Joël Robuchon

I’ve never had kind words for Las Vegas. So when we were mapping out that ‘stream-life agenda, and “Sin City” was the most logical stop between Palm Springs and Southern Utah, I stomped my feet and gnashed my teeth a little bit, but trusted that Sam knew best. And, per usual, she did.

You can read the full rundown here, but turns out you can actually enjoy your time in Vegas, so long as you swing by MGM and book a table at Joël Robuchon.

Sam and I have been married for nearly two years, together for over five. In those five plus years, we’ve grown to love and do our best to appreciate the entire culinary spectrum. From Crunchwrap Supremes to fine dining, we don’t discriminate and find joy in most every meal. That was, at least, before we had the pleasure of sitting for Joël’s tasting menu and it ruined everything:

Pour commencer

Oscetra caviar served atop king crab in a crustacean gelee dotted with cauliflower puree

1er Service

Scottish salmon confit coated with oscetra caviar and a wasabi cream

Violet artichoke and foie gras salad with parmesan shavings

Tomato candies invigorated with lemon virgin olive oil

2ème Service

Heavenly cheese souffle-flan served with fresh shimeji fricassee

White asparagus with black garlic emulsion and Espelette pepper

3ème Service

Egg yolk and herb ravioli with spinach sprouts and fresh ricotta

Green pea veloute, refreshed with mint on a sweet onion foam

Langoustine with tempura of green shiso leaf over a delicate squid ink risotto

4ème Service

Seared foie gras with sweet and sour cherries and fresh almonds

Spring vegetables Tagines in Argan oil with cauliflower couscous

Caramelized black cod in Malabar pepper sauce with bok choy

Le Plat Tradition

Grilled “Snake River Farm” Wagyu Ribcap with virtual bearnaise sauce, puffed potatoes

Les Desserts

Blood orange foam, citrus and streusel

Candied Mandarin, whipped cream and cookie crumb

Lime mousse, exotic marmalade and coconut crisp

Le Papillon Chocolat Azélia

Smooth hazelnut milk chocolate cremeux with coffee chantilly and praline ice cream

Le Moka - Le Thé

Coffee or tea served with seductive sweets

***Several delectable items were offered and not even listed on the above menu. We began the experience with an amuse bouche of something equally as fancy, but just smaller than the actual starter. Throughout the meal, the impeccable waitstaff trotted out one delicate, buttery bread and pastry after another. And we each left with our own cherry pound cake, in cellophane wrapping paper that properly elevated its already elevated pound cake'd'ness.

I possess neither the vocabulary nor the clout to properly breakdown all of the dishes, but I’ll do my best on a few of the favorites--in the order in which they were served:

Oscetra caviar served atop king crab in a crustacean gelee dotted with cauliflower puree

  • One of my fondest childhood memories is of summers at the family cabin when everyone would get together for the usual merriment and on special nights, my grandmother would bust out a tin of her favorite caviar as the perfect sidecar to her double whiskey rocks. Robuchon’s version is slightly different, but just as memorable. Visually stunning as it hit the table, it resembles a Parisian stained glass window more than actual food. In the center of the plate, a perfectly symmetrical, three inch round of king crab. As the description suggests, on top of what would have been a perfectly fine starter in its own right, an ample layer of fine sturgeon caviar. Surrounding this circular double delicacy, the gelee flavored with shrimp and lobster stock offered the ideal platform for roughly two dozen mini-dollops of cauliflower puree. As you can imagine, the dish tasted as good as it looked. Each piece of the puzzle stood up on its own, but combined, it painted the perfect picture. The caviar, delicate and properly salty. The crab, fresh and buttery. The gelee tied the two together. And the cauliflower, that was just Joël showing off. We were off to a good start.

Violet artichoke and foie gras salad with parmesan shavings

  • Not wanting to double up on the caviar, the winner of the second course was this sneaky little guy. The description is pretty straight forward, but the flavor is anything but--that’s one of Robuchon’s specialties. Anybody can take an artichoke, goose liver, some cheese and whip a dish, but the flavor combination and the use of shaved foie (something we had never seen or heard of) blew our mouth brain.

Langoustine with tempura of green shiso leaf over a delicate squid ink risotto

  • One usually sees langoustine on the menu when the establishment in question doesn’t specialize in lobster or prawns. Obviously, Joël specializes in whatever the hell he wants and this dish was another in a long line of creative flavor marriages that blew off the doors. The langoustine was just past opaque and just right on perfection. The texture brought a mix of buttery sweetness and tooth you need to hold up to the shiso and risotto. Speaking of, you know how everyone tries and fails to make risotto on those cooking shows? We finally figured it out--It’s because they’ve seen how perfectly it can be made, but turns out they aren’t Joël Robuchon. I don't know how long the risotto took or if the squid ink was simply for kicks, but I do know that I may never attempt to make it on my own again.

Grilled “Snake River Farm” Wagyu Ribcap with virtual bearnaise sauce, puffed potatoes

  • Umm...Have you ever had ribcap? Let alone, Wagyu ribcap from Snake River Farm? Well, if you have, good for you. I’m pleased to know you and hope we can meet one day. If you haven’t, you should be very jealous of my wife and me and hope that we meet one day. Seriously, it should be illegal to cook this cut of beef the way it was cooked--Vegas already has way too many vices. Served rare, with a deconstructed bernaise and “mashers,” this plate was my overall favorite. If I’m ever unfortunate enough to request a last meal, this is my new go to. The succulence and M&M-melt-in-your-mouthfeel are too impressive for words.

Honestly, I don’t know where we go from here. We’ve seen the mountaintop.

- Pete

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