While enjoying Joel Robuchon's more casual L'Atalier restaurant at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas only yesterday, we were invited to experience the flagship and 3 Michelin star property, self titled, Joel Robuchon.
We were treated to a corner booth table and thankfully so, not only could we see the action but also, we were seated for a 5 and a half hour culinary journey so the comfy velvet sofa was extremely appropriate.
Entering the restaurant, we were greeted by name. All the staff we encountered knew who we were and where we came from. What a nice touch, since there's no real reason they should know us from anyone else. You quickly come to realize that this was the start of many fine details that are carefully attended to. Love is in the details and Joel Robichon and his staff overlook nothing. Mike placed his napkin on the sofa while using the rest room and it was quickly replaced. The table was pulled out each and every time we needed to get up or return to the table. This was hand's down the most attentive staff I have ever experienced.
The ambiance is decadent. Deep purples, black, white and pops of orange. Gorgeous chandeliers, art, flooring, wall coverings and decor. Beautiful piano tunes played throughout the night and it was a nice reprieve from the dings and rings of the Vegas casino floors.
Onto the meal.
We were first presented with a bread cart with about 15 different kinds of bread offerings. We selected a brioche, an olive baguette and a bacon bread. The waiter then proceeded to carve off ribbons of fresh butter from a large block and sprinkled it with fluer de sel.
The Amuse Bouche was called Osetra Caviar on a coral gelée.
This was presented as though it were simply a jar of fine caviar, but digging into it revealed a layer of gelee and a luscious crab and creme freche layer. Of the many, many..... MANY courses to come, this one still remains one of my favorite of the night.
Course two was a moan-inducing carppaccio-style potato/frois gras/white truffle dish with what I deduced was a truffle vinaigrette. Finely julienned radishes garnished this beautiful plate.
Third course was actually three courses in one, a trio of mushrooms. Truffles and mushrooms on a thin crispy bread that absolutely tasted like perfection to me. My meal could have ended then and there and I'd have felt treated to a special experience. There was a bright green puree that I can't recall, but it was over a frois gras puree and topped with sliced mushrooms. Absolute heaven. The third version was a ginger tea with gold leaf and mushrooms that could be consumed as either tea or soup and the taste was right in between both. Very interesting and unique.
Fourth course (sorry no picture) was frogs legs served over a paella. Succulent pieces of scallop, shrimp and squid within perfectly al dente rice. Although this dish was amazing, we were quickly realizing that this meal is a marathon, not a sprint. That in order to complete the full service we needed to take a break. We requested 15 minutes between the 5th and 6th courses lest we explode.
Fifth course was again, three courses in one. This time showcasing shellfish. Rubichon's signature languastine ravioli with black truffle with a side of savoy cabbage and creme fresh was the stuff of genious. Absolutely wonderful. Second was lobster served on a lemongrass skewer on top of a green curry with what I think was fried finely sliced lemon grass. This Asian influence was a nice surprise, that would repeat itself later in the meal. The third offering on this plate was hands down, the bite of my evening, sea urchin over potato puree topped with foam and coffee. Had I been standing I may have fallen, it made me knees weak and I had to turn to the wall so no one in the restaurant could see my pleasure face.
Fifth course was a welcome reprieve, a nice light course of chestnut and frois grois velute finished with bacon foam. The break and the airiness of this dish set us straight and gave us the confidence to continue.Sixth course was pan fried sea bass with a lemon grass foam and stewed baby leeks. Beautifully presented and portioned with a zesty and refreshing flavour. Sorry about the photo of a half-eaten plate.
Seventh course was a melt-in-your-mouth sauteed veal chop accompanied by an intense herb gel that complimented the veal in such a surprising way. On the side was zucchini ribbons wrapped around whole pistashios topped with fried zucchini flower pedals. So simple but so exquisite.
Eighth course absolutely delighted me. The absolute genius of it made me giggle as I ate it. It was presented as a risotto, but a bite of it revealed that it wasn't made with arborio rice, but rather with bean sprouts, chopped to the size of rice and cooked to simulate the al dente tooth feel of a risotto. The creamy, mushroom sauce felt very risotto-like, but was beautifully light and refreshing in a way that traditional risotto isn't.
We were thrilled to have made it through the entire savoury portion of the meal and were anxious to move onto dessert.
Little did we realize that even dessert would be several courses!
Ninth course was a refreshingly sweet and beautifully presented. Cool mango, kiwi and other fruit topped with sorbet and gold leaf. Just what the full belly doctor ordered.The next dessert course (10th course) was a caramelized apple confit with vanilla creme freche and crispy morsels of pastry, crunchy goodness. It was like a deconstructed apple crisp. Wonderful.11th course was another cart presenting ice cream. Mike chose an unbelievably creamy vanilla ice cream and I chose a raspberry sorbet. (Sorry no picture). As we gladly gobbled down the ice cream, the 12th course arrived. A dessert cart from Heaven. Hand-made delectable treasures, the likes I couldn't even dream of. I requested the waitresses choice as long as it included some chocolate. She didn't disappoint. A variety of truffles and gelles were plated for us and we savoured them over an espresso and cappuccino.
As we were finishing up our 5.5 hour meal, I was presented with a Joel Rubichon colour photo book and a box of treats. See? Love is in the details. How nice!There is absolutely no restaurant that can compare to this. The food is of course genius, the ambiance is decadent, the service staff is attentive, professional and went above and beyond in every way. And if you're lucky enough to be there while Mr. Robochon is there, he'll make you feel the the most important guest he's had. Hospitality runs through his veins the way that truffles and frois gras run through his kitchen.
Here's hoping you get to have this experience in your life as well. Definitely add it to the "To-Do-Before-You-Die List."
Monday, October 12, 2009
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