Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Joël Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV) [2]

Joël Robuchon
3799 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Tue 06/16/2009, 05:30p-08:00p

The "Chef of the Century" might easily not have been. Joël Robuchon (born April 7, 1945 in Poitiers, France) was slated to become a priest, and spent the beginning of his teenage years training at a seminary. Fortuitously, familial financial woes necessitated that a young Robuchon go to work to support his parents, and at age 15, Robuchon began apprenticing at hotel-cum-restaurant Relais de Poitiers; he'd studied cooking at Mauléon-sur-Sèvre’s seminary, so the transition made sense. In 1966, Robuchon joined the Compagnon du Tour de France, a group of artisans who spent several years traveling around the country, honing their craft. This exposed him to the depth and breadth of French cooking, and gave him a library of techniques and ingredients to call upon throughout his career.

Robuchon thus hung his toque at various establishments throughout France, and in 1974, after completing his apprenticeship, was soon scouted as the Chef de Cuisine at Hôtel Concorde Lafayette in Paris; he was 29. It was during his time here that Robuchon was awarded the Meilleur Ouvrier de France, the most vaunted designation possible for chefs. It was also during this time that Robuchon was exposed to the culinary tradition of Japan, a factor that would play a larger and larger role as he continued to develop his own style. In 1978, Robuchon moved to head the kitchens at Les Célébrités, at the Hôtel Nikko in Paris.

At the end of 1981, Robuchon opened his very own restaurant: Jamin. Robuchon captured his first Michelin star three months after opening; the third came in 1984. At Jamin, Robuchon really came into his own, refining and cementing his gastronomic modus operandi. Robuchon closed Jamin in 1993, and in 1994 opened the more luxurious Joël Robuchon in a larger space, where he again garnered three stars. However, the restaurant would only last two years; Robuchon retired in 1996, at the height of his career--he wanted to go out on top.

But yet he could not stay away. Robuchon returned to the restaurant scene with his L'Atelier series of restaurants, meant to bring his cuisine into a more informal setting: gourmet counter dining. The concept proved to be a success, and in 2005, Robuchon was lured by MGM Grand head Gamal Aziz to open a restaurant in Las Vegas that would hark back to his glory days of 3-star gastronomy. Robuchon thus had carte blanche to create this new restaurant, and the chef subsequently began to assemble of team of experienced cooks and staff from all around the globe. Helming the kitchen was Jamin-alumnus Claude Le Tohic, who, like Robuchon, was a Meilleur Ouvrier de France winner (in 2004). Chef de Cuisine was Tomonori Danzaki, who worked with Robuchon in Tokyo and in Paris, and Executive Pastry Chef was Kamel Guechida, who worked under Fredy Girardet at Restaurant de Crissier in Switzerland. Amazingly, four years later, all three are still manning the kitchens.

My previous meal at Joël Robuchon was simply epic, one of my best ever, so it seemed fitting to cap off a Vegas food trip (which saw the likes of Guy Savoy, L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, and Bar Charlie) with a return visit.

Joël Robuchon Terrace
Last time, we were seated in the main dining room, styled by Pierre-Yves Rochon to evoke a posh upper-class 1930's Parisian salon. So this time, I requested a seat "outdoors," on what is referred to as the Terrace. A note to fellow food bloggers: don't do it! The lighting is conducive to a romantic rendezvous, but not to photo-taking. It's dim--we're talking 1/10s at f/2, running ISO 1600. As a result, the photos here didn't turn out as well as they could have "indoors."

Joël Robuchon Menu Degustation
As a result of the economy (and also in response to the summer season, according to Chef Le Tohic), Joël Robuchon now offers prix fix menus starting from a previously unheard of $89 per person, rising to $195. Of course, for hardcore gluttons such as myself, the $385, 16-course degustation is still available. Mine is shown above, printed on Robuchon's signature "sparkly" paper; click for a larger version. Anyone care to translate the Chef's message for me?

