Las Vegas Restaurant Extravaganza Trip REVIEWS!!
Ok everyone I'm back from my Las Vegas Restaurant Extravaganza trip and will post the reviews as I post them on my blog http://thesoloreviewer.blogspot.com/ which provides pics of the the restaurants as well as other reviews from the trip. I will post them in the order in which I dined. Now this wasn't my original line up but after some crazy nights and customer service issues these are the restaurants I ended up at!
DAY 1: Lunch at Mesa Grill and dinner at Le Cirque!
DAY 2: Breakfast at Bouchon Bistron, Dinner at Tableau
DAY 3: Breakfast at Tableau, Lunch at Enoteca San Marco, Dinner at Alize (MY FAVORITE
)DAY 4: Breakfast at Bouchon Bistro, Lunch at Border Grill, Dinner at B&B
DAY 5: Breakfast at Bouchon Bistro, Lunch at the Country Club, Dinner at Bouchon
Side adventures to Bouchon Bakery and Jean Jean Phillippe!
REVIEW OF MESA GRILL!!
Ok so anyone who read my last review of Bobby Flays Mesa Grill knows how much I loved and raved about it and that one lunch made my respect for Mr. Flay go up a lot. Now my feelings have changed. With there recent Michelin Star lose, I see no future regain of that star unless things greatly approve.
I was seated within 5 minutes of arrival for my lunch in which they seemed to have a pretty packed house. Now when I go to a restaurant I expect to have my bread basket within 5-10 minutes once seated. I was seated for about 10 minutes when I placed my order and 5 minutes later they brought the bread. But enough about that. Of course the oh soooooooooooo good corn bread muffin was in there which is still to this day my favorite corn bread I've had and being southern I get around :)! It was tempting for me to order my favorite dish, Tiger Shrimp Tamale, but I wanted to try something new. I went with the Yucatan Chicken Tacos with grilled Onions and Peanut-Smoked Chile Barbeque sauce. Once they arrived I was kinda put off that you basically have to make the tacos yourself. Now I'm far from lazy but when I go somewhere to eat I don't want to have to put together my own food because well, I'm there to relax and put my trust in the Chefs. But aside from that the flavors were very bold and went together perfect. The Peanut-Smoked Chile Barbeque sauce had a very nice smokey taste with a good kick which is EXACTLY the kinda flavor I like. The chicken was very fatty which I wouldn't expect from a EX Michelin star restaurant but I guess thats where the EX comes into play. Overall the dish was good but I have had MUCH better from my local mexican restaurant down the street which is pretty sad.
Overall this lunch was nothing like my first. The service was very decent besides the bread arrival. While I was left excited and couldn't wait to get back the first time, this time around I find myself only going back if someone else was paying.
Mesa Grill is *highly* overrated.
You may have had a nice experience the first time you were there, and really - good for you, but on the whole they are extremely inconsistent and leaning toward the mediocre/lousy end of the spectrum.
This, along with Delmonico, is another restaurant where I just can't fathom how they get such good reviews a lot of times. I have my theories on the general public and how they put "celebrity" chefs on a pedestal no matter what the food/service is like but I see raving reviews here as well; where people supposedly know what they're talking about.
Mesa has become my "go-to" spot for when I need to entertain non-foodie type people (i.e. my family). In those instances, I tend to overlook their deficiencies. I'm not sure I'd go as far as "mediocre/lousy" but otherwise I'd agree with you. I've had some real nice, creative dishes there and then I've had dishes that were anything but.
Yeah I would agree. I love there Tamale and the Chicken Hash and are still some of my most memorable dishes I've had but I think they need to step it up. While it has that "I got to eat at Bobby Flays Restaurant" factor they need to keep a good reputation so people keep coming back.
LE CIRQUE REVIEW! http://thesoloreviewer.blogspot.com/
Le Cirque is just a overall perfect place to dine. As soon as you walk in you know your in for a great experience. It has a warm, dark, and playful room and I was seated at a perfect little table with a great view of the Bellagio Fountain Show as I requested! As soon as I sat down the manager came and introduced himself. Everyone had smiles on there faces and was ready to jump for the smallest request.
