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cbarre02

Joel Robuchon - Las Vegas - Mansion & L'Atelier

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Hello all. This is my first post here and I'm very excited to add another voice to the discussions on Egullet.

I thought I'd share some thoughts on the experience my wife and I had on a recent visit to L'Altelier since our interest was piqued by many of the posts here. First of all, the space is visually stunning. The open kitchen and the interaction with the staff made for a very unusual and exciting experience. However, I was surprised to find that the restaurant wasn't more sheltered from the casino floor. The glass door to the casino was left open through much of our dinner and the noise and smoke spilled in, to the detriment of the experience. I understand that Vegas is about gambling first and foremost, but to have no significant seperation between the dining room and the slot machines was a bit off putting.

We both opted for the tasting menu and, after discussing the wine list with our server, decided on a nice Oregon Pinot which he highly reccomended, only to discover they had just sold the last bottle. We ended up taking our servers advice and spending a bit more on a very nice Burgundy, although we were both dissapointed that there was no suggestion of offering at the same price as his earlier selection. However, the bread soon arrived and that went a long way towards appeasing us. The bread was simply fabulous. I could have made due with bread, wine and butter and been totally satisfied. To an extent, I wish I had.

We were soon into our tasting menus and to be honest, we were both underwhellemed. The cucumber glele amuse was interesting, if unspectacular. This was followed by a very tasty roquette salad gaspacho.

The third course was asparagus with King crab salad and sea urchin dressing and was a downright letdown. Subtle flavors are one thing, bland another. This dish lacked any bright flavors or highlights and came across as a bit of an afterthought. Very dissapointing. Also, by this time in our service, new dishes were coming before the prior course had been cleared. We ended up needing to pass our empty plates to our server to make room for the following course. Frankly, at this level, I expect the servers to clear my plate for me. Again, not a huge deal, but dissapointing.

The oyster course that followed was well executed and the egg cocotte was as good as advertised earlier in this thread. We enjoyed the slightly smoked salmon which was served with a very light watercress dressing.

For our "main courses" my wife selected the quail stuffed with foie gras which was terrific, as were the truffled-mashed potatoes that accompanied it. I ordered the confit of duck "parmentier" which I was shocked to discover was served with the exact same mushrooms as were served with the egg cocotte. I really found it baffling that flavors would be repeated just two courses apart in a menu that was otherwise so cleverly planned (if not concieved.)

The deserts which followed were nice, though not memorable and, by the time coffe was offered, most of the other diners around us were fielding cell phone calls so we decided to call it a night. All in all, after tax and tip and one bottle of wine, the tab came to over $500. To be perfectly frank, I would have been uncomfortable paying half that much had I known in advance what the experience would be like. Between the noise from casino, the bussing our own plates and the very odd choice of paper placemats (a minor detail, but come on, paper placemats?) I'm left with a very poor memory of what I hoped would have been a very special meal. To be fair, some of the dishes were as good as advertised, but on the whole, I really don't think that L'Altelier lived up the the Robuchon name.

Apologies for such a long winded first post, but I really felt that my experience, while perhaps unique, might add a little something to the discussion here. And again, it's great to be on board.

Eric

[edited for clarity]


Edited by EricB (log)

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We were in last Wednesday and the service was extremely attentive, to the point of answering all my food ingredient and procedure questions to the extent of the sous vide temperatures that were used.

Although I will agree with you that a few of the courses were lacking in robust flavours (crab and asparagus), once the foie stuffed quail came out, all was forgiven.

That was an amazing dish.

Pictures to follow.

Edited to answer someone's query above about the price of the tasting menu...$125.00 per.


Edited by Chef Metcalf (log)

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They may paper, but we thought it suited the casual atmosphere.

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Chilled gazpacho with croutons

The tomato flavour was as intense as the smell of a freshly picked tomato from the garden.

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Green asparagus with King crab salad and sea urchin dressing.

I agree that this one was a little underwelming and I never didn't get any taste of sea urchin in the dressing.

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Poached baby kussi oysters with French Echire salted butter

I can still taste the butter, and the oysters were sweet and fresh. :) But I would have enjoyed this dish more if I didn't have to detach the oysters from the shell myself (sorry, but I have a strong aversion to any sort of food prep at the table while dining out unless I'm in a much more casual place).

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It was great to be close up to watch the action in the kitchen with this sort of a dinner. As I said upthread, the service from our waiter and the serveral other members of the staff, including the sous chef, who brought round courses for us and answered numerous food related questions was topnotch.

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Egg cocotte topped with a light mushroom cream sauce

Amazingly soft, creamy and lucious. If they were open for breakfast we would have been waiting at the door.

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Slightly smoked salmon served warm with watercress dressing

I enjoyed the way the peppery watercress played off the smokiness of the salmon.

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Free-range quail stuffed with foie gras and served with truffled-mashed potatoes

Okay, this one was our absolute favourite. It's now on our top ten list and if we went back we would order the dinner sized portion ($25.00 small plate, as seen above, or $45.00 for the dinner sized portion roughly twice the size).The quail is marinated in a soy and garlic combination, then the foie is done separately sous vide, then stuffed in the marinated quail, then sous vide to finish. The sauce had a perfect hint of the soy garlic flavours. Truffled-mashed potatoes were as rich and decandent as you would imagine.

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Strawberries flavoured with basil, Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream.

I'm missing a picture of the dessert course prior to this which was an assortment of red fruits with tequilla sorbet. The Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream was perfect.

Many thanks for the head ups on this one nightscotsman.


Edited by Chef Metcalf (log)

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PS: I've written the following report before seeing that others have already described almost the exact same tasting menu (and with pictures!).

But I'll leave my notes as they are, even though it might a bit redundant.

--

We went to L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon on May 10th. It was a unique if somewhat mixed experience.

We arrived at 9:45 p.m., front desk lady who seated us was extremely nice and friendly, as was our waiter and everyone else with whom we had personal contact, including the chef who made a round later the evening. The seating at the "sushi-bar" is unusual, but we liked it, since it was something completely different for this kind of "fine dining" (only really negative point about the design of the place is the uncomfortable air/"wind" you constantly get from the large opened front door - this should not be the case in a restaurant like that...).

