Joel Robuchon at the Mansion. Las Vegas
Sorry, but some of the starstruck reviews I've read about this place strike me as intimidated customers afraid to admit that what they were served was VASTLY substandard. It reminds me of Modern Art museums, where the intimidated masses, so sure that THEY are the blind ones because they can't see that a few soup cans welded together don't symbolize "Man's inhumanity to man" that they go home raving about the brilliant "art" they've seen, rather than take a chance on looking "unsophisticated" by pointing out that what they saw was a bunch of garbage welded together. Which brings us to the food at Joel Robuchon's new place in Vegas.
In short, Robuchon at the Mansion is a JOKE. I've eaten at 3 or 4 top-rated restaurants in Paris, and Robuchon doesn't even register on the same *scale*. I can think of 40 restaurants in Las Vegas I'd eat in before going back to this culinary pest hole. Bland, silly in many cases and totally uninspiring. In his lust to avoid ANYTHING that may have been done before ("inovators" don't do that, doncha know) Robuchon sends out unlikely and in most cases most unfortunate dishes that defy the imagination in their blandness.
The main course, for example (he cooks EXACTLY the same dishes every....single...night, by the way, so you'd think he'd get it right) is a boring slice of veal with a few drops of insipid demi-glace (slightly thickened broth, in a nutshell). I've had more flavorful bites at the Sizzler, and I'm serious about that. And the veal was one of the better dishes.
When I say he cooks the same dishes every night....that's what I mean. You get NO choice. They actually make the EXACT same first, second, third, etc. courses every night. Apart from an APPALLING lack of imagination, it's just mind boggling that since the chefs have zero pressure, since they can just mass produce the exact same dishes for each and every customer....that it still comes out so bad.
We paid $600 for two, with two VERY modest wines, something you must settle for, since they overcharge to a CRIMINAL level for wines. An 82 Cheval Blanc, for example, a bottle I bought at auction for $600 recently..was....wait for it.....$3,300. This is criminal robbery...they are charging you $2,700 extra to drink this wine in their restaurant....all the while eating food that NEVER....not once, reaches the level of good...let alone exceptional.
If you want fairly good, and more classic French, try the Eifel Tower at Paris. I have a couple of minor gripes with the Eifel Tower, but the food, despite a few quirky flaws, is LIGHT YEARS better (and 1/2 as expensive) as Robuchon.
Believe me...I'm not some irrate ex-employee (haha, the place hasn't been open long enough to *have* any irrate ex-employees, just irrate ex-CUSTOMERS)...I'm just a guy who LOVES French cuisine, and cooks it pretty well himself (certainly better than Robuchon)
I honestly can't think of a single thing we had that was anything more than a 5 out of 10...except the bread, which was great.
AVOID THIS TOURIST TRAP at all costs, trust. me. There are 50 restaurants in Vegas with better food, most of them costing about 1/3 of this travesty.
Interesting perspective...have you seen the Food & Wine rave Jane Sigal wrote for this month's issue?
Hands down one of the best meals I have ever eaten in my life. The true nature of Robuchons food is his departure from the stuffy french traditional prestentations and values. His influence by the Japanese is very wonderful. His food is rooted in french and simplistic in presentation. He does not depart from the true flavors of the food. I am sorry you had a bad meal. I was blown away.
My experience at Robuchon at that Mansion was stellar. If you do not like a particular course, they will substitute it for you. I found the Mansion to be at a higher level than a couple of the "famed Paris 3 stars" that I had the opportunity to try while over there. Did you express your dissatisfaction with the meal to the restaurant? In terms of price, there is what I call "Vegas Inflation" that is prevelant at any of the top restos that I have eaten at in Las Vegas. I am sorry that your experience there would cause you to term it a culinary pest hole and I suggest that you write the GM Loic Launay a letter and express your thoughts. Did you try L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, because that is a place most chefs in Vegas recommend to go and graze thru some of JR's small plates.