After years of wanting to go and not being able to due to finances or timing, we were finally able to make a trip to the best restaurant in Las Vegas. Located in the MGM Grand, Joel Robuchon is one of the highest rated and most awarded restaurants in the country, including being one of only a dozen 3-star Michelin rated. So, as you can imagine, it's kind of a big deal.
And they certainly give you the start treatment. Reservations are required and if you are staying on the strip they will send a golden limousine to pick you up and take you to the private entrance at the back of the casino. Through a big set of iron gates is the entrance to The Mansions at MGM Grand (exclusive villas for high-rollers); here the hostess will meet you and escort you through the property to the restaurant, passing though a gorgeous temperature controlled atrium with custom scents piped in (I'm not even kidding).
The interior of the restaurant is beautiful - opulent, but not old fashioned, and decked out in rich purple. The flower arrangements and table settings change seasonally - ours were bright orange and gold. There is also a lovely enclosed terrace with a vertical garden that I would love to be seated in next time.
Enough decor, on to the food! This being our first (and much anticipated) visit, we wanted to get the full experience, so we opted for the 16 course tasting menu for around $400 per person. We also got a wine pairing, which is priced in tiers (around $250, $500, and $1000 per person, I believe). We opted for the middle tier and the wines were outstanding, I can't even imagine what the top tier must be like!
Le Pain (the bread) - this is not your ordinary bread selection. There are at least 15 types of bread offered including baguettes, puff pastry, basil or saffron brioche, and much more. When you have made your (unlimited) selections, the servers warm them for you then shave a piece of butter off of a huge block (that gets its own cart) and sprinkle it with sea salt for you. I could make a whole meal out of this bread cart, no joke.
La Cerise (the cherry) - cherry gazpacho with sheep ricotta ans pistachios. Light and refreshing.
Our first wine was a Bruno Paillard Premiere Cuvee Brut Champagne.
La Tomate (the tomato) - salad of tomato with basil infused olive oil, tomato gelee topped with mozzarella. We were instructed to place the tomato onto the gelee and eat them together. A deconstructed caprese salad - this was interesting and tasty.
Le Caviar - three courses served at once. Clockwise from bottom right: red turnip and butter coated radish with yellowtail carpaccio and caviar, chilled cauliflower veloute with bonito gelee and caviar, caviar and couscous maki roll. This was one of the standout courses of the evening (how could it not be?), especially the carpaccio.
Here we were given our 2nd wine - 2007 Yves et Mathilde Gangloff Condrieu, a Viognier from Rhone, France. I am so in love with this wine! Floral and fruity with the "barnyard funk" that I love! Wine experts call that "terroir" actually, meaning that you can taste the soil (this is what separates a lot of old world wines from new world).
La Grenouille (the frog) - crispy frog leg, roasted garlic, parsley coulis. Very meaty and succulent - this was one of my favorites.
La Saint-Jacques (name of a traditional French scallop dish) - seared scallop in a cauliflower veloute for me and a green curry for Jasper. At the beginning of the meal, they ask for food allergies/preferences. I specified "no cilantro", so they made a substitution for me. They are very gracious and courteous about this.
Here we had our 3rd wine - 2006 Dugat-Py Meursault, a Chardonnay from Cote de Beaune, France. I normally don't prefer Chardonnay, but I think that applies mostly to California versions. This old world version was full of the terroir that I love so much.
Les Crustaces (the crustaceans) - three courses served at once. Clockwise from bottom: truffled langoustine ravioli with foie gras foam, sea urchin on potato puree with coffee, grilled spiny lobster medallion with herb sabayon. This was one of the best courses, if not THE best, of the evening (especially the ravioli, which is one of their signature dishes).
Les Petit Pois (the little peas) - delicate green pea cream on top of foie gras with argan oil. I enjoyed this much more than the earlier cherry soup.
We would have had another white here, except that Jasper requested 2 reds in the pairing (versus 1), sigh. We had a 2007 Ridge Vineyards Geyserville Zinfandel and Petite Sirah blend from Sonoma.
Le Saumon (the salmon) - a perfectly medium salmon filet with grain mustard and mango "tagliatelle". Another of my favorites.
Le Boeuf (the beef) - pepper crusted rib eye with capers, peppers, and mushrooms. I was so full at this point that I could not eat more than a bite of this.
For our 2nd red, we had a 2004 Chateau Le Tertre-Roteboeuf Merlot dominant Bordeaux from Saint-Emilion, France. I was also too full to drink much of this.
Le Soja (the soybean) - soy risotto with lime and chives. Again, I was too full to eat much of this.
La Fraise (the strawberry) - a caramel panna cotta with fresh strawberries, balsamic reduction, and creme fraiche foam. Kind of like a deconstructed strawberry shortcake. I don't know if it was because the end was in sight, or the change from savory to sweet - but we were both able to recover a little bit and finish these last 2 courses.
With dessert we were served a 2001 Chateau Rieussec Grand Cru Classe Sauternes. The somalier also gave us a 2nd sweet wine as a bonus (I think he like us), but I can't remember what it was.
Le Citron (the lemon) - honey gelee and a light lemon cream finished with a spiced red fruit coulis, yum.
Le Moka, Les Mignardises (the coffee, the small desserts) - Lastly, we were presented with this beautiful cart from which we could take whatever we wanted.
Stuffed to the brim, we were escorted back through The Mansions to the limo to go home. What a wonderful and beautiful experience!
I would love to return, but considering how full we got and how sick I was that night because of it, I would order differently. The 16 course is a wonderful way to experience all that they have to offer, but it is just too much (especially with the wine pairing). Next time, I will order the 6 course menu where I can choose my favorite dishes and still take advantage of the marvelous bread and petit fours cart. The 6 course menu also includes the cheese cart which the 16 course did not (which made me sad, but there was no way that I would have had room for it anyway). I have also heard that you can split 1 wine pairing between 2 people, which would be a much more reasonable amount than what we had.
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