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AmyH

Bradley Ogden

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Wanted to report on a great meal at Bradley Ogden. If you only care about what we ate and drank, you'll have to scroll down past the setup/avoidance of disaster by fantastic General Manager John Cronin, that I shall now recite.

The Set Up

We were going to LV to celebrate husband's 40th. After consulting egulleteers, decided on Bradley Ogden and in particular, the tasting menu (recommended by Foodiegirl?). I called the week before and spoke directly with a hostess in the restaurant. Conversation went something like this -- we have a reservation for next saturday eveining at nine and want to know about availability of a tasting menu. She - I see your reservation, let me go back to the kitchen and check. music, music. She - there are two choices: 7 course with bison and 9 course with kobe beef. 7 course is 135, 9 course is 175. Me -- we want to do the 7 course. She -- let me check. music, music. She- OK, no problem, just tell them when you arrive. Me - are you SURE we don't need to tell you now. She. No, just tell your server. (you see where this is going, don't you).

Saturday night -

Sit down, menus closed. waiter arrives, we want the 7 course tasting menu. Told that it is not possible . .it is Saturday night, Elton John letting out in a 1/2 hour, too crowded . . .

Me- Very unhappy and displeased. I explain the above conversation. He goes back to the kitchen. Husband is convinced only bad can come of this . .spitting in food or worse. Waiter comes back, cannot be done. Let me send over the manager. whisper, whisper. Along comes one John Cronin, the General Manager.

I explain that I tried my best to "do the right thing" and order in advance. Cronin asks to join us at the table. Apologizes for the confusion, whips out a pen and piece of paper and begins to write down courses -- he's what we can do . .he has written down the 7 course tasting menu (as best I can tell) and a price lower than that quoted on the phone. Mutual apologies all around . . I'm sorry to be a pain, no we're sorry this happened to you . . husband starts breathing and stops worrying about potential food poisoning.

We go on to have an incredible meal with incredible service. All is well, no dirty looks, recrimination. It is over the top attentiveness and eventually Bradley comes out to visit another table and comes by to introduce himself to the pains in the a--es that ordered the tasting menu on a Saturday night. He sits down, chats, nice as could be . .

The food

Treane Cenral Coast Viognier

-Maytag Blue Cheese Souffle with crumbled maytag, candied walnuts, cubed pieces of quince, blood orange, grapefruit swirls on the plate. Signature dish going back to Lark Creek Inn. As we discovered with the rest of the meal (with the exception of a few misguided foams), this is not "cutting edge" cuisine, it does not come with directions a la Fera or Grant Achatz, it does not even necessarily combine unique or unusual flavors (no white pepper ice cream or pumpkin like at Mugaritz). It is simply, exquisitely prepared and presented food using the best ingredients that California has to offer. I don't offer this as an apology or negative, but an observation of what to expect at Bradley Ogden.

-Dungeness crab with exotic mushroom flan in fish broth garnished with cilantro and lemongrass. OK, I guess I should retract the statement above. This was very unique and it worked . flan floating in fish broth, heavy lemongrass flavor, small pieces of crab and japanese mushroom , don't know the variety.

-Artic char with celery root capellini and ginger foam. Foam was foamy but not very gingery. The intriguing thing about this dish was the celery root angel hair. I don't know how you would make it without coming up with a mushy mass, but this was individual, angel hair like strands of al dente celery root.

-fois gras two ways - perfectly sauteed and a quenelle of fois gras mousse. We both tasted a hint of blue cheese in the mousse that recalled the first course, but the waiter said it was fennel.. Served with balsamic onion confiture and a split glass of Andrew Ridge Central Coast Late Harvest Gewurtzimener. Wine was good but I would have prefered a Sauterne (we let the waiter talk us ouf of a glass of sauterne and into the Ridge, so no one to blame)

-sea bass sauteed with rutubaga and yellow potatoes . . nothing noted here

- S. dakota bison tenderlon with red/orange beets and quenelles of whipped potatoes. The top side of the bison is perfectly pin and tender. The bottom is pan seared to a carmelized crsut that locked in all the flavor and juices. Extraordinary flavor.

