Monday, March 01, 2010

Post #405: Vegas is for eating - Restaurant: L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon

I am no gambler. I consider myself too lucky in life to also be good at cards. As such, Vegas for me is about work and food. Assuming no one is interested in hearing about work, let's talk food.

The first night after work, I hit up L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon solo. Cheerfully red, the chic inside transported one away from the gambling floor right outside.
I spent the next couple of hours facing this view into the open kitchen. Behind the wheat grass and hanging apples, chefs busied quietly assembling salads and broiling fish.

That's a lot of bread for one, I thought. I needn't have worried. They were all so excellent, I downed half quickly with the nutty Brittany butter.
This amuse set the tone for the dinner (rich and decadent) right off the bat. It looks like a shot, but actually is a pretty dense warm foie mousse that needed a spoon for scraping the bottom. Faintly sweet and super smooth, this was one heck of a bite.
After the rich foie, came the rich mussel soup. Despite the smallish bowl, there were about a dozen plump mussels floating underneath the ample cream soup. My favorite things were the crunchy croutons that were crispy and yet melty.
This was the best bite of the evening, a supple and sweet piece of fresh langoustine flash fried inside a whisper of a rice wrapper. It was the perfect balance of crunch and soft.
The main course, a salmon, was the weakest link. It simply wasn't special enough to follow the progression of the meal. The lattice potato pieces on top were tasty in the way only potato chip products can be.
Of course dinner isn't complete without the restaurant's famous mashed potato. Despite the countless breathless reviews I've read about the to die for butteriness of this dish, I wasn't prepared for the saturating amount of butter. Really, it was hard to tell if there were any potato products in there at all. My lips were coated by the buttery fume before they ever touched the stuff. In all honesty, it was all a bit too much... Maybe the few weeks in Asia had taken my tolerance for richness down a few notches.
Before dessert, there were cheeses. Once again, the breads were awesome, especially the walnut raisin one with its faintly moist sweetness. It paired particularly well with an aged Comte. It recalled a similar one I had at l'Arpege in Paris back in November.
When I ordered tarts, I didn't expect this! Every single piece was meticulously made and was as tasty as they were pretty. Best of all was the butterscotch one in the middle. Intensely stick and toffee like, it was worth all the effort trying to get it off my teeth. :)

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