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How I met Joel Robuchon in Vegas (a report and thank you!)

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How I met Joel Robuchon in Vegas (a report and thank you!)

Offbalance | Mar 24, 2006 06:39 PM

I had to post, partially to tip my hat in thanks and partially to share a pretty cool story.

After merely lurking on this board, I was able to put together a great dining agenda for my trip to Las Vegas. Thanks to the posters on this board, we had great meals at Cafe Ba Ba Reba, Commander's Palace (go for the 25 cent martinis - stay for the amazing lunch!), and of course, Rosemary's (worth every penny of the cab ride and meal, I can't remember when I've had better food or service, and I'm from what many consider to be a dining mecca. Also thanks to those who mentioned the restaurant.com certificate!). I had a slightly less enjoyable meal at Lotus of Siam, but that was merely due to my own mistake of ordering a dish 'medium' instead of mild. Boy, did I learn my lesson!

Anyhow, for our last evening, my friend and I had decided to see Ka, the Cirque du Soleil show at our hotel, the MGM Grand. The MGM offered a dinner and show package, which we got, and decided to dine at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon. The package included a prix fix menu. It began with roasted vegetables paired with a creamy Buffala mozzarella, then came with a choice of cod or quail (I had the quail, my friend the cod) and finished off with a souffle served with pistachio ice cream. Every course was better than the last, although I would have liked a little bit more quail on my plate.

L'Atelier is designed around a central kitchen, so that you can watch the chefs at work and that your server is almost always behind this 'bar.' As my friend and I are devotees of the Food Network, we really enjoyed watching them work. There were two older gentlemen amongst the younger chefs, and they seemed to be teaching the younger chefs a technique. Later, our server brought by one of the gentlemen, a Chef Hernandez, who was Joel Robuchon's sous chef. Sadly, he didn't speak much English and neither of us really spoke Spanish or French very well, so our conversation was quite limited. But he was very nice to us and seemed pleased that we were enjoying our meal. We had just finished our desserts when our server had yet another surprise for us - a tray of tarts to sample, a gift from Chef Hernandez. He also pointed out to us that one of the other chefs as Mr. Robuchon himself, in from Paris for a few days to check on his Vegas locations. He, too, came over and shook our hands, and asked how we were enjoying ourselves. Again, sadly, the conversation was limited due to our lack of French, but it was a thrill to meet him.

Most of the people I've told this story to weren't as excited as I was about it (save the chowish friend who advised I eat at L'Atelier over some of the other MGM Grand restaurants included in the package), but I had to share it with those of you who migh appreciate this sort of thing.

Thanks again for making a terrific vacation even more memorable!

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