Flew into Vegas from New York for the weekend, eagerly anticipating my trip to Thomas Keller's Bouchon at the Venetian. Don't go if you're expecting a true Thomas Keller experience. You will be sorely disappointed. But if you want something a notch up from TGIFridays, then Bouchon at the Venetian is the way to go.
It started out promisingly, with a flight of oysters at the bar while waiting for a table. Absolutely delicious selection.
Then we sat down, and eagerly eyeing the grilled sardine "special" on the board, started to plan the meal. Sadly, we were informed by our waiter that EVERYTHING on the "specials" menu was sold out. Oh, the disappointment. According to our waiter, this happens every night at around 8 or 8:30....which makes me think perhaps the kitchen should plan a bit better....
Ended up sharing the salmon rillette to start, and mussels for my main. My dining companion had the steak frites. The salmon rillette was delicious - a mix of smoked and fresh salmon, on toasts, served in a charming little jar. Then came our main course: my mussels were overcooked, and some to the point of being inedible...the broth was so-so, but I had actually had the same dish at Bouchon-Yountville and this could not compare in terms of flavor or complexity.
My friend's steak-frite was "as tough as a shoe." I concurred. It was one of those meals that caused me pain when the bill came, because it simply wasn't worth it.
For those who think Thomas Keller can do no wrong, try Bouchon in Vegas for a rude awakening. A huge disappointment.
On to Okada at the Wynn. Sat down at the sushi bar (there are 4 different dining areas) after a short 20 minute wait. Had an excellent sake recomendation while waiting. The sushi was fresh, incredibly high quality, and absolutely delicious, thanks to our disco-dancing sushi chef...We started with the oh toro - very good - then salmon with lemon and salt - perfection - and hamachi - also perfection, though much more delicate in flavor. The seared sea scallops were also very good. My friend had the pork short ribs as well, and loved them so much he ordered a second round, along with a fried rice ball. The bill was very reasonable. Highly recommend it.
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