I decided to take it easy on the alcohol, and thus ordered only two glasses of wine to complement the meal. Since I'm a big fan of something bubbly to start, the first was the Philipponnat "Réserve Rosé" Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, NV [$39]. It was everything you'd expect and want from a rosé: plenty of strawberry, slightly toasty, crisp acidity, subtly sweet, with fine bubbles--a refreshing way to start off the evening. Since Riesling is my favorite white varietal, my next glass was filled with the Alsace, Riesling "Cuvée Frédéric Emile" Maison F.E. Trimbach, 2001 [$31]. Though I usually go with the fruitier, more floral Germans, I went for an Alsatian Riesling this time, as I was in the mood for something drier. The Trimbach fit the bill nicely--a mineral-dominated wine with hints of apple and lemon, with a great sharpness.

Bread Cart
The bread cart was as impressive as ever. Since I'd been offered a bread pairing at Guy Savoy just three nights prior, I decided to ask for one here. Though the restaurant usually doesn't do such a thing, they were able to accommodate the request. Interestingly, the bread server was the exact same gentleman from my last visit, and he recognized me!

Le Caviar Osciètre Le Caviar Osciètre
1: Le Caviar Osciètre | en fine gelée de corail anisée, servie en surprise
Milk bread
Ah Champagne and caviar...could there be a more fitting start to a meal at Robuchon? Presented with a tin filled level with the tiny black pearls, I first tried a few globules alone. Briny, crisp, a bit nutty--they tasted as they should. Breaking through the layer of roe revealed the "surprise:" dungeness crab in a gelée of lobster coral and fennel cream. Coral refers to the richly-flavored eggs of lobster, and here it imbued the dish with the essence of the crustacean, while the crab provided a great sweetness that balanced out the saltiness of the caviar. A great way to kick off the evening.

La Tomate La Tomate
2: La Tomate | en salade, huile d’olive au basilic, tomate et mozzarella en gelée
Basil focaccia
Initially, I wasn't too excited about this course. Reading the description on the menu, I thought that the dish would be a pretty conventional insalata Caprese--I should've given the kitchen more credit! On the left was a thick slice of tomato, marinated in basil-infused olive oil and topped with basil, balsamic, and salt. Next to it was an intriguing-looking plate: a clear tomato gelée speckled with spots of mozzarella, with alternating points of basil and tomato purées; I can just imagine a young chef back in the kitchen charged solely with the onerous task of dotting the gelée! Though I was instructed to eat everything together, I first tried the tomato by itself, which was extraordinarily juicy, with a refreshing tomato flavor leading to hints of basil then olive oil. Now, with everything taken together in one bite, the effect was almost exactly like that of a Caprese, though a bit lighter. The "salad" thus didn't break any barriers with regard to taste, but rather was a reimagination of the classic using different textures, techniques, and presentation (arguably a deconstructivist approach).

Les Asperges
3a: Les Asperges | un blanc-manger aux substances d’agrumes
Saffron focaccia
The "Les Asperges" course actually comprises three mini-courses. The first was asparagus over a blancmange and tomato coulis, with citrus oil. The relish of the asparagus was complemented, emboldened by the coulis, whilst the panna cotta added a heaviness to the dish that tempered the vegetable.

Les Asperges
3b: Les Asperges | brouillarde crémeuse dans une voilette de pain doré
Saffron focaccia
Next was asparagus with scrambled eggs, in a golden French toast crust. Here, the bite of asparagus was apparent at first, but was balanced by the creaminess of the eggs. The crust, meanwhile, added a fantastic texture element.

Les Asperges
3c: Les Asperges | royale tremblotante de morille au vin d’Arbois
Saffron focaccia
Clearly, they saved the best for last: asparagus and morel mushrooms royale with vin jaune (yellow wine) from Arbois. I knew this was going to be good just from the aroma, a heady bouquet permeated with the earthiness of morel and just a hint of asparagus tang. The wine-morel complex, with its nutty smokiness, was fantastic, and formed the perfect counterpoint to the asparagus, which took on a more supporting role here. Powerful, profound, a standout of the meal--I wanted a bigger bowl!