We took the "Discovery menu", which, according to the menu, consists of 9 courses. But it is only 8, really - because I refuse to count the "amuse" as a menu-course (and I find it pretty strange that Robuchon does so, since I cannot imagine him doing that in his european restaurants...).

So here we go:

L'AMUSE-BOUCHE

Cucumber gelee tarragon cream, cumin yogurt

Nice if unspectacular amuse. But nicely balanced exotic flavors and not to heavy.

LA ROQUETTE

Roquette salad gaspacho and tofu, black olive toast

Again: just nice. Would have been way better had it been more then the 3 teaspoons we got - because a gaspacho, in my opinion, has to savored on larger spoons to really "fill" your mouth to give a real good impression of the taste and texture. (The teaspoons that are used at the Atelier are particulary bad, because they are way too "deep" which made it real difficult to get all the rather thick liquid out of them - a job that distracted even more from the tasting experience...). The excellent olive toast added some nice contrast in texture.

L'ASPERGE VERTE

Green asparagus with King crab salad and sea urchin dressing

That dish was a joke. Really. Out of the kitchen came a plate with 1 single asparagus on it. Accompanied by a few drops of dressing and some crab meat. It looked more like a satire of those tiny mid-80s nouvelle cuisine dishes...(Again I dare say that Robuchon would not dare to present such a ridiculous portion/bland dish to his customers in france. But I might be proven wrong...)

Oh yeah, the taste was, well, it was...okay...I mean...yes, sure....

At this point we started wondering if coming to the Atelier was a mistake - and if, at 125$ per menu, it would be possible that we leave the place hungry...

BUT then, to our great delight, the kitchen seemed to "start over"...

LES HUITRES

3 Poached baby kumamoto oysters with French "Echire” salted butter

Excellent, just simply excellent! Iam no great oyster fan, but this dish...wow! Never before have I eaten such good oysters. The butter and the natural "oyster water" kind of melted together to become a sauce that was so delicious..."Thats how oysters have to taste" was my initial enthusiastic thought. And it was such a "simple" dish that just focused on the excellent product and added just a tiny little something (the first rate butter) to turn it into something spectacular...

L'OUEF

Egg cocotte topped with a light mushroom cream and morel mushrooms

Again, a simply stunning dish in the style of Adria or Blumenthal! Words fail me to describe the experience. You have to try it yourself.

LE SAUMON

Slightly smoked salmon served warm with watercress dressing

And again: an unforgettbable dish, simple as it was, thanks to the amazing quality of the salmon - not to forget the 4 incredibly flavorful potato slices, which, unfortunately, very pretty tiny (again!).

Once again I thought: "That's exactly how salmon/potatos should taste".

LA CAILLE

Free-range quail stuffed with foie gras, and served with a truffled potato purée.

Very good, though very classical (and again very tiny) dish. The quail was of excellent quality, but the hudson valley foie gras (of which there was really not that much, as you can imagine...) was not as tasty as the one Iam used to from europe, I have to say. A very nice, deepening touch was the small mixed-herbs-salad that came as a side, though.

The truffled potato purée was very flavorful as well, but given the chefs focus on first rate products it surprised me that he seemingly didn't use (only) real truffles, but at least *added* truffle-oil (correct me if I'm wrong!).

Anyways a very pleasing dish.

LE MULTIVITAMINE

Assortment of red fruits, Tequila sorbet

Nothing special. The "assortment", as far as I remember, consisted only of raspberries. They were of excellent quality (as expected), but the sorbet didn't leave a lasting impression.

LA FRAISE

Strawberries, flavored with basil, Tahitian vanilla ice cream

Again an extremely simple, classical dish, prepared to tasty results, thanks to excellent product quality. (I expected a bit more, though, from the "flavored with basil" than a tiny leaf of basil plucked on top of the icecream...)

Summary:

I wouldn't want to miss the experience, for I had 3 unforgettable courses (oysters; salmon; egg)

But there were serious problems with the balance of the menu as a whole: a disappointing start and a disappointing finish: the 2 desserts, tasty as they were, were virtually the same thing in texture, temperatur and overall composition - I wonder what the chef thought, putting these 2 back to back. Especially since neither of them was very original: icecream with red berries...

The finish was all the more disappointing since we constantly saw other desserts coming out of the kitchen that looked far more interesting and daring. This might be just me, but if I order the "tasting" or "discovery (!) menu", I expect to be presented the most original and daring dishes the chef has to offer - not berries with ice cream (twice!), no matter how well prepared... In short: we felt a bit cheated at this moment.

Same feeling came from the manque of petit fours with the coffee, whereas other diners (who probably had ordered a la carte) seemed to get loads of them...very strange...(but I might be mistaken here).

And not to forget that the whole dinner was over pretty quick: we were in and out in way less than 2 hours.

So once again: I do not regret the experience at all, we had an extremely entertaining evening. And if the tasting menu was, say, 90$ I wouldn't complain.

But for 125$plus tax&tip I can get the tasting menu at the majority of the european michelin-3*-places, be seated and treated like royalty and dine for 3-4 hours (without getting the check right after finishing my coffee...).

But okay, this is not europe, this is las vegas, where everything is a bit more expensive...

So my advice is: if you go to the Atelier, take a good look at the tasting menu and the á la carte menu and exchange several dishes if you have a feeling that they could be "boring". This way you will most probably experience an unforgettable, if pretty short, evening...

--

(edited for clarity)


Edited by kai-m (log)

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We ate at both the Atelier and the formal dining room during our last visit to Las Vegas, and came away simply appalled by the Atelier (I actually carried the receipt for our meal around with me for several months to jog my memory for the excoriating post I was planning on writing).

In the interest of full disclosure, I had one of the two greatest meals of my life at Jamin in Paris, so my expectations may have been somewhat inflated. Neither restaurant comes close to that standard, but the formal dining room delivers an elegant and thoughtful (in some ways almost cerebral) experience that I would gladly repeat. Others have mentioned the curious practice of counting the amuse as one of the courses on the menu - I was also somewhat taken aback by this. Be forewarned that there are two dining areas with dramatically different settings - the main room is an absolutely lovely jewel box, but the garden room on the side is considerably less attractive (and actually somewhat humid on the night we were there due to all the foliage). I strongly recommend requesting a table in the main room when making reservations.

