By Leslie Fiet
I loved L'Atelier de Joel Rebuchon in Paris. My fellow diner adored the restaurant in London (see L’Atelier De Joel Robuchon). Now we intend to try the sister restaurant in Las Vegas.
Sadly, the love affair is at an end. The $500 bill for two produced just disappointment - or worse.
My first L’Atelier experience was in 2003, shortly after its Paris launch. It was love at first try. The food, the red and black design, the open concept kitchen, even sitting at the counter all created an experience that firmly established this dining experience as heavenly. Now it is all in Las Vegas.
Recently a London colleague and I discovered L'Atelier was top on both of our lists. It was his final night in town so there was no other place for a final meal. It started well with prompt seating and smile. Then it was downhill.
We selected the Seasonal Discovery Menu ($ 195.00 pp plus service).
The first course of foie gras parfait with port wine reduction and parmesan emulsion was lovely. Buttery rich on the palate, a promising start.
The second course of Curry cauliflower panacotta, sea urchin, and beef consommé glee (sans caviar) was a miss in both of our opinions. The plate was beautiful but missed the mark on texture and temperature.
We had mixed thoughts on the third course of bell peppers cooked in olive oil on top of a tomato piperade. I thought the overall subtle flavours of the peppers with the tomatoes was spot on but he did not.
Fourth course, Sushi oysters in butter-cream sauce served with asparagus and yuzu was again a split on our enjoyment, my companion enjoyed his, mine was dimmed simply because I’m not a fan of asparagus, not the fault of the dish.
Fifth course, a nutmeg spinach soup with a ricotta cheese soufflé, was light, just the right balance of sweet and earthy tones, a perfect setup for the sixth course of Black cod atop a saffron potato puree, encircled by a langoustine broth and fresh vegetables.
Again, this was a successful dish for both of us. The seventh course, my companion really enjoyed the caramelized quail filled with foie gras served with potato puree, so much so he even ate the bones. I still don’t think just because you can does not mean you should.
My selection, the the “Kagoshima” Wagyu beef ribeye with roasted shallots and shishito peppers was a fail in every way. It had the texture of pork belly, without the much needed rendering of fat with a seared crust. The temperature was lukewarm at best which only emphasized the gelatinous texture of the meat. For the final two desert courses, an Apple tatin on an almond biscuit and coconut sorbet; a chocolate and mint ice cream with a honey mousse and caramelized hazelnuts we were again split on our like and dislike of each.
It was far from the perfection the price suggested.
The killing blow was the bill with a $55 supplement charge for the beef. This was unexpected and when we questioned our server, he became argumentative, and turned the issue over to the manager. He was also combative, making an unpleasant ending to a mediocre meal.
After spending over $ 500.00 there is no way to justify returning based on the food and staff rudeness. Sorry, Joel. This is where the love affair ends.
L’Atelier De Joel Robuchon
3799 S Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Located inside the MGM Grand Casino