If you are looking for one of the most luxurious, elegant, and romantic splurges with exquisite gourmet food, Joel Robuchon at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas is it. This restaurant has well-earned top dining ratings – Michelin’s Three Star, Forbes Five-Star, AAA Five Diamond, and Wine Spectator’s Grand Award. Don’t be a tourist; dress up for this one! And save up your pennies (lots of them). Cheap eats it’s not, but to dine here is memorable and well worth it.
The experience starts as you enter the intimate Art Deco dining area with a sumptuous decor of black, shades of purple and lavender, beige with gold trim. Plants growing in rows of planter boxes that go up to the ceiling cover one wall.
Fine dining doesn’t begin to describe this restaurant. Joel Robuchon, a renown French chef and restaurateur for most of his life, has several restaurants located around the world. He joins other top chefs who have opened restaurants in Las Vegas changing the Vegas dining scene from the old idea of cheap buffets to elevate the city as a gourmet dining destination.
Diners select from creative and sophisticated French tasting menus – a Prix Fixe of 7 courses and a 17 course MENU DEGUSTATION. (Several Prix Fixe menus of different sizes are now offered for more flexibility). Each course is a crafting of original combinations of ingredients and flavors, a unique blend of tastes and textures. Menu choices change with the seasons and what is freshly available that day.
The first course is served as soon as you are seated – the day we dined it was La Pomme – apple gelee, yuzu granite and chutney set on glass plates. One of the cleverest Amuse-bouche I’ve ever seen, it becomes an enchanting showpiece when the server pours water under the plates, enveloping the dish in a wispy fog thanks to dried ice under the plate.
A bread cart is wheeled over with no less than ten choices. There is no diet or no restraint on carbs here. One of the three selections I made was a cheese brioche studded with crispy cheese, soft and light.
Selected wine was a half bottle of 2000 St. Emilion Cos de Menuts, which paired well with the food.
Courses were as follows:
2nd – La Tomato – A salad of Japanese Tomato, olive oil & basil tapenade & tomato gelee topped with mozzarella cheese.
3rd – La Chataigne – Light cream of chestnuts on top of celeriac custard. I usually don’t like chestnuts, but this was delicious!
Fish course – La Bar – Pan-fried sea bass from Brittany with five spices served with a grape sauce and tiny Champagne grapes, a sweet complement to the sea bass. Tender and delicious!
Entree – L’Angeau – A petite roasted lamb chop on top of wheat semolina (couscous) with Mediterranean flavors. Lamb stock was used in the couscous for great flavor!
Dessert – La Mandarine – Mandarine perfumed with Ceylan Orange Pekoe tea, caramelized yogurt ice cream. Proves you don’t need to have a big gooey dessert to get all the pleasure of sweets. Again, Mandarin oranges are not a favorite of mine, but paired with the flavor of orange pekoe tea and the caramelized yogurt ice cream, I liked it.
Lest you think dinner is over when coffee is served, you get a divine surprise – a large cart is wheeled over containing seductive sweets – house made candies – truffles, caramels, nougats, chocolate of every kind, even lollipops. The ‘kid in the candy store’ look on my face must have frightened the man at the next table as the server said to him: “Don’t worry, sir. There will be plenty left for you.” The dark chocolate covered ginger is properly savored by holding in the mouth so the chocolate melts and allows for deeply inhaling the crystallized ginger center. Chocolate nirvana! Another great choice is a chocolate with a creamy chocolate mousse center.
Diners get a copy of the menu tied with a purple ribbon and a giant brioche (which makes a great breakfast) as a memento of your fabulous meal.