Back to the Atelier - we found our meal there to be a shockingly poor value. Prices and portions occasionally bordered on offensive, preparations were uneven in both concept and execution, and the novelty aspect of the counter setting wore off pretty quickly. I wish I'd followed through on my resolution to write this up while the meal was still fresh in my mind, but I can say that I will absolutely not return given the number of other choices available in LV (in a completely different vein, our meal at Rosemary's the next evening was dramatically more enjoyable at about half the price, even with a pricey bottle of Sea Smoke Pinot Noir).

It's great to have Chef Robuchon in the States - I suspect his goals and aesthetics have taken a different turn, but on a purely selfish level I hope that he someday finds a way to replicate the Jamin/Robuchon experience in one of his new establishments.

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It was with a more than slight sense of sadness but not outright dissatisfaction that I left my dinner at Joel Robuchon at The Mansion in Las Vegas this past weekend. This is because I had the pleasure of having dined at Jamin, Robuchon’s restaurant in Paris that was so acclaimed, and his follow-up venture, Robuchon, that opened in Paris when Jamin closed. Having eaten at these restaurants, eating at Robuchon at The Mansion was a bit like looking at a copy of a wonderful art masterpiece produced by a not so talented student.

The setting: The room seats something like 64 guests, and is both elegant but a bit tawdry in a Vegas style of elegance. There is a slight purple hue to the banquettes and walls that are underneath a large, elegant and somewhat gaudy chandelier. It really is well designed as a lovely, relaxing venue for a wonderful meal set right in the heart of Las Vegas.

The staff: The general manager was polite, friendly, professional and on top of things. When I informed him that my partner did not eat seafood and we had been told the chef could create a different tasting menu for him, the GM said, “Yes, we are prepared for that.” “Ah, they told you” I said (we had stopped in earlier in the day and one of the staff made note of this request.) “I know everything” he said with a polite, reassuring smile. The head waiter was polite, friendly without being familiar, and professional. Together, the GM and the head waiter made a wonderful team. The waiter was also very good, but made a few missteps along the way, for instance at one point clearing my plate while my partner was still eating his course. But overall, the staff is clearly at a *** level.

Other patrons: This is Las Vegas, after all. The menu out front states “jackets required” but the evening we were there, only about 1/3 to ½ of the gentleman dining were in jackets (no one in a suit but us, the other men wearing jackets all wore sport coats) and the rest were in shirtsleeves with one patron in a white t-shirt and blue jeans (his dining companion in shorts). Towards the end of the evening, a group of 6 persons came to dine, and upon seeing the petit fours cart between the entryway and the dining room, they descended upon the cart, picking up chocolates and dried apricots from the cart with their fingers, putting them in their mouths. Upon seeing this, our waiter excused himself from our table and proceeded over to advise them this was for later, between dessert and coffee.

The meal: For this dinner, my partner and I chose the 6 course menu, feeling the 18 course would be too much. The food was good but not great; fine but not outstanding or memorable. I felt the food was lacking in creativity and spark, too much a “paint by number” in an attempt to replicate recipes obviously given to the chef by M. Robuchon. As an example, my first course after an amuse was two large steamed green asparagus spears with oscetra caviar—a small canal had been carved into the stalk and the caviar placed therein. Since my companion did not eat seafood, the chef served him three steamed asparagus stalks sans caviar in place of the two I had been given. The lack of creativity was remarkable, to me, for a restaurant of this caliber. My next course was a lobster in a saffron bouillon. This was the course of the night for me. The lobster was perfectly cooked, and the bouillon rich with depth and layers of flavor. There was a thin piece of a toasted saffron chip (made of a thin, crispy substance—I’m not sure what) on top. The entire dish worked, and more than made up for the banal quality of the asparagus.

(Mention should be made of the bread cart, filled with many types of bread, from proper baguettes, to cheese brioche rolls, and various others; quite nice).

Next was a pan fried sea bass with a lemon grass foam and stewed baby leeks. Though the lemon grass foam was very nice, the fish was slightly overcooked and decidedly dry. The baby leeks were so tough (fortunately they were not overcooked but I had to struggle to cut them) that they required the larger knife to cut and provided an unpleasant chewiness to the more delicate fish. The dryness of the fish torpedoed the dish for me, unfortunately.

The courses were moving along at a fairly rapid clip, and I asked the waiter if he might “slow it down a bit.” “We just have the veal course and then dessert, but sure” he replied. Along came a sautéed veal chop, sweetbread with jus, morels and asparagus. The jus was very thin as a layer on the plate, and as the plate was brought to the table having been warmed, the thin layer dried very quickly, leaving a nice, tender and thin piece of veal on top of a dark, dried crust. The veal was very nice, but I felt the elements didn’t combine well into a great whole.

Though it was not on the menu, we asked if the restaurant had a cheese course, and the staff diligently brought a lovely cheese cart with beautiful epoisse, St. Nectaire, 5 different chevres, two blue cheeses, and two or three others. This was done quite well, though the cheeses were quite cold when served (“we don’t have many people ask for this because most order the 18 course menu and they don’t have room for cheese” the waiter said). The cheese course was quite nice once they warmed a bit.

Dessert was a raspberry gelee with raspberries and sake. "This is it?" my companion asked. "No, you'll see--this is before the main dessert." I had thought this was a prelude to a more complex dessert, as I distinctly recall at Robuchon’s restaurant in Paris, but it was not to be. This was the dessert; it was fine but not memorable. I had mistaken it for a palate cleanser.

I asked for tea, and a tray of many varieties of loose leaf tea was presented. I chose the Assam, and it was lovely, a nice way to end the night. The now infamous petit fours cart was brought, but by this point we were sated.

Wine list: Get out the black card for this one. A Rousseau Charmes Chambertin 1999 that currently sells for $77.00/bottle on winesearcher is on the list for over $400.00, and the more classic burgundies are listed at generally all over $1,000/bottle. A few Bordeaux are priced less, in the $300 range. The restaurant has about a dozen half bottles of white as well as red, and also magnums and some even larger format bottles, all at prices that require winning the lottery at the nearby casino.

