L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon
Posted 16 March 2007 - 05:58 AM
We sat at the counter and ordered the $135 Dollar Tasting Menu.. In addition to the tasting menu we ordered a couple of things of the menu..
The Foie Gras Burgers were a must for us, so we asked if we could have them before the tasting menu began.. We spoke with the GM who at the time, we thought was the wine steward.. We asked him to pair wines with the courses and to keep the alcohol bill to 60 dollars each.. He said there would be no problem at all and we were confident that everything was going to be perfect..
Despite ordering the burgers first, they brought the amuse.. It was foie gras parfait with port wine and parm foam.. Whats not to love with this.. Sorry for the bad photo, they get better..
Next comes the burger and fries.. I hate to say it, but this Frenchmen has provided me with my favorite burger.. Foie gras sliders with onion confit on homemade sesame buns.. The buns were really amazing.. Even the sesame brought something to the burger.. The roll was buttery, the sesame seeds were perfectly toasted.. The burger cooked perfectly with a huge chunk of foie gras.. This is really representative of the restaurant.. Everything about this place is bold and severe.. From the black and bright red decor, to the over the top food. The man is red lining here..
Ugh, it pains me to look at these guys..
Crinkle cut fries. I dont know what untensile he used to make these, but I loved the texture.. Should I keep saying how everything was cooked perfectly, or can we just assume at this point?
Blue Fin sashimi with a tomato infused olive oil.. Subtle flavors of tomato, perfeclty cut chives, and some sort of dehydrated sun dried tomato.. The tomato flavor was really intensified but the dehyrdated little bits..
Scallops with seaweed infused butter.. The seaweed butter was a wonderful touch.. Really added another wonderful taste of the sea to the dish.. Medium rare scallop, a little bit of pink pepper..
Bacon tart with truffles.. I dont remember what the cheese was but, it wasnt stringy.. It was a creamy cheese.. The tart was made with layers of brick bread. Wonderful smokey bacon.. And two large slices of black truffle. They are really not afraid of the truffles here.. There was one guy in the back who was pretty much slicing truffles all night long.. I seriously might be able to eat close to 2 hundred of these things..
I am sorry I did such close ups of the food as opposed to showing the plates and plating.. All the plates were as beautiful and bold as the food.
Posted 16 March 2007 - 05:58 AM
Foie gras stuffed quail with truffled mashed potatoes.. I am a huge lover quail so I was very excited for this.. It did not disappoint.. Stuffed with foie, it was just love.. My one complaint was they Frenched the Quail Bone.. I know they like to make it look pretty, but I want my little piece of crispy bone nub damn it.. The potatoes were so smooth, riced,run through a mesh screen, creamed, type of guys.. What you would expect from one of the worlds most talented chefs.. Again, bits of truffles and a nice little garnish on top..
Ok, so at this point desserts were to come out.. We stopped that train pretty quickly.. We were not done with the food yet.. So we ordered the suckling pig.. This came three different way.. Confit, another Frenched item, the Chop, and some shoulder.. Topped with a nice ribbon of skin.. Absolute heaven..
At this point we were to have dessert.. But instead of our dessert the GM brought out a glass of wine from his hometown in France with goes very well with cheese.. Especially the camembert he told us..
We each got one of these plates.. This is a lot of cheese right here. I am very proud of us for finishing it.. It was a nice touch that instead of jams or jellies, they accompanied the cheese with toasted cumin and a lemony salad.. I dont remember all the cheese, the first is a comte, the last was a triple cream, a fromme d'e beurre I believe.. Sorry about that..
Now the scheduled desserts are coming we think.. Next thing we know, the Pastry chef comes out and hands us each a plate with 5 different tarts on it.. This was a really beautiful presentation.. She is so talented and really such a great person.. My favorite tart was of this cooked down milk mixture.. The filling cooks down to about a quarter of its original size.. It was little a dolce de leche type of scenario.. It was ridiculous.. There was also this passion fruit berry filling.. Each one was better then the next..
I am at a blank at this point.. My girl will be able to fill in the details tomorrow.. However, I have never seen a souffle rise this perfectly and high.. I dont even think in photos, do you see this thing?
During this time mind you, we have left regular wine for the evening and we are having these fortified wines.. Apple from Canada, something from Hungry.. Sorry I am writing this rather late..
Next up was a caramel mousse, pineapple sorbet with a passion fruit sauce.
And to finish a little chocolate.. A chocolate type of anglaise with a chocolate mousse coated with oreo crumbs inside a chocolate disc.. As good as it was attractive..
