Brief trip report: Sage, e, Raku, Robuchon + lunches and breakfast places
First off, let me thank everyone who helped me put together the dining list for my trip. I really appreciate everyone's help. We stayed at Encore so based out of there, these are what we found convenient and good: Lemme start with dinner because I have to get something off my chest:
e by Jose Andrea - I cannot believe I am about to type this: I was disappointed. The problem: me and my wife immediately agreed, is that we had been to (and worship) Grant Achatz and Alinea in Chicago. Both of us had this same immediate reaction when we walked out. Unfortunately, anyone trying to do molecular gast. is going to be held to that standard, whether consciously or not. I can't believe Alinea turned me into a snob. As a foodie in Vegas, you must do 'e'. And I did enjoy myself. But unfortunately I went in with very high hopes. So it was worth the money, it's worth seeing how they plate the food, and talking to everyone.. but I am still unsure if I will return. I am guessing I probably will, but it certainly did not end up in my 'must do' category.
Raku- awesome, fun place. I thought it would be packed, but it wasn't. Great menu, I love ordering in 'waves', amazing Sake menu, helpful waitresses. We had a great meal, with some dishes being ordered for their novelty (many of which I will not be revisiting - Calf liver sashimi, beef tendon, to name two). Will I be back? Yes
Joel Robuchon - a lot of money, especially after the wine pairings. There is no way you get out of there without dropping far (and I mean far) above $1000. After you get over the price tag, the food was excellent. I have not been to his place in Paris, so cannot compare, but certainly excellent dishes, every one. I cannot answer if it is worth it or not (for the money) since that is subjective, but certainly a must visit place for any foodie. Will I go there again when I visit Las Vegas ? No.
Sage - We enjoyed ourselves at Sage. The decor is my style. The food was very good. I do not understand why people were raving over the foie gras brulee. It was decent, but a seared whole foie with reduction over the top will win every time in my view. I imagine we will be back to Sage for our next trip.
Lunches - Actually ended up eating a couple of lunches at La Cave. Probably the best place to get a good lunch in the Wynn/Encore complex. Thank you guys for the help on selecting this place. Social Cafe (went once) is as average as it ever was. A nice surprise was Social Cafe (in crystals) since we went there for coffee (you guys mentioned it was the best on the strip). We were pleasantly surprised by an awesome lunch menu/deal $20 for 3 course Japanese. It was really quite good !! I would definitely go back again. The food was far beyond the price tag.
Breakfasts - I remember there being a debate on here about Bouchon vs Tableau. We ate twice at Tableau and once at Bouchon. I am sorry, there is no contest, Tableau wins hands down. First of all, the Latte's were noticeably better at Tableau, which is high praise from a coffee geek. Secondly, the atmosphere is depressing at Bouchon. It's between 3 buildings, very little sun, in the shade with no view. The indoors area is saturated by the smell/feel of butter. I felt like I was getting fat just standing there. Tableau (if you eat outside) has a great patio area, lots of sky, bright sunlight, great gardens/flowers to look at, and is a lot more cheery. The food at Bouchon, was good, but certainly not better than Tableau. And Tableau's white chocolate french toast was awesome, surpassing anything on Bouchon's menu. I didn't get to Verrandah, but I will not be returning to Bouchon given I would rather spend the same money across the street in a cheerier place.
Thank you drtechno - sounds like your é experience was almost identical to mine (I wrote about it in the same thread in which I asked for advice on dining choices). And having recently enjoyed Next's El Bulli menu in Chicago, I couldn't help compare the food, especially given the Spanish molecular gastronomy sources. So I suppose I'm glad I went, it might have even been the most enjoyable meal I've had in Vegas (even if not the best food - I love creativity).
And I too loved Raku (and Kabuto for nigiri in the same strip mall). Sage was odd for me - outstanding meal there last year, poor meal there this year . . . maybe just an off night, not sure.