Joell Robuchon Review: Robuchon Las Vegas

Joell Robuchon Review: Robuchon Las Vegas

Once again we have Jonathan here to do a guest blog for me about his recent trip to Las Vegas. This looks like one special meal, hope you enjoy the post. Take it away, Jon!But what can I get for $400?

Eating out is expensive. Not exactly my most earth shattering of thoughts, I know, but still one that comes to mind quite often. Those $100-$200 prix fix menus can really add up. Even though I tell myself, “Oh, it’s a special occasion, so it’s okay,” deep down I can’t help but think “how can I come up with more special occasions?” However, there are times, when you have a meal that is so good, just so utterly super-fabulous that it makes me wonder: “if this is worth $200, what can I get for $400?”

While in Vegas a few weekends back, I got the chance to answer that very question by eating at Joël Robuchon (located in the MGM Grand). The restaurant has the dubious distinction of not only being run by the “chef of the century” (although I think it was last century) but also being one of the few restaurants in the US with three Michelin stars (Robuchon himself has the most of any chef at 17). With the perfect special occasion (anniversary) and the perfect dining companion, I set out to indulge in the extravagance.

The entrance of the restaurant itself hints at the experience inside. The chandeliers are visible from far away through the glass double doors. As you walk in to the foyer of the restaurant to the right is a small table is set up with a picture of Robuchon while to the left is a cart of mignardises. Further inside, the dining room is lush with purple velvets and accented by an unsettling (not quite matching) aqua blue.

As you would expect, the staff is amazing. They were not just polite and efficient, but also very nice and personable in a distinctly non-intrusive way. After picking the menu, the dinner was underway.

Dinner Notes:

1)Bread – the selection is impressive. A large cart of delicious breads. If only I didn’t have 16 courses to eat I might have tried more. Favorites include the bacon bread, milk bread and classic brioche.

2) White asparagus “panna cotta”, fresh almonds and lemon grass (pour commencer) – a nice starter, a smooth and refreshing start.

3) Salad of tomato, olive oil with basil, tomato gelée topped with mozzarella cheese (la tomate) – a very playful course; a version of a caprese salad. The tomato gelée with mozzarella dots is a shocking presentation of black gelée topped with rings of white “eyes.”

4) Thin couscous and Oscetra caviar, smooth cauliflower cream, delicate gelée of green asparagus (le caviar) – the caviar course contains a Robuchon classic.

5) Egg yolk in baby spinach ravioli with morels (l’œuf) – this is the single best dish of the night and it’s a revelation. The pasta is light; the yolk is smooth and silky. The morels plump and meaty. In the end, it may make my top 10 foods I’ve ever had.

6) Scallops royal with chive emulsion and buckwheat tuile (la saint-jacques) – good, but not great. The presentation is a bit odd and the taste is only modest.

7) Truffled langoustine ravioli with chopped cabbage, sea urchin, potato purée with a hint of coffee, coral and ginger perfumed tea (les crustacés) – this counts as three courses. The piece of langoustine within the ravioli is impressive, but maybe overly rich. The ginger perfumed tea with dumpling (really a shrimp meatball) is a great east-west dish.

8) Light pea velouté with mint on top of a delicate sweet custard (les petits pois) – a nice soup.

9) Smoked and seared tuna, cauliflower, nori and green curry (le thon) – delicious. The tuna is somehow both smoky and seared but still has a texture closer to sashimi than cooked tuna.

10) Sautéed veal chop with natural jus and vegetable taglierinis flavored with pesto (le veau) – the veal chop is nice, but nothing mind blowing.

11) Soy beans cooked risotto style with lemon zests and coriander (les pousses de soja) – I have only one problem with this – the name. The dish is really made of soy bean sprouts. Otherwise this is quite an eye-opener. I don’t think I’ve ever thought of chopping up bean sprouts and making them “risotto” style. But I have been noticing more and more things lately that have been made “risotto” style (i.e. grain at Paley’s Place in Portland).

12) Red fruits granité, fresh raspberry and yogurt sorbet (l’açai) – refreshing.

13) Le caramel crémeux infused with Arabica, chocolate rice soufflé (le caramel) – a great dessert. Tastes like pudding with rice krispies, but better.

14) Raspberry ice cream cake – what a surprise! They knew that it was our anniversary and brought out a whole raspberry ice cream cake, cut us two slices and took the rest back.

15) Des mignardises – too much to choose from! A cart filled with sweet treats, but I think the selection at Tru (in Chicago) is better.

Extra: On the way out, we were given a full loaf of banana bread topped with gold colored chocolate (what else?) for the next morning. I’ve had better banana bread, but I was still impressed with the size of the loaf.

Final thoughts: Robuchon definitely knows what it’s doing. Perhaps most impressive is that the kitchen kept pace with me, as I am a notoriously fast eater. My biggest complaint was the over choice of textures through the meal. There were a few too many gelées and custards and panna cottas as the center of the dish. Not enough textural contrast. In the end, the meal was as good as advertised, but I’m still not sure it was worth the money. I value the experience, but I’ve had some remarkable meals for more than half (much more) the price.

Joell Robuchon3799 Las Vegas Blvd .Las Vegas, NV 89109702-891-7925

Posted by Danny on June 26, 2008 at 3:31 am

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