I wanted to post a "little" review of Alex from a trip to Vegas this weekend because it was because of this message board that I opted for Alex over other choices (Le Cirque, Robuchon, Tableau). For a "Vegas" restaurant, I was IMPRESSED....very impressed, and with me that is no small feat. I have eaten at a majority of the fine dining spots on the strip, and I was really moved by the experience here. My partner and I opted for the tasting menu, the sommelier's tasting menu seemed too glitz and glam and the normal "a la carte" tasting choices didn't read as well as the regular tasting menu. We did opt for the wine pairings also, which was the only inconsistent portion of the evening.
Amuse - Chilled Red Prawns and Sea Urchin with celery root and Osetra caviar. Wine = Champagne 2004 Jean Lallement, Brut, Grand Cru, France
-nice combo with the celery root and caviar, a good salty sweet boost, the urchin wasn't enormous so it didn't overpower, the shrimp was a nice safe shellfish, may have been more intriguing with a crab or the like. the champagne was the star here, just divine and robust and delicate....all in one
1st course - Seared sea scallop w/ white asparagus and black truffle hollandaise. wine - jean marc brocard, Fourchaume, Premier Cru Chablis 2004
-my favorite course of the evening. the scallop tasted of honey it was so sweet and the deep sea and the earth thanks to the truffle. the asparagus was an incredible touch. you tasted everything at the same time. again, the food was amplified to another dimension with this wine, it gives me chills just thinking about it.
2nd course - Foie Gras w/ Plum Mostarda, glazed turnips and cider honey. wine = Torcolato, Maculan, Breganze, Veneto, Italy 2002
-foie gras was nice, domestic hudson valley as i persumed, the sauce was a bit overpowering and sweet, maybe because the wine was also quite sweet, a little too much so. My notes for this dish just say sweet sweet sweet. great but not fantastic.
3rd course - Roasted wild Turbot w/ Morels, "La Ratte" potatoes and parsley. wine = hirsch, gruner veltliner, zobinger heiligenstein, austria, 2003
-a nice solid fish course tickled by the morels, the fish was like shreds of coconut as I pulled each piece to my fork, perfect amount of oil in the fish with the earthiness from the morels. the wine was an interesting choice, I was somewhat surprised by this one. I've not delved into gruner veltiners enough to really say good or not so good, but it was enjoyable.
4th course - Veal Tenderloin wrapped in pancetta with sweetbreads, fresh peas and carrots. wine = Ch. Musar, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon 1995.
- the veal was scrumptious and soft like an almost ripe mango. sweetbreads were a nice contrast. there was a crispy communion-like wafer of veal lardon that really set off the sweetbreads. the downer here was the wine, I felt like it missed the mark significantly, mainly because it was quite a chewy red. almost more of a course within itself. and upon inquiry as to the viticulture of Lebanon, the wine steward fell over his tongue a bit in trying to pump some life into the country's heritage for wine. Not as great of a course as it could have been, but only because of the wine
5th course - Coconut tapioca with passionfruit and papaya compote.
-surprisingly light and refreshing. A colorful assignment visually and taste-wise for a break in courses
6th course - I chose to have a cheese course instead of dessert, the dessert was a pound cake wafer with marscarpone and huckleberry, I tated my partner's and it was different, huckleberries are an acquired taste in my opinion. My cheeses were a selection of 5, cow's milk, french goat, beer soaked gouda, pungent french sheep's and a cow, goat and sheep blue combo. Excellent selection overall, least favorite was the french goat's, just very very mild and bland. Accoutrements were rightfully matching: kumquats, quince paste, raw almonds, candied date, and a walnut and fig terrine. wine = Rongopai, Ultimo, Noble late Harvest, Te Kauwhata, New Zealand 2002. Fantastic selection, very exotic in its own right.
Petit Fours - a plethora of wonderful little gems along with warm fresh baked madelines.
Chocolates - excellent selection of belgian, spanish and german chocolates.
Bread - the old adage is true, "if the bread is good the meal is going to be great" and here was no exception. Pancetta multigrain rolls were enough to go back again for tonight. Walnut and date loaf was earthy. Sourdough was straight out of Fisherman's wharf in San Fran, beautiful.
Service: impeccable to the last move. the bread and table attendant was chinese and was somewhat difficult to understand but his mastery table management was fantastic. one never knew he was there, and yet his eye never left our stemware, flatware and china from across the room, and we were by no means his only table. Every single person that approached the table from the bartender to the wine steward to the sommelier referred to us by name and name only. My partner's shopping bag was given its own stool to be placed upon. The music was simple, not too loud.
The space is absolutely fantastic, super high cielings. nice sweep of a staircase into the dining room. Orchid bloom on the table was a nice touch along with the crystal oil lamp. Dress code is moderatly enforced. We had coats on, but others came in with t-shirts out and went to the restroom and emerged a bit more put together perhaps at the request of the maitre d'. Total time start to finish was 3 hours exactly, but then again they knew we were headed to a show (Le Reve at Wynn....don't get me started on that one, awful)so maybe they accelerated things, but we never once felt rushed
Someone on this message board noted that Alex was just as good a selection as Robuchon if time or money is an issue, I wholeheartedly second that notion. You will not be disappointed, and if you are, write about it.