La Grenouille La Grenouille
4: La Grenouille | la cuisse en fritot à la purée aillée et au coulis de persil
Brioche with rosemary and sea salt
This rather gnarly looking thing was a crispy frog leg fritter, accompanied by young garlic shoot purée and parsley coulis, along with tempura'd watercress and soy bean. This is one of Robuchon's signature dishes, and I can see why. The frog leg was simply one of the most flavorful bites I've had in recent memory, and its crispy fried shell provided an absolutely wondrous texture contrast, and also gave the dish a lingering bready finish. The sauces added some further interest, but were unnecessary--the frog was delicious on its own. Give me a whole bucket of these please!

Les Crustacés
5a: Les Crustacés | la langoustine truffée et cuite en ravioli a l’émincé de chou vert
Wheat pain epi
Another set of three mini-courses began with a plump raviolo stuffed with langoustine, in a foie gras and truffle sauce, paired with chopped Savoy cabbage in a beurre blanc. The use of truffle and foie gras provided a regal complement to the langoustine, but didn't allow enough of the langoustine's natural flavor to shine through. The cabbage, meanwhile, added a great, crisp textural contrast and lightened the rather rich dish. While tasty, it wasn't as strong as the version I had on my previous visit.

Les Crustacés
5b: Les Crustacés | le homard rôti au curry et fines graines de chou fleur
Wheat pain epi
Next was roasted lobster with green curry, over a lemongrass couscous with cauliflower. The use of lemon grass and cauliflower resulted in a pleasing contrast to the lobster, giving it a vegetal and slightly spicy tang. However, the crustacean was overdone for me, lacking in its signature crispness and snap.

Les Crustacés
5c: Les Crustacés | l’oursin a la purée de pomme de terre au café « Blue Mountain » torréfié
Wheat pain epi
Though I have uni often in Japanese cuisine, the uni here was done in a way that I would've never imagined. It was served on a bed of mashed potato with roasted Blue Mountain coffee beans (one of the priciest coffees in the world, from Jamaica). I was afraid that the coffee would simply dominate the sea urchin, but it was surprisingly mild. Rather, the potato was the key here. Its creamy consistency blended seamlessly with the uni, while tempering the urchin's sweet brininess.

Les Petits Pois
6: Les Petits Pois | en fin velouté rafraîchi à la menthe poivrée sur un voile d’oignon doux
Here we have a light pea velouté with peppermint, over smoked ham and espelette, topped with a delicate onion foam. Upon tasting this soup, I first noted an intense nose of onion, followed by the clear essence of pea, finishing with a subtle yet lingering hint of mint. The ham, in the meantime, provided a strong savoriness that balanced the refreshing nature of the dish. What was most interesting here though was the interplay between pea and peppermint. Pea has an inherent tanginess to it, and that bracing sensation was handed over seamlessly to the mint; it was a fascinating sensation--simple, yet brilliant. This was easily one of my favorite courses, and the second outstanding pea dish of the trip, along with "Tout Petits Pois" at Guy Savoy.

L’Os à Moelle L’Os à Moelle
7: L’Os à Moelle | garni d’un ragout de légumes aux éclats de maïs et gingembre
Bacon mustard epi
We now move to the more substantial courses, with the first being bone marrow and sweetbreads, with vegetable ragout, corn, creamed corn, popcorn, and ginger cream. Upon seeing this dish, I was afraid that it'd be too heavy, too unctuous (as marrow tends to be). As luck would have it, my fears were unfounded. In addition to marrow, the bone was also filled with creamed corn; now, creamed corn is typically a somewhat heavy item, but here, it effectively, and surprisingly, cut the gravitas of the marrow superbly, even adding a bit of sweetness in the process. However, the star of the show was the sweetbreads, which were immensely flavorful and done to a firm, yet not crispy, texture. The popcorn was a fun touch that provided some levity and whimsy, while adding a bit of crunch. Easily the best bone marrow dish I've had yet.

