Meats Don’t Clash – Las Vegas Edition

1 Mar

We love traveling with Mike and Kim because we have the same food philosophy.  Which is that we like it.  And that the weekend revolves around it.  (We love traveling with Mike and Kim because they are our dear friends, too, but anyway, my mind was on food for a second.  Shocking.)

So we did Vegas with Mike and Kim last weekend and it was a lot of fun.  Las Vegas is maybe not our first-choice vacation spot, but it is the perfect place to plan a trip around food.  In Vegas, choose by chef – literally all the great ones are there.  Michael Mina, Mario Batali, Joel Robuchon, Laurent Tourondel, Thomas Keller, Bobby Flay.  This is no joke.

On Friday night, we did Joel Robuchon’s L’Atelier.  Abe and I had been to L’Atelier in Paris for lunch and loved it.  But, in Paris, we had a noon reservation coming directly off of a red-eye.  So we were excited to do it again – this time for dinner, and without jet lag.

L’Atelier (similar decor in Paris and Vegas) is a striking space.  It is dimly lit with a very-red hue and red accents.  The stainless steel kitchen makes up a large part of the dining room and is entirely exposed, for a beautiful, stylized effect. The food was outstanding.  The quality of every ingredient easily matched the French L’Atelier and the presentation of each dish was lovely.

To begin with, the bread was out of this world.  Warm crusty rolls and literally unforgettable croissants.  We were obsessed.   

For our meal, we did a 9-course tasting menu.  We started with an asparagus and cucumber bite drizzled with pure olive oil and some greens and radishes.  All served on a stone.  Light and delicious.Our second course is hard for me to talk about.  This is the only course I did not care for.  I liked it after the first bite.  But I could barely swallow it by the end.  It was something like cold beef cheeks wrapped in cold foie gras sitting in cold beef jelly.  With Wasabi cream, maybe.  In a glass tea cup.  Ugh.  Slightly traumatizing.  Good thing right about the time I was having a mental breakdown, Mike taught me that “meats don’t clash.”  (Credit for this – and many other hilarious quotations – goes to one of his teammates from his professional baseball days.)  Funniest quote ever.  I died.  PS: So not true.  Some meats clearly clash.

Here’s Mike listing meats that don’t clash.  Ha.  Just kidding.Thankfully the next thing we ate was the single most amazing scallop I have ever had.  I generally do not like scallops.  This was delicious.  It was prepared simply – caramelized with some greens and a light broth.  Sweet, light, perfect texture.  Between this and Mike’s joke, we’re starting to forget about the situation in the tea cup above.Next was a vanilla poached crab leg with a green pepper and onion salad.  It was lemony and light.  And it looked like a present.  Love.The next course was simple, but one of my favorites.  Sautéed asparagus wrapped in a homemade pasta and crusted with parmesan.  There was a rich beef broth drizzled over the dish for a salty touch.I was not excited about the Dover Sole course, but figured I could pass it on to Abe without anyone noticing.  It was actually delicious.  Not fishy at all.  Firm and flaky and dressed perfectly with baby spring onions and micro-chives (oh yeah).  There were some fried onions on top for crunch, too.  A surprisingly great dish.For our final savory course, we had the option of quail or steak.  I chose quail.  It was stuffed with foie gras and came with a puree of potatoes that was heavenly. Abe and Mike chose the steak, which was amazing, too. And Kim ate her first (tiny) bite of meat in years.  Good time to make an exception.      For dessert, we had this beautiful, suspended vanilla-and-rosewater, icy, layered thing.  The plate was covered in edible gold.  Amazing.This was followed by a sweet chocolate flower with some chocolate cake layers and more gold. Our entire meal was paired perfectly with different wines – though I missed most of the descriptions, per usual.  I am not number one at listening to oral presentations.  I’m not even number two at that.It was a (nearly) perfect meal.  And here’s the Michelin Star (Joel Robuchon has many) to prove it.

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