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Vegas Trip 3/3: Robuchon (best dessert ever!)

r
randomthoughts Apr 8, 2012 10:27 PM

OK, so I'm back from my Vegas trip... and I hit 3 'fine dining' restaurants while there: Sage, é and Robuchon. I thought I'd leave my impressions of all of them. I've split them so that it's not a monster post.

Robuchon was really great - I had my doubts about how much I would enjoy it, especially solo. But in the end, I enjoyed it every bit as much as é - ESPECIALLY solo... because I lingered for almost 4 hours with me, my food and my Kindle :)

I don't know if they did it on purpose, but they had me discreetly tucked away in the back room (about 5 tables) with the living wall, flowers and faux sky. It was much more comfortable there dining solo than in the bustling formal opulence of the main dining room. If you're dining there alone, I'd recommend asking for it.

I did the 6 course prix fixe and it almost defeated me... actually, it kinda did defeat me. Do the 4 course if you're not a big eater (I am!)... though the mains seem to vary in how substantial they are. When you add the amuse bouche, bread and dessert cart... well, it's quite the feat. But I needed to do the 6 course to increase my chances of getting some 'best-ever's

After a fun amuse bouche of gelled sangria (yum!) I got a bit concerned because the soup and appetizer were very good but not quite to my taste. The foie gras was served cubed and cold (not my preference) in a creamy cool soup. It was savory and well balanced both texturally and taste-wise. The artichoke appetizer was very similar, though, and I wish the server would've mentioned that (but service was otherwise impeccable). At this point, I was starting to wonder if Robuchon wasn't quite living up to the hype.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first main, though - La Langoustine - spiny lobster in a herb sauce. Strangely, there was a tiny stuffed squid component that went unmentioned in the description that I enjoyed all out of proportion with it's size. I asked for some lean crusty bread to mop up the remains of my herb sauce and to eat with my next dish.

My second course, Le Canard, finally gave me a 'best ever' experience. Rich seared foie and slices of duck were perfectly balanced with tart-but-sweet fruit and crispy rings of shallot. It was also served with the famous Robuchon mashed potatoes - a tad rich for my tastes, but delicious nevertheless. It made this dish much more substantial than the previous main.

At this point I was, frankly, full. I warned the attentive server that I'd likely linger over the cheese course (which really, I only ordered to get the 2 mains) and let him select a variety of cheeses for me. I ended up reading and nibbling for a good while and LOVED the cheeses. I was unable to finish them, though, and I asked them to wrap my two favorites for me to take with me (I have no pride and I enjoyed them over the next 2 days). The comté, in particular, I'll be looking for.

A big thank you goes to ellenost, who suggested requesting Le Sucre for dessert instead of the options listed. It was amazing, possibly the best dessert I've ever had - and definitely the most beautiful. I think the filling varies from what I've read - mine contained the mascarpone lemon cream, but it had a smooth mango ice (nitro? there were no crystals, it was perfectly smooth) studded with spherified passion fruit liquid that burst into tart sweetness. Oh, and pop rocks. I was UTTERLY full to the point where probably things weren't tasting as good, but this actually had me laughing like a maniac (and trying to hide it in a napkin).

At this point, I was sad when the sweets cart came around, because there was no way I could do it justice. I selected an almond tuille (sweet nicely balanced with lemon), a ginger jelly (too firm) and a vanilla macaron (too sweet)... but being stuffed probably jaundiced my tastes - I didn't finish the last two.

Upon leaving, I regretted not selecting some of the chocolates and was delighted/grateful to be presented with a chocolate bar in a gift bag. I savored that chocolate (maybe not as good as Chuao or Porcelana but perfectly and beautifully tempered) for days.

I do want to go back here, but I don't know WHAT I would do about dessert. Repeat the best-ever? Or try something else? And you know, it was expensive, but totally worth it.

Finally: shout out to William, the HILARIOUS trust fund brat at the next table, for entertaining me with Obama bashing, knowing "everything" about restaurants and wines, and calling other people arrogant. I'm sorry for laughing. But it's totally your friends' fault for calling you out on every bit of your schtick!

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  1. ellenost RE: randomthoughts Apr 9, 2012 08:49 AM

    Great report! I think the next time I return to Joel Robuchon, I'm going to stick with my own advice: have the duck for my main course, and Le Sucre for dessert. Also will go with the 4 course dinner. I recently dined solo at Robuchon, and prefer the main dining room to the garden room. Glad you had a wonderful time.

    5 Replies
    1. re: ellenost
      r
      randomthoughts RE: ellenost Apr 9, 2012 02:17 PM

      It's funny, because even though I SAY that going with the 4 course menu makes more sense, there's some part of me that wants to do the HUGE tasting menu as well. Possibly doing the 4 course with Le Sucre and returning another night for the tasting menu would satisfy my need for novelty. I don't think I'll be returning to Vegas any time soon, though... so for now, I'll feast on the memories!

      1. re: ellenost
        c
        chrisdds98 RE: ellenost Apr 9, 2012 10:28 PM

        ellenost, have you been to l'atelier as well? I'm going to be in vegas later this month and can't decide on which to try...

        if you pick the 4 course, what do you recommend for the first 2 courses?

        1. re: chrisdds98
          ellenost RE: chrisdds98 Apr 10, 2012 07:06 AM

          I've been to L'Atelier only in NYC, and wasn't thrilled with it even with Chef Robuchon in the kitchen (I was introduced to him; he doesn't speak much English). The food was very good, but very expensive, and for sitting at a bar (although comfy chairs), I would have expected/hoped my dinner would cost much less. My strong preference is for Joel Robuchon at the Mansion--absolutely beautiful and wonderful service. I prefer being seated in the main dining room (not the garden room). For the first 2 courses I highly recommend the egg dish and the langoustine dish. Have a great time!

          1. re: ellenost
            c
            chrisdds98 RE: ellenost Apr 11, 2012 06:48 PM

            for the 4 course? they let you substitute the langoustine for a soup or have they changed the menu?

            i have reservations for le cirque, e, and robuchon... i'm going to gain 10 lbs this trip! and I still haven't picked a place for my 4th dinner... I don't suppose you have any suggestions for my 4th restaurant during splurge week

            1. re: chrisdds98
              ellenost RE: chrisdds98 Apr 11, 2012 07:02 PM

              Robuchon agreed to the substitution when I offered to pay any supplemental charge (there was one, but since it was last year I can't remember how much--maybe $60).

              Highy recommend Sage for your fourth dinner. I did the six course menu, and they allowed me to sub out the rabbit dish for a yummy cavatelli with duck. Service was very attentive too. Liked Sage better than Robuchon this year. Le Cirque and Sage were my favorites this year. Robuchon and e were my favorites last year. Have a wonderful time! Hope you're planning to go to Bouchon for breakfast.

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