As soon as I sat down the bread basket arrived. Bread was nice and warm. It featured many different types such as raisin, wheat, pretzel and white. While most places give 2-3 different types this basket must have had 5 different types all in which were very good! I was then presented with a amuse! It was a Oyster topped with Caviar! This was by far the best Oyster I've had. It was as fresh as they come and the Caviar added a nice smooth salty flavor that was just amazing!
First Course: was there famous Lobster Salad. The lobster was dressed with Black Truffle Dressing topped with some greens all wrapped up in a dill pickle. The lobster tasted very fresh and paired well with the dressing and the dill pickle just added the perfect amount of saltiness to it. Overall a great start and a tasteful dish!
Next up was the Foie Gras. Aw the sinful taste of Foie Gras. Some states have already banned it but Las Vegas will most likely always be the place to find Foie Gras and in MANY forms. Le Cirque's version was just awesome in every way. It reminded me much of the dish I had at Craftsteak. Sauteed Foie Gras with White Peach, Blackberries and Micro Greens. While Foie Gras itself is very rich no matter how the Chef prepares it, the White Peach and and Blackberries added a very nice lightness to the dish which I like when it comes to Foie Gras. Overall one of the best Foie Gras I've had.
Course #3! OK so I'm a full blooded Risotto LOVER! Aw my favorite dish of the meal. It had LOTS of lobster which was cooked to perfection along with very fresh tasting peas. While risotto can be a hit or miss for me this risotto was the best I've had besides the one at Gordan Ramsay's at the London in NY. Everything was perfect. It was rich of course but not to rich which is why risotto is a hit or miss for me because most make the dish WAY to rich and cheesy. It was just perfect!
Course #4: The Halibut. This was my first time having this fish and after trying it, it will not be my last. It was cooked to perfection! It featured Halibut, Pesto Emulsion, Calamari Popsicle, Borlotti Beans & Tomato. It a had beautiful green color, the Pesto Emulsion, and this was definitely the best fish dish I've ever had. The Halibut melted in your mouth and all the flavors paired perfect with each other. This restaurant knows how to cook seafood and I think its there Strong point!
Course #5: The restaurant is known for there Rabbit. So of course I had to order there signature entree and I've never had Rabbit before so I figured what the hey! The dish is called "Blanquette" de Lapin in which they call Rabbit Symphony: Ravioli, Roasted Loin, Braised Leg with Crispy Spaëtzles, Riesling Sauce! The Rabbit itself was good but a little dry, it reminded me a lot of pork but with the texture of chicken, the Ravioli was good but also felt it to be a little dry as well. No flavors really popped and it was my least favorite dish but still a good dish and it was something new to me which is why I ordered it.
Palate Cleanser: To be honest I lost my notes somewhere during the trip so I'm not sure what the heck it was but all I know it was VERY VERY good, refreshing and light which was perfect before desert! It featured Coconut Sorbet with some kind of peach infusion.
DESERT: Chocolate Souffle! Perfect in every way. Loved it. It was rich and I was only able to eat three bites but it was good! First bite I felt like I was floating on a chocolate cloud with ice cream just slowing pouring over me!!!!
And the end of the meal they present you with fabulous plate of petite fours, which I had them wrap to go because I was so full, and a nice little Le Cirque box which had some delectable chocolates in them and was a nice little souvenir!
Overall this was a AWESOME meal and loved every moment of it. The service doesn't get any better and was made to feel very comfortable as a solo diner. The manager came by throughout the meal to make sure everything was to my liking! This place doesn't get enough credit and is in the same price range as many of the "Celebrity Chefs" restaurants which is why I think many people choose to dine at other restaurants just to say they dined there. Every guest was made to feel important and they have a very talented Chef in there kitchen and a staff who cares about each and ever customer. This is a place I think people defently should consider when making there dining reservations as you will be treated like Kings and Queens for the night.
re: Dave Feldman
While I will say its worthy of a Michelin Star, One is all its worth. While the food was good, service top notch, a restaurant needs to make resonable sized portions when doing a tasting menu which was the ONLY negative I found but for my its a BIG negative. I hate leaving a restaurant barely able to walk out.