Le Bar Le Bar
8: Le Bar | poêlé à la citronnelle avec une étuvée de jeunes poireaux
Olive baguette
The first and only fish dish of the night was this pan-fried sea bass from Brittany with lemon grass foam and stewed baby leeks, tomato, and asparagus. The flesh of the bass was tender, flaky, and mild, about everything I could ask for. The use of lemon grass resulted in a distinctly Thai-tinged flavor, while the veggies made for a light contrast and an overall zesty, piquant dish with an Asian flair.

Le Veau Le Veau
9: Le Veau | en côte cuit au plat avec un gel d’herbes fraîches et une mêlée de courgette au amandes
Rosemary brioche
Veal has always been somewhat of a bane of mine, as I've consistently found it rather bland and indistinctive. I was thus curious as to what Robuchon would do with it. This was a sautéed veal chop with an herb gelée, zucchini-fresh almond "roulade," and veal reduction. I'm glad to report that this was one of the better veals I've had. The meat itself was quite flavorful indeed, while the gelée provided an herbaceous, mitigating contrast. The best part, though, was the amalgam of zucchini and almond, which simultaneous added a light vegetal flavor, a sharp nuttiness, and a delightful crunch to the dish.

Les Racines Maraîchères Les Racines Maraîchères
10: Les Racines Maraîchères | coulerus de saison mêlées d'une semoule de blé parfumé à l’huile d’Argan
Gruyere brioche
After a heavy dish like the veal, I was grateful for a something like this stew of Spring root vegetables with Argan oil couscous. Argan oil is a rare oil made from kernels of the argan, a tree endemic to parts of Morocco and Algeria. It was thus the perfect oil for this North African-inspired dish, cooked and served, of course, in a tagine. The veggies had a great freshness and crispness to them, as well as a bracing bitterness that complemented the mild couscous. Deceptively simple, yet uncommonly intense--very good.

La Fraise
11: La Fraise | confite au sirop de citron vert, rafraîchi au sorbet Tequila
Moving on to desserts, we begin with a bowl of strawberry confit infused with lime syrup, paired with a tequila sorbet, and topped with a tuile. As you'd expect, the strawberry compote by itself was quite intense indeed, saturated with the cloying sweetness of the berry, yet tempered by the sourness of the lime. The tequila, on the other hand, made for a rather refreshing finish, tinged with an alcoholic tang.

Le Chocolat Le Chocolat
12: Le Chocolat | aux noix de Pecan, onctuosite au gianduja
With the fruit-based dessert dispensed with, it was time for chocolate: a Nyangbo chocolate cake with pecan and light gianduja cream. Nyangbo is a chocolate from producer Valrhona, made from beans grown in the African country of Ghana. It had a complex bittersweet flavor along with a subtle spiciness that paired very well with the sweet, nutty gianduja. This was a nice combination of creamy and crunchy consistencies, and actually reminded of a similar cake I had at Fifth Floor in San Francisco.

Ice Creams and Sorbet
Ice Creams and Sorbet
Following the last course, a cart carrying Tahitian vanilla ice cream, caramel ice cream, and raspberry sorbet arrived, and naturally, I had to try one of each. My favorite was easily the vanilla, which had a flavor that was so pure, so delicate, so intense, and so different from the mass market stuff. Next was the caramel ice cream, which reminded me of the brown butter ice cream I had days earlier at Guy Savoy. Finally, the raspberry sorbet was extremely tart, extremely bracing--a refreshing end.

