Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ate at Atelier

Gambling at Vegas: $0
Clothing/Accessories bought at Vegas: $0
Accomodations at Vegas: $0
Plane ticket to Vegas: $0
Food at Vegas: $$$$

Here we go... Dinner at L'Atelier de Joel Robouchon.


The restaurant is located in the MGM Casino and I spent just enough time in there making a beeline to the restaurant that I was drenched in cigarette smoke. Which is par for the course in that town. But whatever.


The interior is "non-traditional". What does that mean exactly? It means that most of the seating is at a counter. Here's the concept: "A kitchen opened on a circular bar with 36 seats that allows clients to follow the service, to watch the succession of dishes, and to compose their own meal according to their appetite." Sitting at the counter alarmed Mr. Insomniac, but I took it in stride cause I knew it meant I was in for a food show. (TM WeezerMonkey)


There are some tables though. For wusses.


And then there was some sort of fridge on display.

All in all, it was a colorful restaurant with a nice relaxed vibe. The noise level was minimal and the chefs in the kitchen provided a nice visual distraction with Mr. Insomniac and SportsDoc started their shop talk. All the red was a little red light district though. But moving on.

Our waiter.

Everyone in that place spoke French. The head chef would call out the orders in French, the waiters spoke French. I felt pressured to practice and bust out with the "Je voundrais le tasting menu, por favor". But I knew I would look like a major tool, so I easily fought the urge. The service was very attentive. No complaints there.

One cool thing about L'Atelier is that your entire party doesn't have to do the tasting menu and that they'll do a tasting menu for one person. Being the greedy little piglet that I am, I got the eight course Discovery Tasting Menu and Mr. Insomniac and SportsDoc got the smaller Winter Tasting Menu.

I began my meal with a glass of chardonnay from ZD Wines which was excellent and switched to a Pinot Noir during the latter part of the meal from Row Eleven. I liked both, but plan to buy a few bottles of the pinot the next time I'm buying wine - it's a good value.

After he had poured my glass, our waiter tasted some himself, saying that it was newly put on the menu and he hadn't gotten a chance to taste it yet. We both agreed it was good.

Ladies first...

Foie gras parfait with port wine and parmesan foam

Oh heaven. We were advised to use the spoon so that we could get all the flavors intermingled together rather than drinking it like a shot. This was delicious - a perfect mix of salty, savory sweetness. A perfect way to start the meal. I burst out into a grin after I finished this. And would have clapped my hands in delight, if that was socially acceptable. I settled for dragging my spoon along the glass to get every bit of the parmesan foam.

Smoked salmon in a herb gelee with a light wasabi cream

This was interesting. The flavors were great, but I had some time getting past the texture. It was like fishy jello. Or eating cold chicken fat. Liked the wasabi cream though.

In the meantime, I watched the head chef calling out tickets and everyone scurrying around. Food show!


Poached baby Kussi oysters with French Echiré butter


Tasty. Buttery. Good.

Main lobster in a tomato sauce and green asparagus


This was also really good. The sweet flavor of the lobster shone through brilliantly and each component was cooked perfectly.

Fois gras ravioli in a warm chicken broth with fresh herbs


I dare say this was the best of the evening. Days later, I'm still thinking about this one. The broth was amazing - perfectly seasoned and the ravioli were plump little treats. I want to frame this picture and put it on my desk so I can gaze longingly at Francois, Pierre, Jean-Claude, et Michel wading in their chicken broth swimming pool.

All evening long, I was seated in front of this ham.


Periodically, someone would come over and slice some for the Iberico ham with toasted tomato bread, like this dude. Food Show!


Dover sole with a warm leek salad and crispy potato


This was just okay for me. I'm realizing that I'm not a fan of sole. Kind of bland.

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


Now we're talking. Delicious all around.

Pineapple infusion, Tahitian cheesecake


I traded this course for SportsDoc's cheese course. He seemed to like it though.

Light coffee cream served with coconut milk and lemon from Corsica


Sort of unmemorable, truth be told. But it had gold on it. I liked the cheese better.

Coffee or Espresso


I opted for a mint tea to end the meal instead of something with caffeine - after all I do have the sleep issues. Mr. Insomniac wanted to know if they had soy milk for a cappuccino, but the waiter had to tell him that they didn't. We only have whole milk - not even skim, he says. I mention something about French full-fat, full-flavor French cuisine and go for the high-five. That's what happens when I drink two glasses of wine - I high five strangers.

Here's the Winter Tasting Menu

Les LĂ©gumes
Mediterranean vegetables layered with buffalo mozzarella

Missed the shot on this one. It looked like a Caprice salad.

La Langoustine
Crispy langoustine fritter with basil pesto


This was delicious. I could have eaten a dozen of these. Mr. Insomniac enjoyed it too.

French-style hanger steak with fried shallots


The meat was ridiculously tender and a perfect medium rare. Apparently, JR is known for his mashed potatoes. I didn't like them so much - they were so pureed to the point of being soup. I like my mashed chunky. But they did have a ton of butter, so thumbs up on that.

Les Fromages
Selection of imported cheese


Cheese! Brillat Savarin! Once the waiter uttered those words, I knew I had to wheel and deal to get SportsDoc to relinquish the cheese plate. Fortunately, it didn't take much. The cheese was served with a nice selection of raisin bread. I happily munched away.

For dessert there was a choice between tarts and ice cream/sorbet. Mr. Insomnaic got the tarts.

Les Tartes
Traditional tarts


Note the gold on the lemon one. I didn't taste all of them, but the lemon and berry tarts were good. I'm noticing that I like my desserts sour. I think that of all the desserts, his was the best.

SportsDoc got the cold stuff. He liked them and the couple that I tried were pretty tasty.

Glaces et Sorbet
Ice cream and sorbet


Great meal. Worth driving 10 hours for.


Ann Marie said...

I don't ever want to admit how long I looked longingly at that foie gras ravioli.

HaveShoesWillTravel said...

Mmmmmm...that looks amazing. I have no desire to go to Vegas except for all the restaurants.

Grace said...

The foie gras ravioli looked amazing. I believe you on the broth.

Bonus points for food speckled with gold, lol.

Swank said...


WeezerMonkey said...

Food show! Food show!

Now I am really excited to try this place the next time we go to Vegas! Big thumbs up for your pics. :)

A Feminist Gold Digger said...

Yup! I think I dig the red light district ambiance.

WeezerMonkey said...

I just read this again and laughed because I failed to mention that I often do clap my hands in delight when I eat something wonderful.

Social norms be damned!

Liz said...

One month until I get my own food show!