Summary: Certainly a strong but, eventually uninspired, showing. The staff is talented and well trained. The chef seems to be following his instructions but without a spirit of creativity. I’m not sure how I would have reacted to the restaurant had I not experienced Robuchon’s cooking before, but having done so, this was an uninspired copy that did not replicate the original.

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Here is the link to my dinner post at Robuchon at the Mansion.

DutchMuse, while I'll still say that this dinner is the best meal I have ever had, I have never eaten at any of the other Robuchon restaurants. As I read your dining experience, I couldn't help wondering whether eating at one of his Paris restaurants would be so much better.

I will admit that I am relatively young, in terms of my culinary adventure. I'm still in a "joy of discovery" mode right now. The dishes I had from the 16-course menu were all new to me.

DuthMuse, yes, "this is Las Vegas, mon." One would hope that diners who are planning to eat at Robuchon at the Mansion would act accordingly ... :hmmm:


Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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With one step into Robuchon at the Mansion and its swank art deco interior design by Pierre-Yves Rochon, one is taken far away from the hustle and bustle of the MGM Grand’s casino.

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The Bar is located immediately to the left of the greeting area.

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Main dining room

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The private dining room looks out into the garden.

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The garden dining area is located to the right of the main dining room.

I sat in the garden dining room and was presented with the menus.

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I could as easily have been seated in any of the “Palace” hotels in Paris. The meal started with an offer of champagne and I tried a glass by Bruno Paillard, a small producer and friend of JR’s. Robuchon’s cuisine is about the best ingredients, and the menu is created with the help of the finest purveyors in the world. No expense is spared to bring the best to the plate, no matter how difficult it is to procure. An example of this is the butter; Eschire butter from France, it is sent fresh from France on a plane rather than shipping it frozen. Chef Le Tohic says that the butter “loses a little bit by freezing it”, and they would never do that. All I can say is that the butter is the best that I have ever tasted in my life!

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The bread cart was more spectacular than any that I have seen in Paris and the quality was PHENOMENAL. This came as no surprise, as The Bakery Chef was trained in Paris.

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The amuse, a very tasty “caviar” of apple with vodka granite, was surprising in it’s use of modern technique in the dish. Clearly Robuchon has lost none of his magic, but rather has kept his finger on the pulse of today’s culinary culture.

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La Pomme: Caviar of apple finished with vodka granite

The combination of the apple and vodka granite opened the pores in your mouth and cleaned the palate and makes a very tasty combination.

The apple caviar is made by combining a mixture of apple juice and sodium alginate and putting drops of this solution into a calcium chloride bath to form the caviar.

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Calcium Chloride

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Ready for service

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2nd Course: Le Caviar Oscietre

Oscetra caviar with haricots verts salad, lemon grass

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This was one of my favorites of the night. I have not eaten Haricot Vert that was cooked better than this!! The Haricot Vert were dressed with sliced Parmigiano Reggiano, shallots and eggs mimosa (sieved egg white and yolk). The combination of caviar, crème fraiche and the Haricot Vert was heavenly.

3rd Course: Le Foie Gras

Foie Gras, mille-feuille of smoked eel with oriental flavors

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The craftsmanship of the kitchen was front and center in this dish, and was one of my favorites of the night. The mille-feuille was perfectly assembled. The combination of the smoked eel, foie gras, and black truffle crème fraiche was decadent. Some of the inspiration of this dish came from Chef Tomonori Danzaki.

4th Course: Le Thon

Big Eye Tuna tartar, cold red bell pepper confit with bergamot and prosciutto

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Robuchon has a home in Alicante, Spain where he spends a few months a year and this dish shows the Spanish influence in his cuisine. This is the first time that I have had tuna tartar with a Spanish flavor set and I loved it. The tartar was topped with a quail egg and and the yellow sauce on the plate is yellow pepper coulis.

Below are photos of this dish being plated. The attention to detail in Robuchon’s dishes is astounding.

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The tiny matchsticks of prosciutto are cut every day.

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No shaky hands in Robuchon’s kitchen!

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The yellow pepper coulis being plated

5th Course: Le Truffe

Truffle in a hot pastry, onions, and smoked ham

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I ate this in the height of truffle season and it was marvelous. Le Truffe was another of my favorite courses of the evening. This was essentially a black truffle pizzetta, and only JR serves up the truffles like this without abandon. Robuchon at the Mansion was going through 10 kilos of black truffle a week; YES A WEEK, during Truffle season. The shipments are so enormous that some of the Chefs in the kitchen have pictures of the truffle delivery as their screen saver on their phones.

6th Course: Le Parmigiano Reggiano

Parmesan and vegetable consommé with black truffle

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The dish is presented covered.

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The cover is lifted to reveal the black truffle speckled froth

At the bottom of the bowl was parmesan custard in a sweet onion veloute under an onion froth that is speckled with black truffle. We were instructed to eat the custard and the consommé together as one bite.

7th Course: L’Epinard

Mille Feuille of spinach, truffles and tofu, parsley coulis, Parmesan Tuille, Comte Foam

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Tofu is not something that I seek out, but this was very good.

8th Course: Les Aromates

Medley of aromates in a mild spicy broth

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This light chicken consommé contained ginger, herbs, diced tomatoes and noodles. I enjoyed the course and it was an excellent prelude to what came next.

9th Course: La Grenouille

Frog leg fritter with baby chanterelles

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The finger bowl that accompanied this course

The frog leg fritter was amazing. It was so delicate and delicious with garlic and parsley coulis in the middle of the plate for dipping. This was one of my all time favorite frog leg preparations.

10th Course: L’Amadai

Amadai in a lily bulb broth

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Amadai is Japanese snapper cooked scale on placed in a lily bulb broth topped with baby leeks. The fish was cooked perfectly with nicely crisped skin.

11th Course: Le Turbot

Roasted turbot “on the bone” with celery and truffle stew

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The course was presented like this.

