torrone Semifreddo - Excellent
8) Chocolate Almond Torta - A perfect ending to the night
Service was excellent. My server described all the dishes as they arrived and was very helpful in picking a quartino of white wine for me, even letting me sample a pair before deciding. Being a big guy I thought the portion sizes would leave me still hungry, but I wound up extremely satisfied and then some. I can't wait to go back and try the regular tasting menu.
Day 2 Thu (Bouchon - Olives - Cut)
I love eggs and after hearing all the rave reviews about the scrambled eggs at Bouchon, I had to try. Finding the place is another story. Bouchon isn't even on the Venetian maps. Eventually I made my way there and I ordered the Boudin Blanc and an order of Pommes Frites. The Boudin Blanc was distinctive. It was OK but I probably wouldn't order it again. The scrambled were good but I've made them just as good at home. The pomme frites were a bit of a disappointment. Not as crispy as I thought they should be. I've had better at McDs. The croissant was light and airy. Service was excellent and very attentive. Overall Bouchon was OK. I'll probably give it one more shot in the future.
Wasn't sure what I wanted to do for lunch but I finally settled on Olives. Started with the Tuna Carpaccio. It was a pretty substantial piece of tuna. A lot larger then I expected for an appetizer. It was good but not great. I followed that up with the Rosemary Pappardelle Beef Bolognese. Very rich and hearty. I liked it. Didn't have room for dessert however. Service was OK, no major lapses. I thought they could have been a little more attentive for such an established restaurant however.
I had to hit a steak house while in Vegas and I had tickets to Jersey Boys so I made a late reservation for Cut. I was early for my reservation and they were running a little behind so I decided to dine at the bar. I don't know if the same applied to the dining room but I found the music at the bar/lounge area to be very loud. Anyway I started with the Austrian Oxtail Bouillon, Chive Blossoms, Chervil, Bone Marrow Dumplings. I considered getting the soft shell crabs but I had read good things about the Oxtail Bouillon. It was good but nothing special in my opinion. I couldn't really discern the bone marrow in the dumplings. I guess my palette isn't sophisticated enough. For the main course I ordered the New York Sirloin Tasting, 4oz Prime Dry Aged, 4oz American Kobe and 2oz Japanese Waygu. The steaks were cooked to perfection and you could really tell the difference between the steaks. The Japanese Waygu practically melted in my mouth, it was so rich. There was definitely a difference between the USDA Prime and the American Kobe as well. The tasting came with 3 sauces but nothing really stood out and I didn't want to take away from the natural richness and flavor of the meat. For a side I ordered the creamed spinach. I love creamed spinach and this one also came with a fried egg which I love. However I was very disappointed with the dish. It wasn't very creamy at all . For dessert I ordered the Dark Chocolate Soufflé, Whipped Crème Fraîche, Gianduja Ice Cream. It was very rich. A chocolate lovers dream although I found the gianduja ice cream to be different. Good but different. Service was good but sitting at the bar is different. I want/need to experience the whole "show" from the dining room. All in all I would visit again just to have the Japanese Kobe.
Day 3 Fri (Table 10 - L'Atelier)
I didn't have any thing planned for breakfast/lunch so I just played things by ear. I wound up at the Palazzo and decided to try Table 10 to complete my Emeril Las Vegas hat trick. I was the very first customer of the day. I started with the Gumbo which was very good. Peppery but not too spicy. I had a 5:45PM reservation for L'Atelier before my flight home later that evening so I wasn't looking for anything to heavy. I passed on the Lobster Pot Pie in favor of the Chilean Sea Bass special. The Sea Bass came on top of a creamy mushroom risotto which was delicious. I usually love Chilean Sea Bass but this was very plain and forgettable. I wasn't going to have dessert but I was intrigued by the Sweet Potato Cheesecake. It was good. Service was excellent. I would try Table 10 one more time and the next time I would sit at the bar facing the open kitchen.
My most anticipated and last meal of the trip was to L'Atelier. I almost missed it because of a incredible lucky shooter at the craps table. Fortunately/unfortunately I was only 5 minutes late and made enough at the craps table to pay for dinner and then some. I ordered the Discovery Menu and I was in for a treat. The one thing I noticed is how calm and precise the kitchen was. It was early and not very busy when I arrived but as the night picked up it was still very quite in the kitchen.
1) Amuse Bouce of Le Citron (Lemon gelee topped with fennel cream) - Simple yet refined
2) Le Thon Rouge (Big eye tuna with tomato infused olive oil) - Excellent
3) Le Homard (Maine lobster in a gelee of vegetable topped with chilled leek soup) - This was absolutely delicious.
4) L'Asperge Verte (Capuccino of green asparagus with parmesan) - I'm not a huge fan of asparagus but this was very good.
5) La Sole (Dover sole filet with zucchini and mushrooms) - Good
6) L'Oeuf (Fried egg with sweet onion cream and smoked salmon) - This was my favorite dish. I'm still wondering how they fried the egg and yet the yolk remains runny.
7) La Caille (Quail stuffed with foie gras and served with truffle mashed potatoes) - The entire dish divine. I especially loved the truffle mashed potatoes.
8) Le the Glace Vanille (Lemongrass Mousse, vanilla tea flavored sorbet and crunchy caramel tuile) - This dessert was excellent. I really liked the yuzu infused raisins which I thought were some sort of berry.
9) La Mangue (Hazelnut cremeux, fresh mango and coffee caramel streusel) - An excellent ending to a fabulous meal.
10) Le Cafe (Espresso)
Service was outstanding and it was a pleasure watching the kitchen at work. I would definitely go back. I'll also have to put the Mansion on my to do list.
Well that was the extent of my once in a lifetime trip to Vegas. I'd do it again in a heartbeat but this is probably the last time I will be able to hit so many high end restaurants in one trip.
You really packed a lot into 3-days.
I have Cut on my radar for next trip. I will definitely be ordering the NY strip tasting you described.
I completely agree with you about Bouchon for breakfast. Very good, but why all the hype? The dinners I have had there have been outstanding though. I guess I'm not a breakfast person.
Thank you Thank you for the elaborate review on L'Atelier! I have this as my "Grand Finale" during my upcoming trip the first week in May. I was semi-seriously considering Mansion, but since I'm going solo thought L'Atleier would be more comfortable. I'm glad you had a good time. -Mary
I appreciate the details of your report. I've been considering CUT for one of the meals for our trip in a couple of weeks....so pricey though. Wondering if it's special enough in its atmosphere and presentation?
We wandered for over an hour at the V to find Bouchon and even the casino workers, security guards didn't know how to get there...talk about a nightmare..why isn't it on any of the directories, knowledge of casino staff?
Plus the menu font was so bloody small and I don't wear glasses and I could see others having the same issue..we decided to do mussels and champagne since we both couldn't read it..sad really..
I e-mailed Thomas Keller but I heard nothing..I really wasn't expecting it..
Very impressive report Anthony!