As you've never been to a 2-star restaurant or 3, how can you make such a statement?
IMO, their portions were no larger than Alex's and aside from the 2 desserts (obviously not given to everyone) and the service was on par, the only difference was the opulence of the setting and the rarity of the ingredients. Similarly, I thought Le Cirque certainly topped the 2-star Spago in Bevereley Hills.
Dave Feldman: Never recall anything shaped like a popsicle but do recall calamari. Fancy words they use I guess.
uhockey: I'm simply stating that when I went to Alize I found the portions to be right on as compared to Le Cirques and Tableau who are just to large for a tasting menu. If I do recall you didn't do the tasting menu at Alex rather they just gave you a extra dish because you were a VIP. I've heard Alex's pre-fix, as most restaurants are, the portions are much larger than tasting menu portions. Yes I have been to Jean George (3 stars) and GR at the London (2 Stars) and know what a portion should be like in a tasting menu. While I'm the last to complain about MORE food, I like more tastings of smaller portions. I like what I like. As stated the service was Top Class. Never been to Spago but hopefully I will after my next NY trip. Per Se here I come BABYYYYYYYY! Lol I'm getting to excited for something that so long aways.
BOUCHON BISTRO REVIEWS http://thesoloreviewer.blogspot.com/
So I was staying at the Venetian this trip and what does Venetian have....Bouchon Bistro. Now everyone in the restaurant business knows about the Last Meal question. Now Bouchon Bistro may not be my last meal it would be the perfect start for my last day on earth. To me Thomas Keller is one of the culinary gods which is the reason I ate breakfast three times, Dinner once, and snacked at Bouchon Bakery twice. Everyone has that one place where they just feel relaxed and comfortable and they feel like no matter what time it is or whats going on in there life they can feel free at that moment in time. For me its here at Bouchon Bistro. I don't know if its dining outside on there peaceful patio hearing the sounds of the fountain or there impeccable service I receive every time I dine or the food that may not have that WOW factor but makes comfort food taste AMAZING! Or maybe its there coffee that a doctor could classify as crack because its so good. Whatever it is it will keep me coming back and leaving with a smile!
BREAKFAST #1: I ordered the Boudin Blanc which is white sausage with scrambled eggs and there Almond Brioche. To be honest I don't know the difference between white sausage and regular sausage but all I know is the taste difference. It was so juicy and melt in you mouth good that cut like butter. I'm not a big sausage lover but once I put a piece of that big, juicy, and so good sausage in my mouth (Get your mine out of the gutter) it was like love at first site with my mouth and that sausage! Of course the eggs were cooked to perfection!!! The Almond Brioche was sweet and savory and loved every bite of it!!!
BREAKFAST #2: I ordered the Oeuf Au Gratin which is Baked Eggs, Mornay Sauce, Bacon Lardons, tomato confit, petit champignon, and pomme salpicon. In short, this is Thomas Kellers version of Eggs Benedict. The Mornay Sauce is much like Bearnaise Sauce which to me overpowered the dish WAY to much. It was a OK dish, my least favorite of my breakfast choices here, the Mornay Sauce just killed the other ingredients in the dish making it the only ingredient to really stand out.
BREAKFAST #3: Aw this was my favorite! The Sourdough Waffles! It consists of 4 perfect little Sourdough Waffles topped with Fresh Bananas, Toasted Walnuts with Maple Syrup and Tahitian Vanilla Bean Butter on the side. Wow how can something so simple be so good. There Vanilla Bean Butter adds a nice touch from the ordinary butter which I think makes it stand a lone from the rest of the Waffles out there. There maple syrup is oh so good and the toasted walnuts add a nice earthy taste to it along with the bananas. I have a hard time deciding between the French Toast or the Waffles for my favorite dish!
Dinner (Snack): Decided to have a small snack here before catching a flight back to Atlanta, GA and ended ordering a couple glasses of wine, to help with the long flight home :), and the Beignets de Brandade de Morue which is Cod Brandade with Tomato Confit and fried Sage. To me it tasted like a Rolls Royce version of Hush Puppies. Being that it was fried I found it to be a very light dish which I don't find to often with deep fried foods. The Tomatoes and Sage, EAT THE SAGE, goes perfect with the cod. For some reason people put the sage off to the side but they don't put it on the dish for nothing. Overall a good dish!