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The turbot is from Brittany cooked on the bone with celeriac, truffle vinaigrette fingerling potatoes. The components of the dish complemented each other well. This was a great dish.

12th Course: Le Homard de Bretagne

Brittany lobster under a disappearing saffron hostie in a seafood bouillon

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The Brittany lobster is under the hostie that is made from foie gras butter and mineral water.

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The seafood bouillon is then poured in and the hostie melts

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The rosemary twig that is wrapped up into a broom is then swirled in the cup. The rosemary twigs are wrapped up everyday before service.

The foie gras butter with the lobster makes this a luxurious broth.

13th Course: Le Canard

Duck confit with potatoes, truffled cappuccino

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Hidden below the potato foam- Robuchon’s Pommes Puree and duck confit. Does it get any better???

If you have not tasted Robuchon’s Pommes Puree then it is hard to imagine heaven in a mashed potato, but believe me, this is it! This was so good. A lot of “yum’s” took place while eating this dish.

14th Course: L’Epeautre

Sault wild oatmeal, gold leaf, truffle vinaigrette

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This wild oat meal from Sault was kind of like savory oatmeal.

Cheese Course:

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Outstanding cheese selection all served at the proper temperature and ripeness. The highlight was a Vacherin-Mont D’Or {Haut Doubs}

15th Course: Le Coing (The Card)

Quince compote Amaretto, ginger ice cream, yogurt and Champagne Mousse

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In this dish, the skill of Chef Guechida was evident. Champagne yogurt mousse with pearls of milk chocolate, green apple sorbet and two white chocolate cards that sandwich quince and apple compote. Eating the green apple sorbet was like biting into a green apple. The craftsmanship of the white chocolate cards was perfect.

16th Course: Le Chocolat

Warm chocolate, coffee perfumed cocoa morsels

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The cup was placed down and then a warm chocolate sauce was poured over to melt in.

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Very rich chocolate and the perfect way to end the meal…. but did someone mention Mignardises?

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This was grander than any Mignardise cart in Paris. The table was awestruck.

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On the plate from left to right, top to bottom: raspberry macaron, pistachio financier with amarena cherry, speculos cookie with hazelnut filling, passion fruit filled chocolate (or possibly pistachio), soft caramel, caramel filled chocolate, cannelé, opera cake, and mendiant (chocolate with dried fruit filling).

Other items on the cart: chocolate covered almonds, coconut macaroons, passion fruit pate de fruit, white chocolate/coconut truffles, dark chocolate truffles, mint chocolate sticks, crisp meringues with crushed French pralines, crisp sake meringues, orange macarons, red wine tuiles, cocoa nib chocolate tuiles, financiers, almond nougat, chocolate nougat, green apple marshmallow, black truffle dusted rochers, lemon cream filled chocolate cups.

The quality of the mignardises was great, but I could only try a few and dream about the next time...

Robuchon at the Mansion was better than any 3 star dining I have enjoyed in Paris. This was an amazing meal and I look forward to witnessing the evolution of the restaurant. The front of the house led by Loic Launay is attentive and informed without being intrusive. Chef Claude Le Tohic leads an impressive brigade of chefs in delivering the Robuchon experience to the American diner. Gamal Aziz deserves high praise for luring one of the great Chefs of all time to the United States. If the initial reaction to Robuchon at the Mansion is any indicator, then the sky is the limit!

Robuchon’s restaurants fall into three categories:

Fine Dining

China- Robuchon A Galera

Tokyo - Chateau Restaurant Joel Robuchon

Las Vegas - Robuchon at the Mansion

Middle Tier

Monaco - Joel Robuchon Monte Carlo

Paris - La Table de Joel Robuchon

Informal

Atelier - Paris, Tokyo, Las Vegas and New York.


Edited by molto e (log)

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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When I was in Paris, I ate at L' Atelier de Joel Robuchon and I loved it. So when I went to Las Vegas, I wondered if it could possibly be as good and if there would be a difference in the Vegas version. The look of the Paris and Vegas restaurants are very similar.

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This is the view of the entrance in the MGM Grand.

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This is the view of the entrance on 7, rue de Montalembert in the Hotel Pont Royal in Paris.

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This little guy did not make the trip to the USA as the rotisserie did not feature a pig as it did in Paris.

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These are interior shots of the restaurant in Las Vegas.

The best place to sit at L' Atelier is at the counter so you can watch the "show" in a front row seat. This is like sitting at a sushi bar with your meal being prepared in front of you.

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Those shots are from the Paris L'Atelier. While dining at the Vegas Atelier, I ate at a table rather than the counter. If you go in a big group sitting at a table is better for conversation.

The dining options at Atelier are either a tasting menu or the regular menu that is divided into "Small Tasting Portions", "Hot and Cold Appetizers" and "Fish and Meats".

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The tasting menu that was offered that night.

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We choose to order off the regular menus with a few addtions from the tasting menu. We let Diego Requena, sommelier/ Assistant General Manager, choose our wines and they were fantastic (a white from Portugal and a red from Spain-Mauro).

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LE JAMBON escorte de pain toaste a la tomate

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"Prosciutto" ham served with toasted tomato bread

Robuchon would prefer to use Spanish Iberico ham, but right now it is not permitted to be imported into the USA. I have a couple of photos from Paris L'Atelier that serves the Spanish Iberico from Joselito Brothers, which is also a favorite of Ferran Adria.

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Notice in the Spanish ham how much marbling there is.

The next dish is one of the best dishes that I have tasted this year!

LA CHATAIGNE en fin veloute au fumet de celeri et au lard croustillant

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Light chestnut veloute with caramelized foie gras and crispy bacon

The combination of the ingredients was divine. This was a dish that made you go Ummmmmm!

LE TOURTEAU releve d'un taboule a la vierge d'agrumes

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Crab meat on top of a spicy semolina salad with a citrus dressing

L'ASPERGE VERTE en capuccino truffe

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Truffled capuccino of Green asparagus

The star of the dish was the asparagus enhanced by black truffles.

