Friday, February 18, 2011

Vegas 7: Bouchon. Tom Keller returns from the dead.

I never expected to eat Thomas Keller's cooking again after the debacle in Per Se a few months ago. However, in prepping for this trip, I watched the No Reservations episode from Vegas where Tony was raving about the Beignets de Brandade de Morue. I asked if I could get an item from the dinner menu for breakfast. No, I'd have to come back in the evening. I made a reservation as late as I could, surprised how easy it was. Consider how difficult it is to get in to The French Laundry or Per Se. And now on Thursday morning here at 8:30 I was expecting multitudes, but there are just a few of us here. I order the grapefruit seen above. I had been addicted to frozen pink grapefruit from 1985-2000. On some profound chemical level, I appreciate this fruit. This is the best grapefruit I've ever eaten. Hunter Thompson couldn't hallucinate a tastier grapefruit. And the chamomile tea, called Rare Cargo Organic Chamomile and Fruit, is the best tasting chamomile I've ever tasted and chamomile is my favourite tea.

And Keller doesn't stop. The quiche is also the best in its class. I've been making quiches since my friend King Kong (no not that one, this one's a podiatrist in Encino) and I got into French food in the 60s. In this quiche, the eggs hadn't completed decided which state they wanted to be in. There was a precarious aesthetic. a mystery tension for the taste buds: how good can this be? The vinaigrette has a delightful aroma. The quiche also has a wondrous smelling pastry.

After dining at Picasso, see next post, I went back at 930 PM to Bouchon for the cod. It really didn't compare to the other fish I've eaten in Vegas, either the cod at Mix or anything else. It was edible. The servers were astonished I'd just come for that dish, though they kept saying it was a good choice. I'm shown a copy of the Keller cookbook with this dish in it and told to take a pic with my phone. I don't have a cell phone, but I do shoot this vid. One server came by and inspected my plate to see if I were eating the dish with tomatoes, a key ingredient. The more I eat, the more I become annoyed at the fried outer texture which isn't agreeing with me at all. The inner cod still tastes good and the tomato helps. It's not as good as the perfect breakfast nor even as good the the turbot I had a few hours earlier at Picasso. But it's better than the vegetarian garbage I was served at Per Se. So Tom Keller can cook. A quiche. At least. Maybe my expectations of Andres were too high, my expectations of this Keller too low.

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