Archive for the 'Las Vegas' Category

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon – Las Vegas (MGM Grand)

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon – Las Vegas (MGM Grand)

There’s nothing like a breathtakingly delicious meal at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon to get me back in the blogging groove! Viva Las Vegas!

Before we dig into the stupendous eats, a big thank you for sticking around during my long and unexpected hiatus. A little over two months ago, two major changes came into my life. The first, a new job! Woo! The second, a pregnancy! Woo hoo! Juggling both, with a side of intense nausea, was damn tough. But at last, I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Or at least I hope so…

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon – Las Vegas (MGM Grand)

After months of going to bed before the sun set and surviving on a sad and steady diet of saltines (and sometimes hot dogs!), I wasn’t quite sure if I’d be up for any fancy dinners while in Las Vegas for work this past weekend. Thankfully, I was feeling peppier, and more importantly, in the mood for feasting, by the time the trip arrived.

I dined solo this evening, which meant that I didn’t have to share any of the spectacular bread and salted butter. By the end of the meal, I’d made quite the dent in both. God, it was good.

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon – Las Vegas (MGM Grand)

And then there were two amuse-bouches, one meatless and the other not-so-much. On the vegetarian front was a wicked refreshing shot of grapefruit and guacamole. The lingering spice was awfully nice.

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China Poblano – Las Vegas (The Cosmopolitan)

China Poblano - Las Vegas (The Cosmopolitan)

The Astronomer was itchin’ to hit the road following our pizza and pasta party at FIVE50, but I wasn’t quite ready to head home just yet.

Chef José Andrés’ China Poblano has been on my radar since it debuted in 2010, but lukewarm reports kept my interest in check over the years. However, the allure of noodles and tacos available under one glitzy roof proved too intriguing to resist on this trip. And thus, a second lunch was born.

China Poblano - Las Vegas (The Cosmopolitan)

“The restaurant’s name is a play on China Poblana, the legendary slave woman of Asian descent whose arrival in Mexico is supposed to have inspired the stereotypical ‘china dress‘ of the 19th century,” according to New York Times write up. “But in Mr. Andrés’s universe, the second ‘a’ in poblana has segued to an ‘o’ in homage to the mild Puebla chili pepper.”

In the same article, Chef Andrés was quoted saying, “I am afraid of Chinese cooking, doing it authentically, that is… So before I did a full Chinese restaurant, I thought I’d do one that is half and half.”

China Poblano - Las Vegas (The Cosmopolitan)

Upon entering the restaurant, The Astronomer and I grabbed two seats on the Chinese side, a “steamer-rich kitchen” where cooks were filling and folding dumplings. Across the room was a separate squad making fresh tortillas on griddles.

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FIVE50 Pizza Bar – Las Vegas (Aria Resort & Casino)

FIVE50 Pizza Bar - Las Vegas (Aria)

Following our back to back fine dining feasts, The Astronomer and I were primed for something super-casual but equally delicious on Sunday before driving back to L.A. FIVE50 Pizza Bar, conveniently located on the first floor of our hotel, fit the bill just right.

FIVE50 Pizza Bar - Las Vegas (Aria)

I’ve been a fan of Chef Shawn McClain‘s cooking since dining at Sage several years ago, and was excited to try his spin on classic East Coast-style pizza. The restaurant is named after “the ideal temperature to cook your pizza to perfection,” according to the restaurant’s website.

FIVE50 Pizza Bar - Las Vegas (Aria)

Even though the cooking at Five50 is serious, the mood is perfectly laid back. The Astronomer appreciated the bountiful flat screens, while I liked the room’s colorful accents.

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L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon – Las Vegas (MGM Grand)

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon - Las Vegas (MGM Grand)

Joël Robuchon, where have you been all my life?

Just one evening spent under the Chef of the Century‘s spell and I am utterly smitten; I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to make my way to one of his world-class restaurants.

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon - Las Vegas (MGM Grand)

Located a stone’s throw from MGM Grand‘s expansive casino floor, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon is one of only two Joël Robuchon establishments in the U.S.  The other, Joël Robuchon Restaurant, is located next door and offers a more formal dining experience.

The L’Atelier’s space is positively sumptuous, swathed in glossy blacks and heady reds. Best of all is the open kitchen with court-side seating that allows diners to watch their feasts being prepared. It’s amazing how quietly each cook works and how calmly direction is given—Hell’s Kitchen this is not.

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon - Las Vegas (MGM Grand)

The menu here allows for quite a bit of freedom. One can simply order a la carte from the “tapas” menu, construct an abbreviated tasting menu of four ($78) or five ($105) courses, or go all out with the Seasonal Discovery Menu ($165).

The Astronomer curated a fabulous five-course menu perfectly suited to his tastes and appetite, while I couldn’t resist the “Menu Decouverte De Saison.” Sommelier Ben Spicer ran the “front” of the house during our visit, and we could not have had a better time under his care.

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