I just returned from a tour of Las Vegas for my dad's 60th birthday. Thought I would share one Boston Hounds impressions
Thursday evening we had a fantastic meal at Bouchon - with the one exception of a braised pork dish, everything around the table was fantastic. We tried the Blood Sausage (which we split five ways as a mini appetizer) to go with some wines we brought. They handled the wines very well, and seemed happy to decant and serve the two bottles we brought (a '67 Pichon and a 96 Margaux). The blood sausage was really rich, and two or three bites apiece was certainly a treat more would have been overkill. The pate I had for a first course was terrific, rich and flavorful, with a nice texture and served at the perfect temperature. I had the a quiche (forestiere) for my entrée and it was divine. The escargot special was the best domestic escargot I have ever tasted (two of our part got this, and I almost ordered an order to nibble it was so good!). A braised leg of lamb was among the winners for entrees, and the roast chicken was very flavorful as well. We all felt this place was a super solid meal, and all of us would not hesitate to recommend it. It is true French bistro food, and extremely well executed.
Dinner Friday was a slight debacle, one of our group wore shorts to Il Mulino and we were refused service. With tickets to a show, we went across the way to Boa and had a very serviceable meal. The wine list, however, was excellent, and we had an 01 Ehlers Cab and a 01 Tinto Pesquera. Certainly not the best steak meal I had ever experienced, but everyone seemed pretty happy with their food. We shared some salads, and some oysters Rockefeller for first courses, and I ate a seafood platter for my entrée, I was looking for something light, and a big steak was really the only other thing of note on the menu. The seafood was good, fresh, and hit the spot.
Breakfast Saturday Morning was at the Carnegie Deli in the Mirage, and I must admit, for being 3500 miles from its sister, they do an outstanding job. Great Bagels, very good lox, with the traditional huge portions adapted from the Carnegie in NYC. There must have been at least 12 oz of lox and an equal amount of cream cheese piled on the bagel! We ended up taking corned beef sandwiches with us on the plane back and they were excellent, although they were absolutely mammoth, at least two meals worth!
Saturday night we ate at the new MIX restaurant in THE hotel at Mandalay Bay. This is a concept Alain Ducasse has in both NY and LV, and we were all very happy with the meal.
First off, the outdoor dining is critical, as the inside dining room gets really loud. The outdoor space looks out on the strip toward the airport, and as we were seated at around 7, we saw the sunset and the lights coming on up and down the strip. Spectacular!
The food did not disappoint. Although pricier than some placed in Vegas, we all agreed that the food was reasonably priced for the quality. Dinner started off with a fantastic bread basket, which included traditional breads (baguette, peasant loaf) and some untraditional as well (bacon bread and ketchup bread) the breads were served with both butter and peanut butter.
Around the table for appetizers were a fantastic take on shrimp cocktail, with a rich almost gelatin like horseradish sauce lining the plate, and a sweet smooth tomato concentrate providing contrast. I personally ordered a delicious kampachi carpaccio, which was tasty although a little busy with flavors which took away from the sweet rich flavor of the fish. One of our party had a slab of poached foie gras which could have been served a little warmer, but was certainly delicious and decadent; there was also a Thai beef salad which was only all right, and two pastas.
One pasta was gnocchi with porcini mushrooms, and the other rustic pasta with asparagus and morels, and both were truly great.
For entrees, two people got fish dishes which I did not try, and one got a scallop dish which I also did not try but they were all three cooked perfectly and everyone oohed and ahed over them. I had a pork dish, pork done American Style in flavor, and French in technique a seared loin, roasted belly, and pulled shoulder done in a barbecue styled sauce with a polenta (grits) like accompaniment served in a little crock. Dad had a duck done in a sweet and sour preparation which I thought was great.
Desserts were also very good a baba au rhum with choice of rum, a MIX chocolate bar, which was halfway between a rich bar cookie and a chocolate bar, and a deconstructed hot chocolate that everyone loved.
After dessert, the waiter brought Madeleine hot from the ovens which were quite nice, and with the check they brought us some candied almonds (in case we were hungry?).
In all we ate quite well, and had a great time.
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