Mignardises Pistachio-Raspberry Cake
Since time was of the essence, I had to skip the presentation of Robuchon's famous candy cart, and instead requested my mignardises to go; standouts here were the macaron and the canelé. In addition, I also received a rather large pistachio-raspberry cake (which I had a hard time fitting in my luggage!).

Though a superb meal, this experience at Robuchon didn't quite live up to the admittedly lofty standards of my last visit. Unfortunately, I was partly to blame for this. You see, I had a 9:30 flight out of McCarran, and thus had to leave the restaurant by 8:00, in order to catch a taxi to the airport. I arrived right at opening, 5:30, to maximize my time, but even that wasn't enough. By the end of it, I was basically eating as fast as I could, not really savoring each bite. I must give credit to the staff--I mentioned my limitation, and they were very accommodating, getting me out almost exactly at 8:00. Chef Le Tohic even came out to chat for a few minutes. Bottom line: don't cram a 4-hour meal into 2.5 hours. That being said, I do want to return to dine here, when I can afford a more leisurely pace. Monsieur Robuchon: just don't retire again before I do!


Blogger ila said...

wow. EPIC!

Sunday, July 05, 2009 9:52:00 AM  
Blogger MyLastBite said...

Oh Kevin. This is just awesome!

Sunday, July 05, 2009 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger Food, she thought. said...

All that asparagus is making me hungry.

Sunday, July 05, 2009 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger weezermonkey said...

Oh. Em. Gee. This is the meal of my dreams. How do you do it?! I need a job that will enable me to afford such wonders!

Sunday, July 05, 2009 12:18:00 PM  
Anonymous leslie said...

Leslie and Marc here - we met you at Rivera 4th of July. Was so happy to meet other people taking photos of food and wish we had your camera, your photos are fabulous! and this dining experience sounds amazing, too bad you had to rush! Looking forward to reading more. Wonder what you think of Bottega Louie in downtown as just a cool casual spot for lunch?

Sunday, July 05, 2009 2:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this the best restaurant in the USA? Laundry? Per se? Alinea? Urasawa?

Sunday, July 05, 2009 2:57:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

Hey, wonderful pics as always!
Chef Le tohic wrote 'Avec toute ma sympathie Claude Le Tohic', which means 'With all my sympathy'.

Sunday, July 05, 2009 4:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Jai Kohli said...

Fred's right with the translation. My buddy was at the MGM once and he's not a gambler, but was just killing some time on the slots when he won a $1000 jackpot. He decided what the hell, blow it on food, so asked them to take him & his gf to the best restaurant in the hotel. He had never heard of Robuchon at that time and didn't look at the prices when he ordered the tasting menu, with wine pairing. When the bill came and he saw it was close to $1,600, he cried. But it was the best meal of his life. He said their bottle of water was $26 & was indeed the best water of his life ;)

Sunday, July 05, 2009 5:37:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Ila: Indeed. Robuchon is a good example of what I like to call "epic dining," meals excelling in length, complexity, and expense.

Jo: Awesome to be sure. I notice that Las Vegas hasn't been represented yet on your blog; any reason for that?

Lizzie: I used to have an aversion to asparagus, but after doing all this fine dining, I've become quite an asparagus fiend myself!

Sharon: Aren't you going to be an attorney? ;)

leslie: Thanks Leslie, it was great meeting you guys at Rivera! When can we expect your post on the place? As for Bottega Louie, I've not been there myself, but it looks like a great spot that I wouldn't mind trying out.

Anon: Good question; I don't know what the best restaurant in the US is. I'd have to pay more visits to each one to make a definitive judgment, but all those that you mentioned would be candidates for me.

Fred: Ah thanks for the translation! 'Twas very similar to what he wrote last time.

Jai: That's hilarious; he probably thought that the $1000 would cover the meal with room to spare. But wow, that must've been some crazy wine pairing at $400pp; do you know what he had?

Monday, July 06, 2009 1:17:00 AM  
Blogger dhkm said...

