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Las Vegas Stopover - Le Cirque

turbowine | Aug 31, 201710:35 PM     2

Part 3 of our great expedition to see the eclipse of 2017, going through Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.
Again, the stars are my score given out on “Trip Advisor”
(Click on my user name to find the other parts.)

Le Cirque, Bellagio, Las Vegas, NV, 4 stars
First time here. Been to Picasso many times, as well as a few other fancy places around town (like Robuchon).
Nice décor, friendly staff, good views of the fountains (we had a nicely positioned table). Bread service was terrific, some tasty options. We went for the 10 course prestige menu, however, we substituted out 1 of the 2 dessert courses for cheese. (They have a couple of smaller options too.)
Interesting “incident” with the sommelier. We decided to order wine by the glass, rather than the pairing, as we would spend less and didn’t need that much to drink. When it came to reds, he suggested a Rhone wine, that he said was a Cotes du Rhone that was 100% Syrah. I mentioned that I found that interesting because I’ve never heard of a 100% Syrah from the southern Rhone. (Where the Cotes du Rhone is.) He said, no, it’s not from the south, it’s from the northern Rhone. After all, he continued, they are all blends in the south. (What I expected from a Cotes du Rhone.) Whereupon I said something to the effect of never having heard of a northern Cotes du Rhone. He just answered in the affirmative. Anyway, we went with it. And when he brought the bottle by to pour our glasses, it was a Crozes Hermitage. Which is a northern Rhone appellation, not southern Rhone, and definitely not a Cotes du Rhone. Anyway, it was weird. And he was French! French wine appellations should be second nature to him! I understand they may need to dumb down the wine talk for some patrons, but the moment I sounded like I knew something, the charade should have been over. (Maybe it wasn’t a charade?)
The other thing about this sommelier is that sometimes he was very helpful, other times his response was “whatever you want.” Not the answer I’m looking for when I’m asking for advice.
Other than the northern Rhone, I did not note specifically which wines we drank, except that they were tasty. A Chablis, a Sancerre, a LBV Port, a rose Champagne.
Back to the food!
On that topic, next nitpick – no Amuse Bouche. I’ve never been to a fancy restaurant like this before that didn’t have an amuse bouche (or two or three) before the dinner begin. Nope, nothing, nada. For $350 a person for the prestige menu, I have to say I felt cheated by this. I want my amuse, dammit!!!
Our menu:

1: Yellowtail with avocado and hearts of palm in a Japanese inspired vinaigrette
This was good but that’s just it.

2: Blue crab with avocado and caviar (real Russian caviar)
This was very nice, really enjoyed and seems so simple to make. Wife thinks there was a binder in the crab (cream, mayo?) but I’m not sure I agree.

3: English peas & wild strawberries
Frankly, I don’t remember this dish

4: Sauteed Foie Gras with puffed tapioca and elderflower gastric
This was very good, really enjoyed the texture of the tapioca (think rice crispies) and the sweet & acidic nature of the gastric was terrific with the foie gras. Very nice!

5: Risotto with black truffle and parmesan
What’s not to like? Creamy rice with truffles. Yum!

6: Scallops in Thai Curry
I do like Thai curry, so this was also a hit.

7: Veal cheek, porcini in veal jus
This dish nice, what you’d expect by reading about it, tender, juicy meat.

8: Pineapple and Lavender Explosion
This was more of an intermezzo, in my mind, than a true “dish” or “course”. Calling this one of the ten was a cheat in my mind. Anyway, a white chocolate ball full of pineapple juice infused with lavender. You pop it in our mouth and let it dissolve on your tongue, upon which the juice and therefore the pineapple flavor “explodes” in your mouth. Not bad, but if you aren’t a pineapple fan, this won’t work for you. A gentlemen at the next table refused his for this very reason. It is kind of shocking when the sweet/acid juice hits your tongue after the creaminess of the white chocolate; presumably the effect the chef wants!

9: Raspberry Parfait
We skipped this for the cheese; which was nice. We like cheese.

10: Chocolate ball with white chocolate ice cream and hazelnut caramel crunch
Tasty, a good dessert

Mignardises & Gourmandises
These came in a very nice little box, quite an elegant presentation. A few chocolate truffles. Always good to take home.

Overall it was a good meal, cooking was solid, flavors were great. However, it didn’t really wow me. Perhaps I’m getting too used to fancy food, but I’d hoped for more of a “wow” experience; solid cooking just isn’t good enough anymore. My best memory is the foie gras. I liked that. I also think it is overpriced. I suppose you need to allow for the “Las Vegas Strip” effect; but you can have equivalent or better 10 course meals at other restaurants for less money; just maybe not in Vegas.

Another note for you – Another table, behind us. Couple wanted a specific Robert Mondavi wine. Apparently all they drink. Restaurant didn’t have it. Sommelier set them up with another Napa cab. They took one sip and didn’t touch it again for the whole meal. Full glasses and a mostly full bottle abandoned when they finished dinner. Wow! I don’t get it. That is what I call picky!

Le Cirque
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