Archive for the 'Fine Dining' Category

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Trois Mec – Los Angeles (Hollywood)

Trois Mec - Hollywood - Los Angeles

To celebrate my recent birthday, I asked The Astronomer to take me to Trois Mec. I’ve wanted to dine here since the restaurant opened last year, but my busy schedule and the restaurant’s tough-to-snag tickets kept me away until now. It was definitely worth the wait.

Trois Mec - Hollywood - Los Angeles

The “three friends” behind Trois Mec are Chef Ludo Lefebvre, who takes care of the food and beverage program, and Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook of Animal and Son of a Gun, who manage the front of the house. While service was on point this evening, I quite missed having Krissy run the show a la LudoBites. Ah, memories…

As a nod to their partnership and the restaurant’s name, Trois Mec’s logo features the letters “L”, “D”, and “S” intertwined.

Chef Ludo Lefebvre at Trois Mec

After years of popping up ’round town, making due with others’ dining rooms, kitchens, and equipment, Ludo at last has a permanent space to call home. As a longtime fan of the chef, I was absolutely tickled to see him finally settled and in his element.

The Astronomer and I were seated at the bar overlooking the kitchen, which meant we had front row seats to watch the evening’s cooking and plating action.

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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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Alma – Los Angeles (Downtown)

Alma Restaurant - Downtown - Los Angeles

My girl Minh‘s been dying to try Alma, so we booked a table in celebration of her recent birthday. Situated on an unexpected stretch of Broadway, Alma can be difficult to spot. If it weren’t for the fanciful script scrolled across the door, nothing would let on that there’s something good to eat this way.

Alma Restaurant - Downtown - Los Angeles

Chef Ari Taymor (dark haired and bearded fella above) opened Alma last March after running a successful pop-up of the same name. Here in this minimally appointed dining room with a tremendous open kitchen, the young chef and his team are creating ambitious and beautiful food that’s globally influenced. The restaurant’s format and style reminded me a bit of Le Chateaubriand in Paris.

Alma Restaurant - Downtown - Los Angeles

Alma offers both an a la carte menu and a formal tasting menu. Minh’s birthday fortunately fell on a Tuesday, so we took advantage of the abbreviated four-course “Tuesday Tasting” for $45. We also ordered one of every “snack” on the menu to supplement our dinner. The price for the regular tasting menu is $90 for nine courses plus “snacks.”

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The NoMad Restaurant – New York City

The NoMad Restaurant - New York City

As delighted as The Astronomer and I were with our dinner at Eleven Madison Park on a previous trip to New York, a repeat visit wasn’t in the cards this time around because much to our dismay, the restaurant had changed its winning formula.

In place of the elegant and beloved grid menu filled with whimsical and seasonal bites is a $195 tasting menu paying tribute to the history and spirit of New York City. While the idea of a “Hudson Valley carrot tartar” and a “Central Park picnic” sounded neat, the changes reeked of pandering to “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants” list, which made me feel inexplicably sad and not the least bit hungry.

The NoMad Restaurant - New York City

To get our fill of Chef Daniel Humm’s cooking and General Manager Will Guidara’s hospitality, we headed instead to their latest venture inside The NoMad Hotel. The NoMad Restaurant is slightly less formal than Eleven Madison Park, with dark and moody dining rooms furnished with banquettes so plush that I had to sit on a pillow to see over the table.

The a la carte menu here was “inspired by Chef Daniel’s time spent throughout Switzerland, California, and New York City,” according to the restaurant’s website.

The NoMad Restaurant - New York City

To start was a fantastic loaf of charred onion focaccia with sweet potato, rosemary, and sage served warm from the oven. The bread’s intriguingly dark tone was accomplished using bamboo ash.

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