In my last post, I said I was going to write a special addition to the Las Vegas part Une post and here it is! Jamie and I wanted to go to one of the restaurants featured on Top Chef: Las Vegas so we went back into our memories and tried to figure out which restaurants were featured. We couldn’t remember the restaurants but we remembered a few of the chefs that showed up in a few of the episodes. Jamie remembered the Chef of the Century Joel Robuchon and we were set. He has two restaurants in MGM Grand that we could choose from, Joel Robuchon which had 3 Michelin Star(!!!) or L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon which had 1 Michelin Star(!). We couldn’t get a reservation at Joel Robuchon but was able to get one in L’Atelier. So it was set. We were going to have the tasting menu ($85) when we got there, but we were all apprehensive about the term “tasting menu” because we were unsure of what the size of the plates were going to be or whether if it was worth the price.
On our last night there, Jamie, Ryan, Trevor and I got ready in our nicest outfits that we brought along with us, since we were going to go to see some shows after dinner, got into a taxi and headed off to MGM Grand. We were all pretty excited about going to this 1 Michelin star restaurant (after seeing signs for Guy Savoy’s 2 Michelin Stars restaurant at the Caesars and Daniel Boulud’s 1 Michelin Star restaurant at the Wynn and then Joel Robuchon 3 Michelin Stars!). When we got there, there was a Baccarat tournament happening in front of the restaurant with confetti and globs of people, bundles of cash and a car… I’ll explain why this is important later… just starting as we walked in a giant sliding glass door (the whole wall facing the casino was made of glass and one section of the glass wall was a door!). We got seated pretty quickly and our waiter came to provide us with water which was poured into these lovely red stem less glasses. The ambience was wonderful, kind of ritzy yet casual and comfortable. There were tables and a bar facing the kitchen which was opened so you can see what they were doing (which I was in awe off how well the whole kitchen staff worked together and how clean and beautiful the kitchen was, even as they were all working hard back there! There was even a whole leg of prosciutto!). BTW, the Executive Chef Steve Benjamin looked young was very easy on the eyes. We got a look at the menu and noticed a cheaper 3 course meal ($36) with some tempting dishes (only the main course sparked my interested, it had sweetbreads and I really wanted to try it) but we all agreed that we will be having the 6 course ($85) tasting menu since everything on there sounded amazing.
Cremeux de foie gras Les Moules La Langoustine
First was the L’Amuse-Bouche: Cremeux de foie gras au porto et son emulsion au parmesan (Foie gras parfait with port wine and parmesan foam). It came on a flat rock in a shot glass. At first I couldn’t see the foie because it was hidden inside the sauce and foam, but I had a lovely medallion in there and it was to die for. It was rich and light at the same time. It was sweet and lovely. Just … lovely … I could eat like 50 of those… it was so good, I scraped off all the goodies and was tempted to steal the others’ shot glasses and scrape them clean too. I kept staring into the kitchen and whenever I saw them make it, I’d say to myself… really I did, I really wanted more of it… it was sooooo GOOD!… Ok I’m salivating just thinking of it… With that perfect start, we all got excited to see what else laid in store for us.
Second we had Les Moules en velute a la mimolette et croutons dores (Mussels and mimolette veloute with croutons). It was mussels in a creamy sweet soup. The croutons that were in the dish were still crunchy and added a lovely crunch to the soup. The mussels were plump and perfectly cooked. I hate over cooked mussels, it’s like chewing rubber but these just fell apart in your mouth as you chew them. The cream soup was delicious and I also scraped every last bit of soup with my bread before I let it go. (As you can see by this second dish, that there is a theme developing here, I ate… EVERYTHING!)
Third we had La Langoustine dans une papillote croustillante au basilica (Crispy langoustine fritter with basil pesto). It was a deep fried langoustine (similar to a lobster but smaller) wrapped in something like a wonton wrapper with a large leaf of basil inside served with a delicious basil pesto sauce. Again, the seafood was perfectly cooked and sweet and the crunch wrapper with the freshness of the basil worked beautifully together.
Le Saumon Whipped Potatoes Le Boeuf
Fourth we had either Le Saumon cuit sur la peau, aux aromates et croustilles de pommes de terre (Scottish salmon with aromates and crispy potatoes) or Le Boeuf la joue fondate a la bourguignonne (Beef cheek Burgundian style). Both items came with a ramekin of velvety, buttery whipped potatoes. The four of us decided that we should try both, with each pair trying one of each. Ryan and I got the Beef cheeks and Jamie and Trevor got the Salmon. We each made the right decision because both Ryan and I loved our dishes better than the Salmon dish and both Jamie and Trevor preferred theirs. The beef dish was amazing, the sauce was rich and deep with flavor, the beef was so tender, you can flake pieces of it with your fork! It came with little strips of bacon and broiled (?) pearl onions. I tried the beef with the onions and found the flavors to not work in unison very well, but first having the beef with that rich sauce and then taking a bite of the onion, the onion cleans the palette and allows you to take another bite of the beef or a taste of the sauce and have a totally new experience. The salmon was well cooked, firm and flakey. It came with crispy potatoes placed like lattices on top of the salmon and Trevor wasn’t too fond of it (probably the only thing that was ok, while everything else was excellent).
Fifth was Les fromages de France selectionnes par nos soins (Selection of imported cheeses). Oh, ok, this dish, I can’t remember the names of the cheeses. There were three types, one goat and two cow’s milk. By this time, I was so full… my brain stopped focusing on the things around me. I just kept eating and eating! Oh and by this time, the Baccarat Competition was over, more confetti but all four of us were just savoring the moment and didn’t even notice the hubbub happening outside (Only Ryan got a glimpse of what was happening because he was facing that way, the rest of us were so in the moment).
Last but not least there was dessert with the options of Les Tartes de tradition (Traditional Tarts) or Glaces et Sorbet (Ice cream and sorbet). Jamie and Trevor got the tarts and Ryan and I got the ice cream. Ice cream and sorbet list: White Chocolate, Raspberry, Lemon, Espresso, Chocolate. Tart list: Cinnamon, Chocolate Hazelnut, Pear, Cheesecake, and something else I can’t remember. By dessert time, we were all pretty full but looking at the desserts, we had to keep trucking. They were so good. The ice cream and sorbets were delicious and refreshing. Mixing the flavors was part of the fun of having 5 different choices in front of you. The tarts were also full of flavor and just plain pretty to look at. The favorite from the tart was definitely the cinnamon one.
Les Fromages Glaces et Sorbert Les Tartes
The experience I had at L’Atelier was amazing. This meal was definitely worth the price, maybe even more! If you happen to be in Vegas and for one night, want to go all out on a delicious meal that cost under $100 per person but feel like you are spending more, go to L’Atelier (and if you want to spend more, they have a $175 tasting menu!). I will definitely be back, and hopefully next time, I will win some money at the slots and go for the $175 tasting menu, until then, I’ll just dream about tasting that Amuse again.
Even though I left Vegas as a loser in gambling (I lost like $50), I went home a winner with the amazing meals I had there. With the help of Trevor and my friends, I think I will be able to become the foodie that I aspire to be. Here’s to future foodie vacations and may they be even better than the experience I just had.