We are drinking a 2000 Burgess Merlot that we brought with us.

-Incredible cheese course - eight domestic cheeses, triple creams, monton, aged cheddar, aged cows milk. An incredible cheese plate.

Lots and lots of desserts

Any questions?

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I probably did recommend the tasting menu. OH my..sounds like the manager saved the evening for you!!! Glad it all worked out.

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AmyH and Foodie-Girl, your experiences at Bradley Ogden convinced me to finally join e-gullet, so I could share with fellow enthusiasts. I hope this contribution isn’t too long, but I think the details of the story really explain the greatness of the restaurant.

My first experience in Bradley Ogden in October 2003 started with a lost reservation. Even though I specifically told the hostess the name of the person I spoke with at the time of the reservation (not working that evening), the restaurant was full at my reservation time. Regardless, my wife and I were offered seats at the bar, and an opportunity for a table after the Celine crowd left for the show.

A little miffed, but anxious to try the blue cheese souffle, we sat down, and were warmly greeted by the bartender. During cocktails we discussed the restaurant; the lost reservation; and, the S.F., L.A., and Vegas food scenes. Meanwhile, Bradley Ogden walked by, and the bartender specifically called him over to meet us. Bradley invited us to the kitchen after dinner.

We were then introduced to John Cunin, the manager. After a few minutes of food conversation, we were seated in a nice booth in the front room.

Dinner was great: Blue cheese souffle, frogs legs, fish with pineapple (can’t remember the name of the fish), and desert. The service was professional, but in a very pleasant laid back way, without being too casual.

After dinner, we were given a full tour of the restaurant, including the kitchen, back room, and the private dining areas. The kitchen itself looks like its 2000 square feet; the prep kitchen looked bigger than some of my past apartments. Once in the kitchen, Bradley warmly greeted us again, and gave us a personal tour of the entire kitchen. We were also introduced to Bradley’s wife, Jody.

Bradley explained that with the exception of the blue cheese souffle and caesar salad, the entire menu may change depending on the availability of the majority ingredients from his Sonoma farmers [notwithstanding South Dakota Bison and pineapples].

We left very happy.

Approximately one month later, I decided to ask the restaurant for a tasting menu for my 30-something birthday in December. I e-mailed John. John wrote back that he would talk to Brad. After a few e-mails and phone calls, everything was set.

The day before, I received a personal phone call from Bradley explaining that he could not cook dinner, because he had to back to Northern California. Bradley’s son, Brian, would be in charge.

After intentionally arriving after the Celine crowd, John guided us to a fantastic booth in the back room, and handed us personalized menus. I was already impressed with the personal phone call from Bradley, but this was a really great extra touch from John.

The room is attractively modern in decor (the one picture at Caesars palace’s web-site really doesn’t do justice). Our waiter, Lomberto, was friendly, attentive, and an absolute pro. The decor and service of this restaurant conveys a sense of graciousness and comfort that I cannot otherwise explain.

The menu: Iranian Golden Osetra citrus-creme fraiche & Potato croquette; Peekytoe crab with hearts of palm, and red onion cracker; blue cheese souffle with quince puree and wild watercress; foie gras with pomegranate seeds and butternut squash; Virginia wild striped bass with braised iceberg lettuce in a Meyer lemon sauce; bison tenderloin with root vegetable pave, red wine essence; Bartlett pear sorbet, fuji apple salad and 50 year old agro dolce; and a plate full of desserts. We started with my bottle of Comte Audoin de Dampierre, then ordered by the glass for the remaining courses.

Caviar: a great variation on blinis and creme fraiche. I’m not a caviar connoisseur, but this Osetra tasted better than any other caviar I previously tasted.

Crab Cake: very fresh tasting, and a nice light follow up to the caviar, and transition to the heavier courses.

The blue cheese souffle, and foie gras speak for themselves. The garnish on the souffles varied this time (watercress this time; figs the first time). The acidity and fruitiness of the pomegranate complemented the richness of the foie gras, without actually overwhelming the delicate flavors. The butternut squash provided a nice foundation of flavor.

