The Mansion - Joel Robuchon
Ok, was going to do one of the prix-fixe menus, such as the 4 course one.....but, alot of reviews seem to recommend the 16 course, approximately $400 tasting menu. Has anyone tried it, how can you eat 16 courses, and was it worth it? I am dining solo in August.
Wife and I dined there a few weeks ago. She had the four course menu, I had the six course. You also get a large-ish amuse bouch of caviar and crab (larger than most appetizers), there's a bread cart with 15-20 bread choices and you are encouraged to select as many different kinds of bread as you wish, and after the normal dessert there's a candy cart with 40-50 nibble-sized sweets and you are encouraged to take as many as you want of these.
Then they give you another extra sweet in a box and bag to take home.
Anyway, the four course meal was plenty for my wife.
I was considering the tasting menu but they changed it the day we dined and two of the things didn't look promising. "Spring root and sprout vegetables with Argan oil" was one I recall that I didn't particularly want, though I'm guessing it was probably pretty good since I was unsure about the soup I had ("Delicate tofu veloute on warm smoked eel seaweed gelee") which turned out to be wonderful. For sure if you want to sample as many different items as possible then the degustation menu makes sense though.
"how can you eat 16 courses"
The portions are smaller, for example I had 'veal cheeks' and 'Truffled langoustine ravioli' off the prix fixe menu last month and I've seen photos of these from blogs showing the degustation menu that had just one ravioli and one cheek instead of the two of each on the prix fixe menu.
We had the 23 course tasting menu at Alinea not long ago and were able to finish it. I didn't think it was much more food than the 6 course Robuchon meal.
One other minor point, they've dropped "The Mansion" from the name, probably because it was misleading. I know when they opened it was "Joel Robuchon at the Mansion" and if you take the limo service you will get dropped off at the Mansion and walk thru it to the casino floor, then a short walk to the restaurant. I guess people complained it was misleading since you still have to walk thru the edge of the casino so "The Mansion" was dropped from the name and it's now just "Joel Robuchon Restaurant".
I ate the huge menu, and was so impressed I made another reservation and ordered a 6 course prix fixe menu. The huge menu was really excellent, but the 2 best dishes and best dessert I ate at the restaurant weren't on it. (they were the tomato dish, the duck and foie gras dish and the blueberry dessert).
If I went again, I'd order the 4 course menu and try things I hadn't tried yet, or I'd order the tomato, the tofu, the duck, and the blueberry for my four courses and know I'd get the best meal anyone on earth is eating that day.
Even though they were the second and third most expensive meal of my life, I felt like I got really good value. It was definitely worth it. No matter what you get, you are in for not just a treat but quite possibly one of the best experiences of your life.
I have had the 16 course three times now and it's amazing each and every time. The courses are not huge and you are perfectly satisfied by the end, not stuffed not hungry, just right. It's something that has to be done at least once. If you have the money to do it you will not be disappointed and it will be a meal you talk about for years to come.
For another perspective, I ate (as a solo diner) there over Super Bowl weekend, and cannot for the life of me recall a single dish other than the "Sphere" dessert.
It was good, but for me clearly not memorable. I feel like I had far better meals at Guy Savoy and Alex.