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Aug 18, 2010 11:13 PM

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon-very very disappointing tasting menu experience

Tonight was my first time dining at L'Atelier, and decided to go with the "seasonal discovery menu" for $155
1. l'amuse-bouche an unfortunately boring combo of avocado and cilantro flavored grapefurit gelee.
2. Le crabe royal-2 small piles of king crab on a thin turnip round, with a sweet sour sauce- fresh tasting but nothing really special, just nice.
3. La saint-jacques-sea scallop cooked with chive oil and topped with minced chives. Good flavor but scallop was a little too firm.
4. La cebette-white onion tart with smoked bacon and asparagus and parmesan shavings-tasty tarte flambe but still nothing to rave about.
5. Le foie gras- seared with cherries and fresh almonds-basically just a seared salty chunk of foie gras with one fresh pitted cherry and 2 small flavors or textures melding together to produce anything of note. Really disappointing dish.
6.La Caille-supposedly one of the dishes that is a specialty-a piece of dry salty gamey quail with good truffled-mashed potatoes. The quail leg that was on the plate was nicely cooked but the predominant flavor was of salt.
7. L'agneau-Lamb shoulder confit and steamed garbanzo beans-the worst dish of night, had to actually send it back, consisted of a small medallion of lamb that was so dry and salty that it was literally inedible, coupled with tasteless garbanzo beans. They offered to replace it with the "la sole"
8. La sole=dry overcooked bland dover sole fillet, with a baby leeks and ginger. Portions of the sole were so overcooked that the knife they supplied couldn't cut it. Only reason it was better than the lamb is that it wasn't as overcooked, and wasn't over-salted, but the flavors of the dish were boring and minimalistic.
9. dinnger was finished with 2 boring, not particularly good desserts of "la peche", peaches on a basil sable, with coconut milk emulsion and a few pieces of sweet popcorn, and "la fraise" white chocolate ice cream on an almond panna cotta, fresh starwberries.
I am use to eating wonderful food, with flavor and texture combinations that are a surprise and make your taste buds sing. For example, in NYC, Blue Hill and The Modern restaurant are 2 places that even if the dish is light, the flavors and textures of the food meld and can become something wonderful. Nothing at L'atelier Las Vegas even approached those restaurants. My overall impression is that the the main flavor was salt, and they tended to overcook the seafood. The person next to me had the sole as well and he agreed it was overcooked...he also couldn't cut the sole with his knife. When his lamb came, however, it was pink and juicy, but it may have been because I had already complained about the dish, or else my dish was an aberration. Makes me worried about my reservation later this week at Joel Robuchon....hopefully it is not all hype.....

L'Atelier De Joel Robuchon
3799 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV

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  1. Wow! They (you) must've been having a bad night. I ate there maybe 3 months ago with my gf, had the full blown tasting menu with wine paring and had nothing to remotely compare with what you've described. I too have high hopes for your Robuchon visit.

    2 Replies
    1. re: skaboy

      "...he also couldn't cut the sole with his knife." That seems a bit of an overstatement. Sorry you had a bad experience, I have eaten there multiple times with out anything but great food. IMO L'Atelier has been my choice over Rubichon. Personally think its better bang for the buck. You are about to walk into a meal that will cost you 3 to 4 times of your meal at L'Atelier (if you go with the tasting) and you just had a really bad experience at the sister restaurant. I would be hesitant too. BTW it's not all hype...please report back on your meal hopefully they will rise to the challenge.

      1. re: chris2269

        lol , no it was not an overstatement that we could not cut the sole with our was literal. Just really bad cooking. And yes, will report back on my dinner at Robuchon (much much better), and my meal at Alex(much better than L'Atelier, but still not great), later, when I have more time.

    2. I also had a very disappointing experience there about two years ago. Much better places to go to. Food was underwhelming, staff was very self assured and arrogant.

      1 Reply
      1. re: winedine

        "staff was very self assured and arrogant"...kind of agree with you there.....the service was nothing to speak about, the dinner was done before someone asked if I wanted a refill on my wine (I didn't notice, but the people sitting next to me commented on it because they work in the restaurant business in Vegas, and were being treated to dinner there). The general attitude seemed to be that they were relying on the reputation of the restaurant, rather than the actual food and service that they were rendering...and that people dining there should be impressed.

      2. Wow, sorry that you had such a bad experience. I dined there on the very same night as you and my meal was fantastic. Nothing was overcooked or too salty, the flavors were wonderful and the service was attentive and not arrogant at all.

        1. I've been to L'Atelier countless times and nothing has been short of perfect. It's very strange to me that you had this bad of an experience.

          1. I have been to l'Atelier twice. Each time I found it to be competent, but by no means spectacular. I can't speak to anyone else's experience about service, I will say that my experience was that they were very mechanical. I wouldn't say that I experienced arrogance, but rather almost an attitude that I should be happy that I am dining at l'Atelier. And the cooking I found very mechanical, almost coloring by numbers. Again, nothing really bad (actually found one dish to be excellent) but just impersonal and a bit robotic. I know that I may get heat for this criticism but that is what people look for on Chowhound. l'Atelier, like Rosemary's, is a darling on Chowhound, and many will dismiss bad experiences. All restaurants have bad days, and l'Atelier should be allowed to have theirs. But when it happens more than once, it is time go elsewhere.