Nice post, look like you have a good time in veges. I looking forword meeting u in August.
If u have to pick a best restaurant from each state you been to, what will they be.
will u ever conside branch out to taste the top restaurant in world (according to Restaurant Magazine) --

1.Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Paris, France
2.Alinea, Chicago, US
3.Angela Hartnett at The Connaught, London
4.Arzak, San Sebastián, Spain
5.Asador Etxebarri, Atxondo, Biscay, Spain
6.Auberge de l'Ill, Illhaeusern-Alsace, France
7.Bocuse, Collonges-au-Mont-d'Or (Lyon), France
8.Bras, Laguiole, France
9.Bukhara, New Delhi, India
10.Cal Pep, Barcelona
11.Can Fabes, Sant Celoni, Catalonia (Spain)
12.Charlie Trotter's, Chicago, US
13.Checcino dal 1887, Rome
14.Chez Dominique, Helsinki, Finland
15.Chez Panisse, Berkeley, California, US
16.Combal Zero, Rivoli, Italy
17.Comme chez Soi, Belgium
18.Cracco Peck, Milan, Italy
19.Dal Pescatore, Canneto sull'Oglio, Italy
20.Daniel, New York, US
21.De Karmeliet, Belgium
22.Die Schwarzwaldstube, Baiersbronn im Schwarzwald, Germany
23.DOM, São Paulo, Brazil
24.El Bulli, Roses, Spain
25.El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain
26.Enoteca Pinchiorri, Florence, Italy
27.Flower Drum, Melbourne
28.French Laundry, US (- best restaurant in the Americas)
29.Gambero Rosso, San Vincenzo, Italy
30.Gordon Ramsay
31.Guy Savoy
32.Hakkasan, London, UK
33.Hof van Cleve, Kruishoutem, Belgium
34.Iggy's, Singapore
35.Jean-Georges, New York, US
36.La Colombe, South Africa
37.La Maison Troisgros, France
38.La Tupina, Bordeaux
39.L'Ambroisie, Paris, France
40.L'Arpège, Paris, France
41.L'Astrance, Paris, France
42.L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon
43.Le Bernardin, New York, US
44.Le Calandre, Padua, Italy
45.Le Chateaubriand, France
46.Le Cinq, Paris, France
47.Le Gavroche, London, UK
48.Le Louis XV, Monaco
49.Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons, Oxfordshire
50.Le Meurice, Paris, France
51.Le Quartier Français, Franschhoek, South Africa
52.Les Ambassadeurs, Paris, France
53.Les Creations de Narisawa, Japan
54.L'Hotel de Ville, Crissier, Switzerland
55.Manresa, Los Gatos, California
56.Martin Berasategui, San Sebastián, Spain
57.Masa, New York
58.Mathias Dahlgren, Sweden
59.Michel Bras, Laguiole, France
60.Mugaritz, San Sebastián, Spain
62.Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark
63.Oaxen Skärgårdskrog, Oaxen, Sweden
64.Osteria Francescana, Italy
65.Oud Sluis, Sluis, Netherlands
66.per se, New York, US
67.Pierre Gagnaire, Paris, France
68.Quay, Australia
69.Ristorante Cracco, Milan, Italy
70.River Café, London, UK
71.Rockpool, Sydney, Australia
72.Spice Market, New York
73.St John, London, UK
74.Steirereck, Vienna, Austria
75.Taillevent, Paris, France
76.Tantris, Munich, Germany
77.Tetsuya's, Sydney, Australia
78.The Cliff, Barbados
79.The Fat Duck, Bray, Berkshire
80.The French Laundry, Yountville, California
81.The Gallery at Sketch, London
82.The Ivy, London
83.The Waterside Inn, Bray-on-Thames, UK
84.The Wolseley, London
85.Tom Aikens, London
86.Troisgros, Roanne, France
87.Urasawa, Los Angeles, US
88.Vendome, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany
89.Yauatcha, London

If u have to pick who will be the top, may be Chef Ferran Adria's El Bulli??

