Just got back from a long weekend in Vegas. Hopefully this trip report will help others plan their vacation. I know I consulted Chowhound Las Vegas to help inform my decisions.
Everywhere we went service was good and efficient. I had the sense they are very accustomed to getting people to the theatre on time. My only observation is that across the board servers are more interested in getting you to order up rather than truly create an experience for you.
Based on the many reviews it seemed that if Twist was going to disappoint it was because it was too daring, so it was a surprise that it would disappoint for the exact opposite reason, that and that several dishes where poorly executed. I would like to give them the benefit of doubt because this was the day after Valentine's Day and maybe they offer a dumbed down version of their menu. I really expected much better at these prices. My wife ordered the 6 course vegetarian menu and I ordered the 6 course Valentine's Day menu which was still being offered as it was the only other 6 course menu other than the black truffle menu.
The amuse bouches were good with the parmesan sable being a favourite. My first course was sea urchin in a cream with roe, blinis, and a vodka granite with capers. This was the strongest dish of the night with clean, pronounced, and balanced flavours. My wife said her salad was aggressively tart.
Second course was lobster with diced persimmon and a potato fondant. I thought the persimmon paired very well with the lobster and the bisque which was used as a sauce. The lobster itself was quite chewy and impossible to cut with the fish knife which was set with the dish. One would think that at this level they would at least give you the correct cutlery for the dish.
Third course was a cod carpaccio with black truffles and a smoky sauce. This dish had one note; smoke. Fourth dish was seared foie gras which was quite good.
The main course was wagyu beef with a peppercorn sauce and broccoli. I guess the 80's haven't yet called the chef asking for their dish back. From the looks of things the beef was cooked sous vide but still managed to be quite chewy and had a little gristle. A dish that was both boring and poorly executed.
Desserts were 4 or 5 small plates and most pretty forgettable. The meal ended with some petit fours. I believe this menu was priced at $165 without wine or tip. Portion were small but enough to walk away satisfied. I will not return.
Second night was Carnevino were we ordered a la carte. Service was chummier but efficient. Portions were large, we had an app each, split a pasta app, split a 16 oz bone in NY strip loin, had 3 sides, and split one dessert, and we were full to the point of being uncomfortable without finishing some of sides.
I won't go into as much detail. Flavours were very bold almost to the point of being aggressive with black pepper being prominent on many dishes. An example of the level of flavouring was that raw garlic was used on the mushroom side. The food worked because everything was amped up so the dishes were balanced. My octopus starter was incredibly tender, which is what the lobster at Twist should have been like.
The steak, which is why people come here, was very good and the flavour from the ageing was noticeable. Wagyu beef when done correctly impresses more, so not the best steak I've had but I'm still glad I tried it.
My first time having Jose Andre's food and it won't be the last as this was clearly the best meal of the trip. Flavours were pronounced and distinct but not aggressive. The beef tongue taco was beefy, tender and the corn tortilla thin and flavourful. The Rou Jia Mo street sandwich was orgasmic. The bun reminded my of green onion pancakes without the onion and the meat was sweet and porky. We split the vegetable fried rice which showcased a multitude of colours and textures, and wasn't overly oily. To finish we shared churros, which were quite possibly the lightest and best I've had, and the tres leche cake. The tres leche cake was the best dessert of the trip, it was moist and rich but it was little thing like the cream subtly flavoured with rum or the pineapple with a hint of lime zest which set the whole thing off. If this was in my city I would go often.
NOBU (at the Hard Rock)
My last time at Nobu I had the tasting menu and this time we ordered a la carte as my wife doesn't like raw fish or some seafood. Dishes were good but lacked a unique pairing to set it off. An example would be the wagyu beef taco at $15 a pop, it was a small two bite taco of beef in a shell that's it. I can appreciate wanting to showcase this really good quality beef, and it was, but I was hoping for something with maybe a couple more ingredients and still managed to highlight the beef. Dishes which had a dipping sauce with ponzu had very little ponzu flavour. Desserts were quite good and the highlight of the meal.
This was breakfast on our last day. Everything had very good, clean, pronounced natural flavours. The bacon was very smoky but tasted of campfire versus hotdog. Croissants were flaky, they would shatter when biting into them. I've done Bouchon twice, both times for breakfast, I should really try them for dinner.