Joel Robuchon Amuses My Bouche
My favorite person in the whole wide world tonight is Joel Robuchon, the three Michelin-starred chef who created the six-course tasting dinner that my friends and I savored on our last night in Sin City. Mr. Pirate warned me not to whip out the cell phone cam during our fancy dinner. I rebelled. The spacey whoop sound effect my cell phone made during each shot echoed eerily in the quiet restaurant, which is formally called Joel Robuchon at the Mansion. I refrained from taking pictures of the dessert station parked in the short hallway between the dining room and the front door, as well as the carb cart overflowing with saffron brioches, laurel-shaped bread seasoned with bacon, milk rolls and other starches. Without further delay, the food:
Amuse bouche--Our introduction to the evening's leitmotifs of foam and black truffles was lightened with the crisp tartness of apples that at first glance looked like green caviar. Some people sipped the concoction little by little. I slurped the whole spoonful in a second. I'm not sure why the chef garnished the plate with a miniature red apple and twig.
Mille feuille of eel and foie gras--I love eel. I love foie gras. I love eel on foie gras. Though it seemed kooky at first, the pairing was inspired. Again, black truffles speckled white foam, which kept its form after being piped in a straight line on the gilded plate. The threads of green apples helped cleanse the palate.
Parmesan soup--Who knew a creamy cheese soup needed foam on top? The onion skins filling the moat of the larger bowl suggested another nuance to the dish without adding another complicated flavor.
Fish dish--I don't remember the name of the white fish which was served in what resembled a dinosaur egg. It was the first time I've ever had fish braised with potatoes and chestnuts. Because the chestnuts sitting next to the bowl by the grass blades were split, I thought we were supposed to eat them. I bit into one and concluded that I liked chestnuts better roasted than raw. Someone joked that the cooks are probably laughing at the customer who is taking pictures of her food and eating the garnish.
Veal value--We thought it was pork until the waiter told us it was veal. This second entree broke the black truffle streak. Nary an ebony fungus in sight. The vegetable tagliatelle pasta was complemented with strands of zucchini. A bouquet of pink flowers the size of my pinkie nail leaned atop a roasted garlic clove.
Pina colada dessert--Was Robuchon dreaming of Cancun when he drummed up the idea for this dessert? The pineapple sorbet sat peacefully atop the vanilla custard, which hid thin wafers of chocolate. The small white cubes bordering the sorbet reminded me of marshmallows. The finale of our six courses is clearly the most photogenic of the evening.
Cookie tray--About 10 minutes after I scraped the sorbet and custard bowl dry, I started getting full. But I still found room for the triangle-shaped macaroon and green tea cake topped with a candied cherry.
Brioche swag--The restaurant managers offered humongous brioches to the six ladies in our party. Wrapped in lavender cellophane, the brioches caused a conundrum: How do we pack them in our luggage?