The bass was crispy on the outside and tender on the outside (perfect). The distinct flavors of the Meyer lemon (I have a tree, so I’m partial), and cooked lettuce provided a nice variation from the typical spray of lemon on a piece of fish, sitting on a bed of “greens.”

Tenderloins are not my favorite cut, and bison is even leaner than beef, but I was curious to try it. The preparation was great, and the sauce accompaniment definitely enhanced the mild flavors well, but I think I’ll substitute Kobe/Wagyu steak next time (just a matter of personal preference). Drank this with a glass of Pine Ridge Merlot (vintage?).

Deserts were good, but I can’t remember the individual items.

The evening was capped off by a visit from Caesar, Cleopatra, and the pretorian guard. I couldn’t resist taking a picture with them, which now sits with my copy of the menu.

In follow up to AmyH’s comments, the “new American/California” menu is definitely not dedicated to the “cutting edge,” relative to the current fusion trends (the Dungeness crab dish exception noted), but it is by no means static or passe. Restaurants emphasizing fresh, premium quality ingredients combined with outstanding preparation will definitely continue to maintain their relevancy. I love the mandatory creative dynamic of the menu based on the seasonal availability of ingredients.

For what its worth, however, Bradley Ogden is keeping up with the some of the food trends. My food friends tell me that sauteed lettuce (maybe the new fried spinach) and bison are showing up more frequently on menus. I’ve personally tasted at least three fruit with foie gras combinations this last year alone. Fortunately, when my wife and I have a taste for more unusual/cutting edge fair, we have Sona and the Ritz Carlton Huntington hotel dining room (chef Craig Strong) available locally.

Whether you do the tasting menu or regular dinner, I would definitely recommend starting AFTER the Celine crowd leaves. The kitchen gets a chance for a breather from the pre-theater rush, and the service will inevitably be better. Even if you stay later, the post-theater dinner crowd (after 9:30-10:00) seemed to only fill the place half-way.

I can’t wait to return soon, and hopefully try that crab, mushroom flan dish, and/or other creative dishes appearing on the menu.

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sand-

welcome to egullet and thanks for your great post. It is a little ironic that they still have not been able to train the front of the house to properly take reservations and explain the need for a reservation for the tasting menu -- I wish I had a copy of our tasting menu, but it turned out to be scrawled on a tiny piece of paper by John.

I endorse your recommendation about timing of dinner. Again, another mix-up on their part. When I made the reservation, I very specifically told them that we would NOT be attending the Elton John show and that we wanted to make it for a time when the kitchen would be more relaxed. The reservationist suggested 9:10 -- I assumed the show started at 8 and that this made good sense -- we learned, of course, that the show starts at 7:30, lasts about 90 minutes and that 9:00 could not have been a worse time for a reservation for a special dinner.

I also agree that the food, while not aggressively "cutting edge" -- for that, anyone reading this should check out the post with pictures on the Heartland website of the TDF at Trio -- was perfectly executed, an homage to fresh local produce and full of creativity. For me, a very much appreciated bonus is the knowledge that while many other chefs have come and gone (or not come at all which may be the case with Keller and Bouchon -- too busy concentrating on Per Se), Ogden has made a highly visible committment to the restaurant that bears his name. Although there are many other opportunities for fine dining in LV for sure, the next time I return, I will return to Bradley Ogden.

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Thanks for the welcome AmyH.

I totally agree with your point about the presence of Bradley Ogden on the premises. I'm definitely partial to the restaurants that are either based in LV (fx: Stratta at Renoir), or where the namesake really makes an effort. The restaurant staff, and Bradley himself, made quite a point about his presence on the premises. In all fairness, I think some out of the state based establishments (but not all) have hired great chefs, and/or run great places (fx: Le Cirque and Aqua).

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Any other recent reviews of Bradley Ogden?

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To all that posted above

Do you recall the meal cost, or more specifically, the cost of the tasting menu?

Many thanks. :biggrin:

Mark


Edited by boris (log)

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I was there in August...but recall that it was about $400 for the two of us. That was with the tasting menu and sharing a bottle of wine ($90).

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I was quoted $135 for the 7 course and $175 for the 9 course, which would have included the Kobe beef. Although these prices may sound high for tasting menus, given the prices on the a la carte menu with many appetizers in the $20's and main courses in the $40-50 range, in my opinion the tasting menus are the way to go. The portions for each tasting course were quite ample.