LE FOIE GRAS Parfait de foie gras au sauternes, confit de poire, kumquat et gingembre

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Foie gras parfait with sauternes, pear confit, kumquat and ginger

The Foie parfait was delicious stuffed with pear confit, caramelized kumquat, pear chip, pear gastrique sauce and chicken jus on the side.

LE THON ROUGE en ventreche mi-cuite aux rouelles d'oignons croustillantes

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Lighty seared tuna belly with crispy onion rings

The tuna belly was seared rare on the Teppanyaki topped with fried onions, capers, olive tapanade with green peppercorns on the side.

LA POMME DE TERRE confite au jus, eschalote et truffe fraiche

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Potato confit with shallots and fresh truffles

Any potato dish that Robuchon does is delicious and throwing truffles on top puts this over the top.

LE BOEUF en entrecote tranchee a la taille de votre choix

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Beef rib eye (cut to size)

When someone orders this dish, a chef comes out with a huge cut of beef on a slab of marble and the diner picks how big the steak should be cut. The steak is served with the famous Robuchon Pommes Puree.

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Pommes Puree from L' Atelier in Paris

L'OEUF cocotte et sa creme legere de champignons

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Egg cocotte topped with a light mushroom cream

This bottom of the glass has pureed parsley topped with an egg steam cooked at 64.5 degrees Celcius for 45 minutes covered in a chanterelle mushroom cream and caramelized chanterelles with chives sprinkled on top. Robuchon feels that that method of cooking produces the perfect cooked egg.

LA CAILLE farcie de foie gras et caramelisee avec une pomme puree truffee

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Free-range quail stuffed with foie gras and served with truffled-mashed potatoes

This dish was sooo good with the foie stuffed quail and truffle mashed potatoes things do not get much better than that.

LE RUMSTEACK en tartare et ses frites a l' ancienne

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Steak tartar with old-fashioned fries

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Steak tartar from L'Atelier in Paris

I love steak tartar and JR's version was great. As you can see from the photos of the same dish in Paris and Las Vegas, no matter which Atelier you dine in the quality is the same.

LES SPAGHETTIS a notre facon

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Spaghetti carbonara served with parmesan shavings and black truffles

Spaghetti carbonara and black truffles is a match made in heaven!

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LES TARTES de tradition

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L'ECLAIR AU CHOCOLAT Classical chocolate Eclair

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LE CHOCOLAT sensation, cremeux a l'Araguani, biscuit Oreo

L'Atelier is a great place to go and eat like a chef by tasting as many things as possible.


Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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I can't tell you how happy I am to see that I'm not the only one who spent big bucks at L'Atelier and found it disappointing.

The posts on this thread will fill you in on my experience...

And to this day, I never heard a word from them.


"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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@molto e: Just curious, but obviously you were treated in some very special way at the MANSION - or how come you could take so many detailed pictures in the kitchen?

Could that "special treatment" be the reason your experience is so different from all the disappointed reports in this thread? (How long did the dinner take? More than 2 hours?).

Anyway: thanks for sharing!

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How long did the dinner take? More than 2 hours?

Kai,

The dinner at the Mansion lasted just over 3 hours .

Molto E


Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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How long did the dinner take? More than 2 hours?

Kai,

The dinner at the Mansion lasted just over 3 hours .

Molto E

I think Kai-M's question regarding special treatment deserves an answer. I find it kind of hard to get pictures of "restaurants without patrons" - or kitchen pictures - without stopping by when the restaurant isn't open and getting permission from the chef/manager. So do you know people at the restaurant - or perhaps your friends at Binkley's do? Anyway - it's important so people can decide whether the type of meal/service they might get at a particular place will be affected by whether they have some kind of special introduction before they go. Robyn

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I find it kind of hard to get pictures of "restaurants without patrons" - or kitchen pictures -  without stopping by when the restaurant isn't open and getting permission from the chef/manager.  So do you know people at the restaurant - or perhaps your friends at Binkley's do?  Anyway - it's important so people can decide whether the type of meal/service they might get at a particular place will be affected by whether they have some kind of special introduction before they go.  Robyn

Robyn,

First to answer your question about the Foie Gras at Robuchon, they use Rougier from France. The best time to get interior shots of a restaurant is either before service or at the end of service. I also find it useful to try a restaurant before making judgements about them.

Best,

Molto E


Edited by molto e (log)

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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I find it kind of hard to get pictures of "restaurants without patrons" - or kitchen pictures -  without stopping by when the restaurant isn't open and getting permission from the chef/manager.  So do you know people at the restaurant - or perhaps your friends at Binkley's do?  Anyway - it's important so people can decide whether the type of meal/service they might get at a particular place will be affected by whether they have some kind of special introduction before they go.  Robyn

Robyn,

First to answer your question about the Foie Gras at Robuchon, they use Rougier from France. The best time to get interior shots of a restaurant is either before service or at the end of service. I also find it useful to try a restaurant before making judgements about them.

Best,

Molto E

Kai-M said in his/her report in this thread that he/she had Hudson Valley at L'Atelier. So do they use one kind at L'Atelier - and another at The Mansion? Not that there's anything wrong with Hudson Valley.

And you still haven't answered the question. Were you just a guest unknown to the restaurant - or did you have "friends" there? I don't know what the big deal is in answering this question. I have friends in some places - in other places I don't. I never think there's a reason to be secretive about it.

And if one person doesn't know someone and has a bad experience - and another knows someone and has a great experience - that's a factor to take into account in deciding whether to dine somewhere. I am not a big fan of high-end restaurants where you have to "know someone" to get a great meal - but I know people who disagree with me. It is - however - based on prior experience - something I like to know ahead of time.

Anyway - I wouldn't have thought about this for 10 seconds - but the more you seem to evade the question - particularly in light of the differences in opinion I've seen about these restaurants - the more it makes me think there may be more going on than meets the eye. Robyn

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Robyn,

I do not know if they use two kinds of foie at the restaurants. I did not know anyone at Robuchon prior to my meals there and the Binkley's do not know anyone either. The next time that you go to Binkley's, ask Kevin what he thought of Robuchon at the Mansion. He will tell you it was one of the best meals of his life.

Best,

Molto E


Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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This is only speculation on my part but after reading molto e's report's over time I get the impression he approaches dining out similar to myself.

