Saturday, February 19, 2011

Vegas 9: Robuchon

And finally, the founder of the quest.
video
It was an article in The Vancouver Sun about Robuchon that got me interested in pursuing these kinds of restaurants in 2006. The chef of the century? What does that mean? I wanted to find out.
Before dining at the Robuchon mansion, I had to survive the day. I was awakened with chest pains at 3 AM the previous night, after premonitions of death leaving Picasso, only the 6th best restaurant I'd dined at in the previous 4 days. Maybe I actually was dying of too much good food. Maybe that deep fried cod at Bouchon at 10 PM? Or a heart attack? I read for awhile as the pain subsided. When I later awoke at 9, the Egyptians had gotten rid of Mubarak. Watching the struggles in Egypt had been my main activity in Vegas when not dining. I've identified with Egypt since reading about it in 3rd grade (when I discovered they worshiped cats, they had my interest for life) and though it's only a tourist's interest, I wanted to go there at some point and want the best for its people, however long ago their cat-worship was. I too felt oddly liberated. From heart attack, Keller's cooking oil or whatever, it was great to be alive. Using my 3-day bus pass, I went over to the Wynn up the strip to sample it's fabled (on Egullet) Vegan cuisine for breakfast but that will be in the next post. I then spent a less than intriguing hour in the old downtown, a long bus ride from the Strip and only occasionally photogenic. See 2 blog posts from this.
Back in my Imperial Palace room, I'm told I'll be picked up by a gold limo with MGM Grand written on the side. I see no such car. Finally one of the hotel workers who is involved with traffic inquires who I'm waiting for, and when I describe my missing limo, I'm directed to a black SUV with no writing on it. Finally I'm headed to Robuchon land.
After a pleasant sunset ride, I'm let in through large gates. I'm deposited at a very impressive building. Was Louis XVI expecting me? I'm told to wait for my server and my check says her name was Jennifer appears. Like my own private guide. We discuss what I've eaten on my trip. She suggests I try L'Atelier which I will do on my next visit. Also recommends Mon Ami Gabi at the Eiffel Tower. I don't tell her I'm planning to eat crepes in the upstairs restaurant later this evening. I had looked at the Gabi menu and nothing on it intrigued me, unlike the vegetarian crepe on the Eiffel Tower menu. But I'm still at Robuchon. I don't think I have ever been in a more luxurious room than the one in which I finally dine. I get a pretty good fruity cocktail to start with as my amuse bouche is a tin of caviar and the drink goes along way to make these buttery fish eggs on crab meat highly edible. I don't remember ever eating caviar or wanting to, but it goes deliciously with the insistently paired bread.
The langoustine ravioli reminds me of the soup at Guy Savoy. Good, but I was expecting more intricacy. It is satisfying. The cabbage pairs well with it. But I wouldn't rank it with the best food I've had in Vegas.
The Sea Bass, called Le Bar, hits it out of the park. I've ordered a Lemon Drop to keep with the cocktail theme and avoiding wine completely. The lemony drink marries the bass which is already married to the tomatoes and this marriage is made in 70s sitcom heaven. I know you're as tired of reading it as I am of typing it, but it's the best piece of fish I've ever eaten. This Robuchon dude can cook. The artichoke is fantastic, and still an artichoke. Who knew? And the asparagus? Jose should eat these, to taste what asparagus spears are supposed to taste like. The octopus is also exquisite, along with its helpful foam. Actually my first bite is of cauliflower. Joel knows what to do with vegies. I'm served his famous mashed potatoes. It's basically potato-flavoured butter. At the conclusion to this rather small meal, I'm very satisfied and very full. I avoid desert and have a cup of tea which comes with the meal. The lemon drop had cut the butter overpresence in the langoustines and the potatoes. A mildly spiced citrus tea ends my meal perfectly. I know I'll be eating crepes in the Eiffel Tower in 3 hours but I savour every minute at Robuchon. They actually summon the gold limo to return me to my anti-hotel. Sure is fun, not being dead.

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