Perhaps someone else can comment on the wine prices -- we brought one bottle with us and they did not charge the corkage fee. All I can say is that, unlike at Aureole and some other places, the wine list prices did not jump off the page as being stunningly outrageous.

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Husband and I had dinner at Bradley Ogden on Monday night. No tasting menu available (but I didn't call in advance).

I had the lamb chop and my husband had the ribeye, both of which were cooked perfectly (the char on the meat was shockingly perfect). However, the highlight of the night was the foie gras three ways. Seared and a mousse as described in the initial post along with some sort of gelee (my apologies -- I can't recall the exact description). Without a doubt, the best foie gras I've ever had, for any of the 3 preparations.

I'd recommend it in a heartbeat and am looking forward to a return trip.

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Nine Course Dinner Report (my apologies in advance that I can’t remember every single detail of the menu).

Iranian Golden Osetra Caviar Club Sandwich with Herb Puree

Sandwiched between blue corn blinis, and minced hard boiled egg. An unexpected combination of ingredients complementing the taste of the caviar.

Trio of Crab: Cantonese Soft Shell; Pineapple Jalapeno Shooter; New England Crab Cake with Avocado

--New England crab cake: Browned exterior, tender inside, layered with avocado.

--The Cantonese soft shell was perfectly seared and placed on top of a bed of vegetables.

--The pineapple jalapeno shooter was an absolutely amazing balance of the three main ingredients. The sweetness and mild acidity of the pineapple balanced the spiciness of the jalapeno, while neither overpowered the crab. This was a great demonstration of creativity and control.

Marinated Line Caught Salmon

Marinated in Tanqueray No. 10

Wild caught salmon and Tanqueray No. 10 are always welcome at my table. Besides the thought of the all horrible artificial colorings, etc. feed to farm raised salmon, I personally prefer wild caught salmon because of the more distinct flavor. Served raw, the gin provided a dry note to the richness of the fish.

Asparagus Soup

One piece of shrimp tempura placed in the bowl surrounded by the flavorful soup. My wife really enjoyed the elegance and subtlety of this dish.

Maytag Blue Cheese Souffle

Served with black cherries, candied walnuts, and pieces of blue cheese. This dish speaks for itself.

Foie Gras Two Ways

A foie gras course without fruit (there were two small pieces of nectarine in the middle of the plate, but I won’t count them as integral ingredients). I love fruit and foie gras (blueberry, pineapple, pomegranate, rhubarb), but this combination broke away from some of the current trends, and took a lot of thought to put together (I wish I had a more complete ingredient list).

a) Foie gras mousse: Placed on top of a balsamic reduction and minced almonds.

Don’t recall tasting any fennel in this version of the mousse (see AmyH post). The sweetness of the almonds (a slightly sweet top note to counter the savory bottom notes) really completed this dish for me. Once again, the balance of ingredients created a great synergy of flavors.

b) Seared foie gras: Placed on top of caramelized onions.

An alternative savory preparation. I personally found the onions a bit overpowering when eaten with the foie gras, otherwise wonderfully prepared individual ingredients.

Jackfish

Spring Onion, Breakfast Radish, Sunchoke Puree

Mild, but meaty fish, browned exterior served on top of the vegetables and puree.

Triple Seared Kobe

Summer Truffle, Lasagna, Sweet Corn & Favas

I had never tried Kobe/Wagyu before this dinner, and don’t what grade of meat was served (I understand there are 12 grades). The triple searing yielded a charred exterior, and uniformly rare interior (outstanding preparation). I’m sure the searing process is completed in stages in order to preserve as much of the richness as possible. I love the application of heat to rich meats and fish. Something about the circulation of the fat that really enhances the flavor of the meat (similar to seared toro).

The lasagna was a nice combination of sweet corn with the earthy flavors of the fava beans and summer truffle. A very unusual counterpoint to the beef.

This dish was served with a 2001 Three Rivers Winery Syrah.

