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Vegas Report: Picasso

atdleft Dec 5, 2010 02:42 PM

I went into Picasso not quite knowing what to expect. There is occasional criticism over the "antiquated" menu, often challenged by praise of the quality of the ingredients and precision of the cooking. So once and for all, I had to try it all for myself.

So I did.

I started with a pomegranate martini. The martini was superb. I could taste the earthy tang and sweetness of the pomegranate. All in all, my cocktail was quite refreshing.

Then from here, it was onto the full menu degustation. Oh yes, I was all in for all five courses, plus amuse bouche and petit fours!

I began with the amuse, which was a luscious potato soup with potato "micro chips", alongside a skewer with quail egg and smoked salmon. The flavors were perfectly balanced here, despite all components being so rich. I was pleasantly surprised.

From there, it was onto the bread basket! And yes, I tried the baguette, the walnut raisin bread, and the olive loaf. All were fantastic! The walnut raisin bread was subtly sweet and soft, while the baguette had a crunchy crust and fluffy, soft texture inside. And the olive loaf was slightly fruity.

The official first course soon arrived, which was the Maine Lobster salad. The lobster's own natural sweetness shone through, and the apple champagne vinaigrette only enhanced this. The micro greens added a crisp component here, and the tartness and acidity of the cherry tomatoes helped in balancing the rich sweetness of the Maine Lobster.

Next were the pan seared scallops. These also had great natural sweetness, and the potato mousseline and jus de veau helped to balance this.

Following this was the sauteed steak of foie gras. I otherwise never eat foie gras for moral reasons, but last night I decided to make an exception for this dinner. And wow, now I understand why it's so appealing. When cooked well, it can be quite rich. And the poached pear and huckleberry jam added some fruity sweetness that went harmoniously with the foie gras.

The sauteed filet of turbot came next. It was done perfectly. It still tasted quite fresh and light, with only the hollandaise adding some richness and creamy heft to this and the beautifully done green asparagus.

Then finally, it was dessert time! I wanted to try the reserva cream sherry, and it went down beautifully. Yes, I admit I have quite the soft spot for sherry! And thankfully, it played well alongside the warm chocolate fondant and walnut ice cream I ordered. The fondant was essentially a molten chocolate cake, and the rich, smooth, not too sweet but still satisfying, chocolate flavor was just perfect. The ice cream added a surprising nutty note to this sweet treat.

Oh, but wait, I was not finished yet! Before I had to go, the petit fours arrived! I especially enjoyed the mini pumpkin pie and the mini chocolate bar, but all were beyond belief in "delicious factor".

All in all, my experience here was exquisite! The surroundings were breathtaking, especially with the fountains just outside. The service was impeccable and quite polite. And to my biggest surprise, Picasso did not feel anachronistic in any way. If anything, it was more timeless to me... Oh yes, and the paintings were pretty as well. ;-)

(By the way, my "photo essay" from Picasso can be found here: http://s370.photobucket.com/albums/oo... Enjoy!) :-

)

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Picasso (at Bellagio)
3600 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

  1. rp1760 Dec 5, 2010 03:50 PM

    This is a lovely review. Thank you. Question: Did you dine solo? I have this as a tentative choice when I go in April, but will be dining solo and am interested in the "comfort" factor as such.

    3 Replies
    1. re: rp1760
      atdleft Dec 5, 2010 04:48 PM

      I don't think it will be a problem. Picasso's staff was very accommodating, and there are some small tables near the windows that you'll probably be able to snatch.

      1. re: rp1760
        ellenost Dec 9, 2010 07:39 AM

        When I dined solo at Picasso (okay it was 8 years ago), they sat me in a small alcove with only a few tables. Haven't been back since. BTW, I had an early reservation so there were plenty of "good" tables available.

        1. re: ellenost
          atdleft Dec 9, 2010 03:54 PM

          I'm sorry about that. That sucks...

          But I remember there was a solo diner when I was there last Friday, and they gave him a good table with fountain views. Again, service last week at Picasso was impeccable IMHO.

      2. BubblyOne Dec 10, 2010 07:16 AM

        Nice to hear that you are about and about doing what you like:)
        I haven't been to Picasso in 5 years or so, but I'm glad it is still such a wonderful spot. It's on my LV list of all-time favs.

        5 Replies
        1. re: BubblyOne
          atdleft Dec 10, 2010 05:35 PM

          Yep, they obviously must still be doing something right to serve such stellar dishes and he honored as one of "The Top Ten" in the new "Eating Las Vegas" guide.

          1. re: atdleft
            uhockey Dec 11, 2010 04:57 AM

            ....to be fair, there seems a pretty substantial dropoff in the Top 10 from one to 10. It isn't like New York or San Francisco where 1 and 10 are fractions apart.

            http://uhockey.blogspot.com

            1. re: uhockey
              atdleft Dec 11, 2010 06:29 AM

              Not necessarily. I think there would be some sort of drop-off in a "Bay Area Top 10" list, and in both places I would say the Top 5-7 are fractions apart.

              1. re: atdleft
                uhockey Dec 11, 2010 06:42 AM

                .....we'll have to disagree. Does a 5-course menu at Picasso really differ from the 7 course at Andre's or Alize? It is clearly seperate from the extended tastings at Savoy, Robuchon, and Twist (both in terms of price and novelty of preparation.)

                Add in Alex, Sage, BarMASA, L'Atelier, and others all offering longer tastings and I think Picasso sets the bar higher with their art, setting, and "history" but perhaps not with the novelty of the food.

                http://uhockey.blogspot.com

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                Alize
                4321 W Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89103

                1. re: uhockey
                  atdleft Dec 11, 2010 09:42 AM

                  As I said in my review, Picasso doesn't really do "novelty" food. However, I do think the quality of the ingredients, the immaculate attention to detail, and the boldness of the flavors sets the food there (FAR!!!) apart from the likes of Andre's and Eiffel Tower. I actually do think it deserves to be in The Top 5 with Robuchon, Savoy, Alex, and Twist for these reasons... As well as the top notch service and unique ambiance.

                  I guess we define "Best" and "Top 10" differently. And that's OK. The beauty of our fine dining scene here in Las Vegas is that there are so many great restaurants to choose from.

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                  Eiffel Tower Restaurant
                  3655 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

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