|Mangia bene, Las Vegas! The second part of a two-part series|
| You might be
wondering what happened to Tuesday's food adventures. (Or you might
not.) Other than the Bayside Buffet at Mandalay Bay, I didn't eat
anything particularly special. I had an S-1 (BBQ chicken with shrimp
fried rice) for dinner at Thai BBQ (Sahara and Maryland location) which
I liked because: 1. It was familiar, comfortable, and didn't demand
much thought on my part, and 2. It's just good. By the way, Thai BBQ's
BBQ chicken is my favorite rendition of kai yang.
On the Bayside Buffet, the most important comment I have to make is that it's my favorite breakfast buffet. Every time I go to Vegas, I have to have at least one breakfast there. I usually have eggs benedict, load up on the meats, and enjoy the smoked salmon with bagel. It costs 15.99 USD before tax.
Moving on, for breakfast today, I went to the Sahara Avenue location of Hash House A Go Go. I first experienced this restaurant early this year in San Diego where it originated (read more about it by following this link). I liked it so much, I decided that I had to have breakfast there during this trip.
This time, I ordered the HH Original (11.95 USD): smoked bacon, fresh tomato, fresh spinach, roasted red pepper cream, two basted eggs. To wash down all the food, I had a ruby grapefruit juice.
Overall, I didn't like this particular dish. There was just too much starch, what with the potatoes and biscuit. There wasn't much flavor in the roasted red pepper cream. Unlike my first time at HH, I used the rosemary sprig, removing and tearing the leaves and sprinkling them over the entire dish. The dish I had my first time at HH - Andy's Sage Fried Chicken with fresh spinach, hardwood smoked bacon, market tomato, griddled mozzarella, chipotle cream, and scrambled eggs - was much better.
Thanks Randy for the referral and for good service.
My Rating: One star out of four stars (good). Website: http://www.hashhouseagogo.com/
Now on to the highlight of my trip.
For dinner, I made a reservation at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon at the MGM Grand.
First, the amuse bouche: Warm Foie Gras Parfait with Port Wine Gelée and Parmesan Foam.
A nice way to start a meal. Using a spoon, you plunge through the foam to pick up liquid and bits of foie below. The amuse was rich, velvety, and delicious.
Second, was the Mussel and Mimolette Veloute with croutons, lemon, and Esplette powder.
This course felt like a continuation of the amuse except with different and more nuanced flavors. The cute, crisp little croutons had an outstanding, unintelligible flavor to me: Anise? Esplette is an AOC pepper originally from the new world and mimolette is a cheese that resembles a cantaloupe in appearance.
The second course was the Crispy Langoustine Fritter with Basil Pesto.
The ultra-delicate batter encasing the langoustine was astounding. I could pop a dozen of these fritters into my mouth and still go for more.
The main course was a choice between salmon and beef. I had the beef, which was rib eye. This came with Robuchon's celebrated pommes puree!
The rib eye was PERFECTLY medium-rare and well-seasoned. There were generous chunks of fat that I was all too eager to devour. The pommes puree just smacked of hard work. It must've been passed through that tamis a million times! I enjoyed it but I also thought that it might have been a touch overworked: the viscosity was somewhat like glue.
After the main course came the cheese course. From left to right, the cheeses were a cow's milk triple cream, a sheep's milk flavored with garlic and a rind covered in paprika, and a cow's milk cheese with a cumin-studded rind. I liked the sheep's milk most of all..
For dessert, I chose the tarts rather than the ice creams.
From top to bottom, the tarts were raspberry, lemon curd with gold foil, dark chocolate ganache, vanilla custard, cinnamon? gel dusted with cocoa powder, and white chocolate mousse with crispy rice garnish. This was my least favorite course as the concept seemed a bit boring. As for technique, the lemon curd, dark chocolate ganache, and white chocolate mousse were unbelievably light and the tart shells were masterfully formed. Seeing the ice creams that the diner next to me ordered made me think the crème glacées were the better choice.
My experience at L'Atelier can be summed in a few words: Impeccable craft and technique, however, a bit underwhelming. I suspect that I would have enjoyed eating at Bouchon or a prix fixe meal at Rosemary's Restaurant a bit more.
Although I didn't include pictures here, the bread service was top-notch. I absolutely adored the mini-baguettes. The butter was really nice as well.
How Much I Paid: For the Menu Club tasting, a glass of Albariño, sparkling water, an espresso, and tip, I paid 151.56 USD. Yes, this was the single most expensive meal I've eaten. I'm proud of myself.
My Rating: Two and a half stars out of four stars (very good to excellent). Website: http://www.mgmgrand.com/restaurants/atelier-joel-robuchon-french-restaurant.aspx