Sorbet

Boysenberry, Strawberry-Lavender Shooter, Blue Basil Foam

Bitter Sweet Chocolate Financiere

Three great chocolate desserts.

Conclusion

This dinner was more than the sum of its parts. The dinner was presented as nine courses, but in reality, the variable tastes within the courses constituted mini-tasting menus within themselves.

My thanks to manager John Cunin, and Bradley Ogden.

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mmmmmmmmmm,,,,soundssoooo good,,,,were going in 2 weeks and i cant wait! :wink:

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Thought I would add to this existing post that my husband and I had a great experience at Bradley Ogden this week. It was a pretty light meal, no tasting extravaganzas, but everything was excellent. This included:

starters:

crab fritters served with gazpacho, the soup was poured over the fritters.

maytag blue cheese souffles, though they were served differently than mentioned above, they were excellent!

main: bison tenderloin with double baked corn and cheese souffle. We shared this and both had a wonderful cut of tenderloin and the souffle was fantastic!

dessert: a great strawberry shortcake in a somewhat deconstructed format.

We loved the style of the place and the service was good. Our only question is how high can resaurants go with entree prices before they get ridiculous? The bison was $57, and while it was excellent, was it $20-30 better than other excellent dishes I've had? Maybe for a one time event, but that's hard to us repeat often. I guess that's another topic, though...

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We loved the style of the place and the service was good.  Our only question is how high can resaurants go with entree prices before they get ridiculous?  The bison was $57, and while it was excellent, was it $20-30 better than other excellent dishes I've had?

I've been to BO once and will go again when we visit LV in Oct.

I know what you mean about sticker shock! When I went last time I decided I might as well spend my blackjack winnings on the full-blown tasting menu as ordering a lacarte was not going to be much of a bargain... :blink:

Glad you had a good time...!

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We loved the style of the place and the service was good.  Our only question is how high can resaurants go with entree prices before they get ridiculous?  The bison was $57, and while it was excellent, was it $20-30 better than other excellent dishes I've had?

I know what you mean about sticker shock! When I went last time I decided I might as well spend my blackjack winnings on the full-blown tasting menu as ordering a lacarte was not going to be much of a bargain... :blink:

Relative to other very high quality LV strip hotel restaurants, Bradley Ogden's prices are within the range of others (about $10-$20 higher than what prices should be, in my opinion). Nevertheless, comparisons with other geographic locations are difficult. Las Vegas is very good at detaching people from the value of their money. This does not justify the prices, but the market support is there for now.

In defense of Bradley Ogden, however, Bradely has previously stated that the cost of ingredient transportation adds about 20%. I would rather give my money to a great restaurant like Bradley Ogden, than pay the same or more money for the mediocre food served at other "high end" restaurants. Plus, equivalent dishes (like blue cheese souffle) are not conveniently available in my hometown, so I don't mind paying a little extra for the creativity and skill of the proprietor.

As a side note, I wonder what the other Bradley Ogden restaurants charge for the same dishes.

The tasting menu is definitely a better bargain. The seven course runs either $125 or $135, which includes the bison, plus portions of other $10+ appetizers and $30+ entrees. I understand they've added a five course dinner as well, but I don't know the price.

More sticker shock to come soon--Guy Savoy at Caesars, and Steven Wynn's new hotel in 2005.


Edited by sand (log)

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The tasting menu is definitely a better bargain. The seven course runs either $125 or $135, which includes the bison, plus portions of other $10+ appetizers and $30+ entrees. I understand they've added a five course dinner as well, but I don't know the price.

More sticker shock to come soon--Guy Savoy at Caesars, and Steven Wynn's new hotel in 2005.

In March when I ate at B.O. I did, indeed have the 7-course tasting menu. Portion sizes were perfect and it was a great way to part with a few hundred dollars. (I met a friend for that trip and when we split the check I recall it being about $200 each).

As for Steve Wynn's newest hotel...OH YEAH...I can't wait for the reservation lines to open. It will be expensive, I'm sure, but I'm a big fan of his imagination!

Bellagio was open but a month when I celebrated my birthday there with 21 friends! It rocked and made turning 50 something to really look forward to.....

:blink:

I'll have to read-up on Guy Savoy...not familiar.

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