Sunday, February 20, 2011

Vegas 10: Vegan Wynn and The Eiffel Tower

I'd read on Egullet that Steve Wynn had some vegan options available at his self-named hotel. After breakfast at Bouchon on Thursday, I walked over to the Wynn to investigate and saw Steve Wynn himself walking down one of the aisles. He didn't look particularly healthy or happy. Guess that Vegan cuisine isn't working for him. I would have asked him if he's tried Charlie Trotter's vegan dishes but I didn't want to bother him. The following day, to celebrate the news from Egypt, this time I took a bus up to the Wynn and prepared to try its vegie dish pictured above. I love inari skins and these are filled with water chestnuts and other goodies. My server tells me the sauce makes the dish and he's right. Very peanuty. The cilantro is very good with the sauce. It's a lot of food by my standards for breakfast. I'm told it's actually on the lunch menu but they make it for me anyway at 10 AM.
After this brunch, I take another bus way out to the old downtown. Pix in next post. Back to my hotel to wait for the limo from Robuchon. When I walked past the Eiffel Tower replica, I noticed the menus of both their outdoor reason Mon Ami Gabi and the indoor place up in the tower. The indoor place, called The Eiffel Tower Restaurant featured, in the Vegetarian section, Baked Herbed Crepe, Artichokes, Walnuts, Slow Roasted Tomato Coulis and Basil Pistou for $29. Considering the overall ambiance of the place, I really wanted to try that Crepe, not alas, Mon Ami Gabi's food though my Robuchon guide raved about it.
A few hours after I'd let my Robuchon feast digest, I put on my winter coat again (getting a surprising amount of work here in Vegas) and walked over to the Paris hotel to try the crepe. It wasn't the view of Mix from Monday but it was certainly a good view of Vegas. I'm inundated with Amuse Bouches even though I really only want the crepes. Finally the crepes are served and they are worthy of Robuchon, or any of the other great chefs I've been enjoying. Chef J Joho has mastered French cuisine as well as any of his contemporaries here in Vegas. I discover that The Eiffel Tower Restaurant is part of the Lettuce Entertainment Group from Chicago. I tell my greeter that I'd dined at Lettuce's great Chicago fish house L20 3 years ago at the beginning of this quest to find the best possible food. Here I am at another Lettuce place as my last restaurant in Vegas. Fitting.
While waiting for my flight back to Vancouver on Saturday afternoon, I pick up a bio of Wynn that he probably wouldn't want to see me reading in his hotel. It's a good thing his last name isn't Lose.
I wonder if all these great chefs ever compete? Not that I have much tolerance for competition but just as one tapas bar in Barcelona depends on its neighbours having equally delicious tapas to keep up its quality, I think Chef Andres in particular would benefit from having small plate restaurants around his 2 places here that would steal his customers if he served less than stellar food. Hubert Keller's gnocchi or braised hamachi would empty out Andres's places if people had the chance to compare them nearby. And most of the great meals I've had on this trip have been quite small, though sometimes quite expensive. You get what you pay for.

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