More often then not I feel many people approach a restaurant with a show me what you got attitude. Maybe attitude is not the correct description but in the sense they tend to analyze every move of the experience under a microscope. Naturally the staff sense this and carry on with their duties.

I tend to approach a restaurant differently. With a open mind and heart and if I truly am inspired by the meal I go all out in expressing it to the staff which opens the door for dialogue. This approach has started conversations with Keller, Kinch, Benno etc. etc. Now I understand there are those who could care less as long as they have a good meal and that's fine also. But I tend to believe the doors that molto e opened were do to the same approach. Hopefully he will correct me if I'm wrong. :laugh:


Edited by robert40 (log)

Robert R

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This is only speculation on my part but after reading molto e's report's over time I get the impression he approaches dining out similar to myself.

More often then not I feel many people approach a restaurant with show me what you got attitude. Maybe attitude is not the correct description but in the sense they tend to analyze every move of the experience under a microscope. Naturally the staff sense this and carry on with their duties.

I tend to approach a restaurant differently. With a open mind and heart and if I truly am inspired by the meal I go all out in expressing it to the staff which opens the door for dialogue. This approach has started conversations with Keller, Kinch, Benno etc. etc. Now I understand there are those who could care less as long as they have a good meal and that's fine also. But I tend to believe the doors that molto e opened were do to the same approach. Hopefully he will correct me if I'm wrong. :laugh:

Having dined with Molto I would expect no such correction. Robert, you hit the nail on the head!


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I have only had dinner at the Atelier and found the service (and food) pretty good.

But it seems very clear, that the service and treatment you get at the Mansion is, well, very uneven, to say the least - or how come one diner gets in 'n out within a rushed 2 hours while the other sits for more than 3.

Great for molto e to have had such a great night there, based on his approach, personality or whatever. I mean that, really.

But given their -in my opinion- obscene prices*, great service and a nice, long dinner experience is the least even the "average" diner should be able to expect...

*(I mean: compare it to what you pay at spains El Bulli, englands The Fat Duck, germanys Dieter Müller or frances L'Arnsbourg or Buerehiesel - in other words: the best restaurants in their respectice countries...)

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I have only had dinner at the Atelier and found the service (and food) pretty good.

But it seems very clear, that the service and treatment you get at the Mansion is, well, very uneven, to say the least - or how come one diner gets in 'n out within a rushed 2 hours while the other sits for more than 3. 

But given their -in my opinion- obscene prices*, great service and a nice, long dinner experience is the least even the "average" diner should be able to expect...

*(I mean: compare it to what you pay at spains El Bulli, englands The Fat Duck, germanys Dieter Müller or frances L'Arnsbourg or Buerehiesel - in other words: the best restaurants in their respectice countries...)

Kai,

I thought the pricing of the meal was comparable to some of the places that I dined while in Paris (Pierre Gagnaire, Le Cinq etc.). I can only report on my experience at the Mansion, which was sublime. I agree that given all that goes into dining at the Mansion, the experience should be excellent. I will post on my next meal there and hopefully it will be as good as the first.

Best,

Molto E


Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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Yes, that is right, molto e. But then Paris (along with the Cote d'Azur) is considered just, how shall I put it, "different" when it comes to pricing. But well, so is Vegas, I guess.

It is also just a personal thing that I refuse to pay more than 150,- € (ca. 180,-$ incl. tax) for a menu (drinks not included, of course).

But that would be a different topic...

Best

kai

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Yes, that is right, molto e. But then Paris (along with the Cote d'Azur) is considered just, how shall I put it, "different" when it comes to pricing. But well, so is Vegas, I guess.

Best

kai

I think when you dine in Vegas that you have to accept "Vegas inflation". I am not happy about it, but that is what the landscape currently is. The best value for fine dining that I found was in Spain.

Molto E


Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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I have only had dinner at the Atelier and found the service (and food) pretty good.

But it seems very clear, that the service and treatment you get at the Mansion is, well, very uneven, to say the least - or how come one diner gets in 'n out within a rushed 2 hours while the other sits for more than 3.

Great for molto e to have had such a great night there, based on his approach, personality or whatever. I mean that, really.

But given their -in my opinion- obscene prices*, great service and a nice, long dinner experience is the least even the "average" diner should be able to expect...

*(I mean: compare it to what you pay at spains El Bulli, englands The Fat Duck, germanys Dieter Müller or frances L'Arnsbourg or Buerehiesel - in other words: the best restaurants in their respectice countries...)

Kai-M - You bring up a couple of points. Not in the order you put them - the first is price. I - like several others in this thread - had the great fortune to dine at Jamin in Paris (I actually dined there close to when it opened - when it only had one Michelin star - mostly due to the way the Michelin system worked in those days - as opposed to the 3 stars in later years). Back then - about 25 years ago - my husband and I were used to spending perhaps $200 for dinner for 2 at an excellent place in France - with modest wine. What with inflation in food costs - I think the cost of a similar meal today is more along the lines of maybe $700-900 for dinner for 2 - again with modest wine (the latter being increasingly difficult or impossible to get in most places). I think your 150 euros - including tax - is doable in places for dinner - but not always. It is almost always doable for lunch in places that serve lunch.

The second issue you bring up is uneven treatment. What you call the "in 'n out" I call the "bum's rush". I only encountered it once at a very high end restaurant - Lucas Carton in Paris quite a few years ago. We were supposed to dine there with a "friend of the restaurant" - but he was sick. He told us to keep the reservation (hard to get) - but to make sure to ask for "Roland" when we arrived. We didn't ask for Roland - and got that "bum's rush" (until we found Roland - who screamed at a few people - and then the whole nature of our meal changed).

I know that other diners and some of my friends disagree with me - but I personally believe that if a restaurant is worth Michelin stars - especially 3 (or their equivalent in places without Michelin stars) - it should not be necessary to know anyone to get a fabulous meal. It should not be necessary to arrive on an evening when the restaurant is having a "good night". The hallmark of most great things in life - whether they are restaurants - or tennis players - or doctors - or anything/anyone else - is the highest degree of achievement *on a consistent basis*. Doesn't matter if you have the best technical surgeon in the world - but he's only 50% - and you're one of the 50% he screws up on the operating table :smile: .

