Archive for the 'French' 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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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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Republique – Los Angeles

Republique - Hancock Park - Los Angeles

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.

Republique - Hancock Park - Los Angeles

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.

Republique - Hancock Park - Los Angeles

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’

Dominique Ansel Bakery – New York City

Dominique Ansel Bakery - New York City

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.

Dominique Ansel Bakery - New York City

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.

Dominique Ansel Bakery - New York City

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’

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