What can I say about this place but WOW.. The food, the delivery, the concept of the restaurant.. Its like Momofuku Ssaam delivered by a Four Star Chef.. Its just off the hook. Its a four star chef letting his hair down and just going nuts.. He is hip, he is current and cutting edge.. He is not sitting back and making classics, he is just so exciting..
Sorry will edit for spelling and grammar later, its late.. I just always end up losing these things if I dont post them right away.
Posted 16 March 2007 - 06:08 AM
However, I have never seen a souffle rise this perfectly and high.. I dont even think in photos, do you see this thing?
Parchment wrapped on the sides of the souffle dish.
Posted 16 March 2007 - 07:01 AM
Posted 16 March 2007 - 04:01 PM
Posted 16 March 2007 - 04:12 PM
Posted 16 March 2007 - 04:16 PM
Excuse my ignorance, but that $135 tasting menu looks like a lot of dishes, a lot more than you get for $135 in NYC. Is Las Vegas a better value?
I think you're right. The eight course tasting menu in New York is priced at $190.
***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.
If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.
Posted 16 March 2007 - 05:27 PM
For me good is good regardless of whether it is fashionable. -- mitchells, 23 June - 09:50 PM
notorious stickler -- NY Times
deeply annoying and nitpicking -- Molly O'Neill, One Big Table
Posted 23 March 2007 - 05:57 PM
It was interesting to observe the precision in the painting and plating process. There was a private room group of six taking the tasting menu just behind us in sequence, so we could observe and taste our own, then observe the masters creating it again a few minutes later. Probably 20% of the plates were discarded because the sauce painting lacked a proper swirl, or a pepper dusting went awry, etc. The actual assembly was very precise, with three or four people involved with such things as the broccoli, mashed potatoes, etc.
We took the wine pairing option. That gave us a Sancerre upfront, moving on to a Trimbach Pinot Gris (2004, I think), and on to a Leroy Burgundy, 1999. We had a rich dessert wine to finish, but I didn't log that.
The restaurant was pretty empty. There were four people at the bar, later growing to five. A table of six music industry people (average age about 25) with several bottles in evidence. During the dinner, they broke at least two glasses and one dish ("Put it on our bill"). Great conversation to overhear. Another group of 12 or 13 young girls, with an older couple. That, plus the private room, was the guest list at about 10 pm. They pulled the door shut about 10.30pm. The lower level of MGM-Grand was a ghost zone when we left about 11.30
I was very impressed with the thought that went into the menu development. There was a clear progression from lighter to more substantial, and exceptionally good spoken descriptions of the plated item. I think that's an area where many restaurants have embraced cost savings, with a runner mumbling a description and running off, rather than take pride in describing the offer.
This wasn't an inexpensive meal. The tasting, wine pairing, and a lead off glass of Champagne, plus a generous tip, came out to about $500
― Niccolò Machiavelli
Posted 23 March 2007 - 09:02 PM
Posted 23 March 2007 - 11:17 PM
Posted 11 April 2007 - 12:56 PM
Thanks Paul, but you didn't touch on how the food actually tasted! Pretty please, would you?
I was exceptionally pleased with just about everything I was given. My notes aren't handy, but nothing was less than wonderful. I'll find them and build out comments.
The foie gras stuffed quail was absolutely transcendant. It was also singled out by Food & Wine as one of the "best dishes of 2006"
Best Restaurant Dishes of 2006
― Niccolò Machiavelli
Posted 17 July 2007 - 04:11 PM
After being seated at the basically empty chefs' bar we were promptly greated by our server from across the counter and offered a cocktail or the wine list. (An aside, we also "had" to go next door before dinner to satisfy my cocktail craving as L'Atelier does not serve the aforementioned cocktail).
We spent quite a bit of time studying the menu options and after some discussion with our server, made our selections from both the "Menu of Small Tasting Portions" (which vary in size from tapas to full-size appetizers) and the entree menu. I will discuss the food first and some other "issues" later.
An amuse of cooling cucumber gelee with a dollop of creme fraiche arrived and some lovely baguettes with a very nice salted butter. Although we didn't "swap plates", we did share bites of most courses, so we covered a good portion of the menu.
Le Jambon-Proscuitto di Parma served with toasted tomato bread-excellent proscuitto, but a tad too thickly sliced, served with a grilled toast covered in flaovrful, bright red diced tomatoes. The "toast" became particularly tasty as the juices soaked into the bread.