Dinner at Tableau http://thesoloreviewer.blogspot.com/
I dined at Tableau twice during my recent trip to Las Vegas, once for breakfast and once for dinner, and to be honest I don't know why I decided to go here for dinner but I was glad I did. Tableau doesn't often get talked about past breakfast which is why I was intrigued to dine here for dinner. Upon arrival I was seated in there main dining room which is a very small and intimate dining room. The windows were wide open and the nice nightly breeze was coming in. Once seated the bread came. This was much different from the ordinary bread basket. It featured a nice dinner roll in a small little pot. Its your ordinary dinner roll but reminded much of the ones we use to have at dinner growing up!
I went with the tasting menu but had to stop half way because just like Le Cirque the portions are way to big which would be the only downfall in this restaurant even though some may like the large portions I'm a little guy and can only hold so much before I have to throw in the flag. The amuse was fried Cod, much like Bouchon Bistros Beignets de Brandade de Morue, over a bed of balsamic seasoned spinach. I found it to be much better than Bouchons version. It was full of Cod which was the ingredient that stood out the most because had a nice light texture that I found to be a nice little starter and the balsamic added a nice rich dark complex of sweetness to it!
The first dish was the dish everyone was talking about. The Dungeness Crab Ravioli which featured a lemon emulsion flavor. WOW this dish was FULL of fresh and perfectly cooked Crab with a Delicious burst of lemon flavor. I loved the dish and I can see why everyone talks about it.
Next up was the Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras with glazed black mission figs, upland cress salad and red currant gastric. Now the foie gras was on top of a piece of toast that at first I found to be unnecessary but I put a little foie gras and fig on top just to try it out and It was perfect! I love figs and these were sublime. It doesn't get any better than Hudson Valley foie gras either! The red currant added a nice sweet jelly type taste to the figs. Overall a great dish with flavors that paired very well with each other.
Next was the Grilled Free Range Duck Breast with sweet potato-pecan hash, stewed stone fruits, and wild flower honey just. This was my first time having duck. It was cooked medium and had a good texture without being to gamy. I LOVE sweet potato's and found the hash to be absolutely delish! The stone fruits and honey just added just amount of sweetness to the duck and the flavors all popped out and you could taste each and everyone of them in every bite! But as you can tell this is no tasting menu sized portion which left me to stop here. The portions are large for a tasting menu.
Of course I couldn't leave without desert. I was presented with a desert trio. A blueberry shortbread sandwich that was to die for. So light and creamy!! My mouth melts when I think about it. A strawberry milkshake. Tasted like one of my protein shakes I drink which I do not like. Last but not least peach cobbler that was slightly warm with the ice cream slowly melting on top and tasted FABULOUS!
Overall this was a great meal. I was seated next to a group of rich older foodies that I overheard talking how this is one of there favorite restaurants! I would agree. If they made there tasting menu portions much smaller I think this place could get a Michelin Star in the future because the Chef is very talented and the service was top class! They give the ladies a little stool for there purse which I'm sure all the ladies out there would appreciate. The tasting menu features some of the best ingredients and is a bargain compared to some other places at the Wynn. This is a place I would return to in a heartbeat!
BREAKFAST AT TABLEAU! http://thesoloreviewer.blogspot.com/
Decided to take a break from my favorite, Bouchon Bistro, for breakfast and went to Tableau after hearing such nice reviews about there breakfast. I was seated on the patio on a nice fall morning. Went with the Mango Ricotta Pancakes with Honey Lime Butter. They were very moist and fluffy and tasted fabulous with the mango. I didn't taste to much of the lime in the butter which I was kinda looking forward to but they were still good. I also ordered a side of there croissants which were warm and flaky and the jelly they give you is Oh So Good! There coffee is good, especially the little shot of creamer they give you, but not as good as Bouchons! I will definitely be back for breakfast and dinner as I've had two great meals here!