Monday, July 06, 2009 7:36:00 AM  
Blogger weezermonkey said...

I'm old, Kevin! I've been an attorney for eight years, and I still don't feel comfy dining like you do. ;)

Monday, July 06, 2009 8:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Jai Kohli said...

I have a lot of affection for Chez Pannise, having gone to school at Berkeley. But honestly, in no way, shape or form does it deserve such a lofty ranking (unless you factor in their cultural importance... but still...)

Monday, July 06, 2009 2:32:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

dhkm: California-South: Urasawa; California-North: French Laundry; Colorado: Mizuna; New York: Per Se; Nevada: Joël Robuchon; Illinois: Alinea; North Carolina: Ratcliffe on The Green; Wisconsin: L'Etoile; Washington DC: Citronelle (pre-blog).

I've hit all of the places on the list that are in the US, save for Daniel. I do plan to travel internationally to experience the best the world has to offer. El Bulli is probably number one on my list, not necessarily because I think it's the best, but because nearly everyone else thinks so.

Sharon: You just need to be desensitized then. ;)

Jai: I think that "impact on modern gastronomy" must factor in. If we just look at food, I don't think that it quite makes the cut.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009 1:52:00 AM  
Blogger Kung Food Panda said...

Kevin, with your recent post of the 2 Robuchon's, Bar Charlie and Guy Savoy, you're gonna bankrupt me when I visit Vegas next....

That said, the first two dishes (caviar and tomato) looked fantastic. I don't know how the line cook, sous chef or whomever had the time to make those dots one by one...

Tuesday, July 07, 2009 7:56:00 AM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Danny, so what's on your list for your next trip to Vegas?

As for those dots, you know that it was some young chef charged with that arduous task!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009 2:58:00 AM  
Blogger Kung Food Panda said...

I do want to hit up either Guy Savoy or Robuchon (since my dining crew might not enjoy spending over $600 on 2 dinners)......I take you prefer Guy Savoy over Robuchon now??

Ya, it's probably some poor HS kid trying to make it into this business in charge of the dots. LOL

Wednesday, July 08, 2009 7:59:00 AM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

I don't necessarily prefer Savoy over Robuchon. It was just that I didn't get to fully savor this last experience here. Savoy exceeded expectations, but said expectations were lower to begin with.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009 5:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Andrés A. said...

Kevin Claude wrote "With all my sympathy" No doubt Robuchon is Great but the food step down just a little

Saturday, August 01, 2009 6:43:00 PM  
Blogger Rich said...


i'm going to las vegas in september for a class reunion. it seems that we won't be dining at robuchon (i think we are going to aureole). but i want to check the place out regardless. i know the proper way to experience robuchon is to do the degustation. but do you think it's worth sneaking in either early or late at night to do some a la carte? any particular dishes i should try? is the place friendly to solo diners?

Friday, August 07, 2009 9:19:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Robuchon is definitely worth checking out; however, I'd really recommend the full degustation if you're going to do it. Otherwise, you might be better served next door at L'Atelier. If you insist however, make sure to get La Grenouille (frog's leg). Robuchon is fine for solo diners though; I had to go by myself last time.

Saturday, August 08, 2009 4:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Dan Wodarcyk said...

I finally had the opportunity to dine at Joel Robuchon the other night. You mentioned some dishes on the menu did match your 2nd visit. Epic certainly summarizes the experience. Highlights for me: starting off with the caviar on a fennel cream atop crabmeat (maybe a better starter than the salmon tartare at FL); Carpaccio of Foie Gras; Les Crustaces, which included the roasted lobster with green curry, uni and mashed potato with Blue Mtn. coffee (best dish of the night??) and his signature truffled langoustine ravioli (2nd best dish of the night??); and the Le Bar, pan fried sea bass with lemongrass. I wasn't blown away by the veal, lacking in flavor, and wished that there had been an additional meat dish, similar to the bone marrow you had. Only other minor issue was that the sommelier didn't take as much time as I would have liked to describe his pairings and he did not check back to pair something with dessert. This is minor and I did not speak up because I was frankly enjoying myself perfectly, but a detail that should not go unnoticed in a place of this caliber. The mignardises cart was stellar. Overall, so glad I experienced it!