And it is precisely the same with restaurants. When one is paying a lot of money - one should expect to get the best. If I am paying $500+ plus for a meal - I don't care if it was great yesterday - or whether it will be great tomorrow - if it isn't great for me in terms of food and service tonight - the restaurant is a flop (unless - of course - the restaurant owner offers something in the way of an apology - which happened to me once after an unfortunate dining experience at a high end Las Vegas restaurant - but that doesn't normally happen).

Now some restaurants are very up front about what they can and can't do on a consistent basis. When we went to Gordon Ramsay a couple of years ago - it was quite clear. It reserves the right to kick you out of dinner after 2 hours. That didn't sit right with me - so we went to lunch (single seating where we were free to linger for a long time). It was an honest restaurant and I very much enjoyed lunch there. Per Se is also honest. We'll give you the necessary time - but unless you're a big deal - you'll start your meal really early or really late. So I ate dinner starting at 5:30 - which I will never do again anywhere (not my cup of tea). But the restaurant was honest. Other restaurants are dishonest - or simply uneven. Booking 3 dinner seatings during dinner hours when there are a lot of customers so they have to try to flip tables fast. I try to avoid these places - but don't always succeed.

I guess what I have seen reading this thread is that these restaurants in Las Vegas are simply opportunistic - and that one's meal can vary a lot depending on the circumstances on any given night. But I could be wrong. Perhaps these are simply "opening glitches" that will disappear. I reserve judgment. Robyn

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This is only speculation on my part but after reading molto e's report's over time I get the impression he approaches dining out similar to myself.

More often then not I feel many people approach a restaurant with a show me what you got attitude. Maybe attitude is not the correct description but in the sense they tend to analyze every move of the experience under a microscope. Naturally the staff sense this and carry on with their duties.

I tend to approach a restaurant differently. With a open mind and heart and if I truly am inspired by the meal I go all out in expressing it to the staff which opens the door for dialogue. This approach has started conversations with Keller, Kinch, Benno etc. etc. Now I understand there are those who could care less as long as they have a good meal and that's fine also. But I tend to believe the doors that molto e opened were do to the same approach. Hopefully he will correct me if I'm wrong. :laugh:

Sometimes a good attitude works in a restaurant - sometimes it doesn't. Depends on the restaurant. And - apart from people who are just total jerks - anyone who is dressed appropriately - and is polite - and is spending a lot of money should expect to get a great meal at a restaurant that is supposed to be great. You know - sometimes there are people in restaurants who would rather talk to their spouses than learn the life stories of the servers or the chefs :smile: .

And a great restaurant will rise to that. Your server will discern whether you want to be chatty - or whether you are celebrating your 25th anniversary and would rather he/she be in the background.

A great restaurant will also make you feel at ease. Being almost 60 - with extensive dining experience - I feel at ease almost everywhere now. But there are a lot of messages here from younger diners with a lot less experience. A great restaurant will make them feel at ease too. Even though my husband and I are relatively old - well anyone can have problems. When we were in Japan earlier this year - we ate our first big deal authentic tempura dinner. The kind with a million little side dishes. Five dishes of salt. Sauces A and B and things C and D to mix in them. And more. We didn't have a clue. We spoke only a little Japanese - and the staff didn't speak a word of English. My husband mixed C with sauce A - about ten times too much C. It was awful. Rather than laughing - the server just took the dish away - and showed my husband how to do it right. That is a classy restaurant - a great restaurant. And I hope our not too fluent "thank you's" in Japanese and our little bows were appropriate.

As an aside - diners do not talk to chefs or servers in a lot of high end Japanese restaurants. The chefs are right in front of you - but they are totally 100% busy making the meals. They don't talk to anyone!

We never would have learned how to order/eat any high class food anywhere had we not had similar teachers - both chefs and servers - in many places - in many countries - for many years. What do you do with this? How do you eat that? Like I said - a great restaurant will put you at ease - present you with terrific food - and teach you how to eat it if you don't know. A great restaurant is one that is there to please you. Robyn

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I guess this is as good as any place to make my first post on eGullet. I was in Las Vegas two weeks ago, and one of the places I dined at was L'Atelier.

I learned about this place from this forum. I've been lurking for sometime, and I think it paid off. I had a wonderful meal. There were 8 of us, all at one end of the long counter. The server behind the counter was young, but he was great. Very friendly. I liked the overall look of the room. It's a "lunch counter", but much, much nicer of course. One of my favorite features of the room was that there was a restroom inside the restaurant. That's slightly unusual for a place in a strip casino.

Food was great. We all had the tasting menu. The highlights for me were the gazpacho, the oysters, the egg dish (really, really good), the smoked salmon, and the quail with fois gras. At first, I was disappointed there was no chocolate dessert, but the two ice cream based ones we had were very tasty, and appropriate for the 100+ degree day it was in Las Vegas. ( I didn't take pics, but a companion did. I can check with him to see if it's OK to post them here)

We didn't feel rushed. The servers did a nice job of delivering fine dining type service at a bar/counter. Several of were interested in wine. There is no wine pairing option for the tasting menu, but the server did a nice job of selecting four glasses for the duration of the nine courses. at one point, he asked if anyone was no a fan of champagne. We said no. For dessert, he offered a choice of dessert wines. What we selected was nice.

The only sour notes came later. No petis fours or anything like at the end of the meal. But the weird part is that they claimed we were short on the bill. As stated above, there were eight of us. The bill was a tad over $1800 (tip had been included in that number). I'm POSITIVE we left more than that. We were standing around outside the restaurant relaxing, when they came out to us an told us. We wound up forking over a few more bucks. Not sure what happened (personally, I think they miscounted one of the bills). Next time, someone will just put it all on plastic and we will all pay them back.

Speaking of next time.... Prior to out meal at L'Atelier, some of us went into the Mansion next door. They were very nice and polite and allowed us to poke our heads into the main dining room. We all thought it was AMAZING, and several of us are VERY interested in dining there at the Mansion next year and going "all in" for the 16 course menu.


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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