We drove up to Vegas from L.A. on Tuesday morning and headed straight to Payard Patisserie in Caesars Palace for lunch. Although we'd never been in that exact part of the hotel, we were able to find it easily enough. It's divided into a small dining room for those choosing to eat there, and a more spacious take-out area with pastries, pre-made sandwiches, chocolates, gelato, etc. We decided to have our main courses in the dining room and then head over to the take-out section for dessert.
The "kitchen" for the dining room is set up in a roundish space in the middle of the room, and there are four or so seats at a little bar there, so we decided to sit there so as to watch the goings on in the kitchen. The two cooks had barely enough room to turn around. Most of the food was pre-portioned into little plastic-wrapped packets, like they'd applied a food saver to everything. It was a bit disconcerting to see, actually. Example: three baby carrots, a garnish, in their own plastic wrapper. Even the eggs for the egg dishes appeared to be pre-poached. Blech.
I wanted to save calories for dessert since we usually don't do dessert at lunch and I knew we'd be having a nice dinner (Fiamma), so I opted for the soy-marinated salmon which was to be served with mixed green salad and pickled vegetables. The salmon was cooked fine but the mixed green salad was a handful of spring greens under the salmon, and the pickled vegetables were about three tiny pieces of cauliflower, the same number of carrot slices and maybe a couple pieces of fennel. The entire dish was absolutely drenched in a sauce which was inedibly salty. I don't think the salmon was marinated, because I saw it being taken from its plastic wrapper before it was cooked and it didn't appear to have any marinade. This dish was a total ripoff at $22 for maybe 4-5 oz. of salmon (yes, even by Vegas standards, and I was thinking of how many more satisfying, flavorful and correctly seasoned dishes I could have had for $22 at Mesa Grill).
My husband ordered the Croque Monsieur for $14. It was supposed to come with a mixed salad and house-made kettle chips but he wasn't served the chips and he didn't ask for them. The cheese which melted into the top slice of bread was tasty enough, but I didn't taste the innards of the sandwich since I don't really care for the kind of ham they used. He said it was ok but I thought it was, again, a paltry serving for the price.
So, main courses = not successful in the slightest.
Desserts = another story. We decided to share a napoleon with layers of poached pear and mascarpone cream. It was delightful, and plenty for two. The pastry layers were perfectly thin and crispy, the mascarpone cream was well-flavored and generously portioned, and the poached pears were perfectly done. The mascarpone cream tasted very fresh which is an achievement when it's been sitting around for at least a little while. We also had a pistachio macaron which was delicious if disconcertingly bright green. I think the napoleon was $6 or $6.50 or something like that and the macaron was $2. I also was very impressed with the way they packaged our napoleon, since the wrapper they used, when opened, essentially created its own little plate. The pre-made sandwiches looked to be heavy on the bread and short on the fillings, but obviously we didn't try them. The breads did look good though.
In the evenings, I think after 9pm, they offer a dessert prix fixe of 3 courses for $45. There's an optional wine pairing for, I think, another $20? In the menu the desserts are set forth in four groupings with four or five desserts in each category:
1) Harmonies de Fromage et Fruit - each dish has fruit and cheese - example: Poached Sickle (sic?) Pear with Pomegranate, Cabrales Cheese and Szechuan Pepper Ice cream;
2) The Orchard - each dish has fruit - example: Seared Pineapple with Thyme, Tapioca and Coconut Sorbet;
3) Coffee, Caramel & Nuts - example: Milk Chocolate Payard Candy Bar with Gianduja and Caramel Glaze;
4) Tout Chocolat - example: Devil's Food Cake, Cardamom Pot de Creme, Chocolate Pudding and Whipped Creme Fraiche
You can have all three of your desserts from the same group, or you can pick and choose.