Off topic, but also had the best Thai experience of my life at Lotus of Siam. Curious if you've been.

Thursday, November 19, 2009 8:45:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Thanks for the update Dan! We did have a few of the same dishes. The foie gras sounds good; I wish I had that. But interestingly, your favorite, the uni with mashed potato, was one of the weakest dishes for me! In any case, I'm glad you had a good time there.

As for Lotus of Siam, nope, I haven't been, though I certainly would like to sometime. I've heard that their wine selection is quite a sight to behold

Thursday, November 19, 2009 11:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Dan Wodarcyk said...

Failed to mention the presence of fresh, shaved white truffle through many dishes. In season now of course. Including the foie, a bit on the mushrooms, the frog legs and the chestnut cream. I'm forgetting one. More than I've ever had in my life!

(Off topic) Yes, the wine list at Lotus is comparable to what you might find at a 2 star Michelin. A mighty surprise within a drab strip mall in Vegas. I enjoyed a fine Spatlese.


Friday, November 20, 2009 7:56:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Ah, I'm sure that the use of white truffle would've elevated my meal even further. I guess next time I need to go during the winter months!

Sunday, November 22, 2009 4:42:00 PM  
Blogger Jennifer @ WanderingSeoul said...

I heard that you can sample every bread from the bread cart. Would that be unwise if I were to order the longest desgustation menu? :p

Thursday, August 12, 2010 5:12:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Yes, you can have every bread from the bread cart, and every candy from the candy cart. You won't be able to finish everything though if you get the $385 menu!

Friday, August 13, 2010 1:39:00 AM  
Blogger Jennifer @ WanderingSeoul said...

Ah I see. Assuming I'm on a budget, would your recommend the degustion/seasonal menu at L'atlier de Joel Robuchon, or a few items a la carte at Joel Robuchon plus the bread and candy carts?

Btw there was a decadent cheese cart when my friend visited JR!

Friday, August 13, 2010 6:39:00 PM  
Blogger Jennifer @ WanderingSeoul said...

Oh! I'm traveling to Taipei this November and there's a good chance I might visit the Salon haha.

Friday, August 13, 2010 6:40:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

On a budget, go for the tasting menu at Atelier--it'll probably be more satisfying. The only way to go at Joel Robuchon proper is the 16-course.

Friday, August 13, 2010 7:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In French "Sympathie" is like "empathy" in Engish. It is a not invasive,formal way of saying with "best feeling or wishes."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 4:33:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Very good. Thanks for the translation!

Friday, March 25, 2011 3:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Cinderella11pm said...

Just had the 16 course vegetarian tasting menu last week. My parents had the regular tasting menu.
It was all extrordinarily good.

MUCH Better then L'atelier was in London!

Saturday, October 08, 2011 1:36:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

I never considered the veggie tasting there, but it seems like an intriguing option; was it better than the regular degustation?

I know Robuchon himself was at the restaurant recently; did you catch him?

Thursday, October 13, 2011 1:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kevin, for the full degustation, do I have to starve the entire day in order to finish it???


Monday, November 14, 2011 1:02:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Wilson, I'm not sure of your capacity, but for me, "starving" isn't quite necessary. I'd definitely do a smaller breakfast and lunch, or skip one of those altogether.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 1:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks! I will be dining December 11th. Will let you know how it goes!


Friday, November 18, 2011 8:43:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

Wilson, can you report back to us?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 12:27:00 AM  

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