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.
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.
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.
Continue reading ‘L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon – Las Vegas (MGM Grand)’
I have yet to encounter a soul in the hyper-opinionated Los Angeles food community who doesn’t adore Chef Walter Manzke‘s cooking. From his early days at Patina and Bastide, to his more recent tenures at Church & State and Petty Cash, wherever Chef goes, the accolades usually aren’t too far behind.
Late last year, Chef Manzke and his wife, Pastry Chef Margarita Manzke, joined forces with restaurateur Bill Chait to open Republique in the former Campanile space. I usually give restaurants a few months to settle in before coming in for a taste, but my impatience got the best of me in this situation—I needed Chef’s signature escargots en croute, and I needed them now.
The Astronomer and I were initially seated at the communal table toward the front of the restaurant during our visit, but scored a table for two after asking the hostess nicely.
Pro Tip: My friend Darin dined on the same evening and requested seats along the Chef’s counter, which turned out to be warm but festive. Continue reading ‘Republique – Los Angeles’
With our bellies full of chicken livers and smoked meat, The Astronomer, my sis-in-law Sonia, and I strolled over to Dominique Ansel Bakery for one final sugar rush.
Chef Dominique Ansel opened his eponymous bakery at the end of last year after toiling at Daniel for six years and at Fauchon in Paris before that. Even though the shop has been open for only a short while, there’s already buzz that it’s the best bakery in town. Hype in these here parts can be intense.
I had my sights set on the “Perfect Little Egg Sandwich” ($5) this afternoon, but unfortunately it is only available before noon on weekdays. I quickly switched gears and perused the pristine pastries on hand.
In addition to croissants, ice creams, sorbets, and sandwiches, the bakery offers an array of jaw-droppingly beautiful tarts and cakes. Each one was assembled with precision and was far too fetching to eat, really.
Continue reading ‘Dominique Ansel Bakery – New York City’
Before boarding a high-speed train to London followed by a flight back to Los Angeles, we made time for one last lunch in Paris. For our final feast in the city, I desired nothing more than simple, perfectly made crêpes. While most visitors head to Breizh Café or Josselin for this Breton specialty, I took David Lebovitz‘s advice and sought out West Country Girl in the 11th arrondissement.
Here, at this minimally appointed restaurant on the Passage Saint-Ambroise, Breton-native Sophie Le Floc’h makes an assortment of sweet and savory crêpes.
There’s also plenty of cidre to go around, another Breton specialty.
Continue reading ‘West Country Girl – Paris’