Les Legumes-Mediterranean vegetables layered with bufalo mozzarella-A colorful tower of eggplant, red pepper, zucchini alternating with the mozzarella and a drizzle of pesto.
L'Encornet-Sauteed calamari with artichokes and chorizo-Tender strips of calamari tossed with wedges of artichoke heart, diced tomato and petit diced chorizo. A very nice dish, I think it would have benefited from a bit more of the chorizo.
L'Aubergine-Eggplant caviar-I missed this as I was conversing with a friend who happened to look in and stopped by to say hello. I will say, the dish was wiped clean.
We were each given a sample of the "famous" pommes puree with this course.
La Ventreche-Lightly seared tuna belly with crispy onion rings-Not much to write home about here. Nice belly, but not outstanding, seared a tad more than I would have liked. Not the best example of onion rings either.
Le Burger-Beef and foie gras burgers with lightly carmelized bell peppers. Two rather thick, tall sliders topped with a good sized piece of foie. Both just a shade overcooked--I'll cover that part of the story in a bit--but, still quite good.
La Caille-Free-range quail stuffed with foie gras and served with truffled mashed potatoes-The quail cooked to the point where there was still a rosy tint to the flesh and the skin, nice and crispy. Only a hint of truffle to the potatoes...and ever so rich. Very good dish.
Cheese-With a little negotiation with our server we did better than the average cheese plate. After mentioning some favorite descriptors (ie-runny gooey and stinky), I convinced our server to try to poach some cheese from next door. Not a totally successful mission, I had hoped the whole plate would be from the cheese trolley next door. Especially after having seen the regular preselected offering. We got that same thing, but, thankfully with the edition of a very nice Eppoisse. Fair (and would have been poor without the eppoisse)
Dessert-Cherry Clafouti with Pistachio Ice Cream-Fat, juicy Bing cherries in the moist cake and a very good pistachio ice cream. Excellent.
Now, let's discuss my "issues" with our meal. Being that this restaurant is an open kitchen concept, and the fact that it was a slow night, most times it was quite easy to tell when a portion of our order had been fired. During my meals at Robuchon, I took issue with the fact that the courses came out basically on top of easch other. That, and the fact that it was obvious that some of them had been held in the kitchen till the previous course was cleared. I was relieved when the first two courses here arrived at a relatively leisurely pace. The relief was short lived. Before our second courses were even plated, I was pretty sure they had already started on the third. Not a good sign. Suddenly, the kitchen went into hyperdrive. Meanwhile, my second course sat under the heat, awaiting our server. It sat for at least three minutes. I also continued watching the progression of what I was sure would be our following course. When the server arrived with my "extremely hot plate, Miss", I stopped him before he could escape and explained my suspicions about out next course, which by now was 90% complete. All before we'd even had a bite of the current course. I told him that if those were ours, they needed to be recooked, not held under the heat for however long it took us to eat the current course. After some discussion with the chef, he returned and told me that just wasn't possible and they would be happy to curtail the pace of the meal from that course on. Normally, I would have asked for further discussion on the matter, but, my guest is a little squeamish about that kind of thing, so I let it pass. But, I was definitely not happy. I suspect that is why we were allowed to have a little treat on our cheese plate. A "sort of" apology. I will say that the following course was not horribly damaged by the time under the heat. But, it could have been ace had it not been subjected to it. And, they most certainly had no reason to be in a rush as the restaurant was barely over half full. A few other quibbles. The wine list is brief and priced to the point of extortion. When I asked our server for copies of the dining menus, he referred me to the hostess, with the priviso that if she wouldn't give them to me, I should return and he would. The very snippy hostess informed me that it was against their policy to give out the menus. Back to the server I go...why he couldn't have just given them to me in the first place is beyond me. The sample menu they hand out is not the current menu and it lacks the pricing (wouldn't want to scare folks off!).
Overall, a rather pricey but on most levels quite good meal. The servers are friendly and well versed on the menu. I will go back armed with the knowledge that to have a better experience it will be necessary to order course by course. That way I can set the pace of the meal, rather than watch my food languish like a tourist on the beach soaking up sun.
Posted 17 July 2007 - 05:39 PM
The menu is on the MGM website, also without prices.
― Niccolò Machiavelli
Posted 17 July 2007 - 06:24 PM
Le Rumsteack-Steak tartare with old fashioned French Fries-very good quality beef that suffered from serious underseasoning. The fries were also unremarkable.