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Picasso thumbs up, Del Monico's Chef's Table big thumbs down - Long

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Restaurants & Bars

Picasso thumbs up, Del Monico's Chef's Table big thumbs down - Long

Wendy Lai | May 20, 2004 03:52 PM

After consulting this board, we had dinners at Picasso and Del Monico. Not sure if it was reported in other posts, but Del Monico has a chef's table, so thinking that is extra special, I decided that was going to be my birthday dinner. Big mistake.

We stayed at the Bellagio, a lovely hotel, but a bit older now, and not as nice as Mandalay Bay or the Venetian. Picasso was inside the Bellagio so it was very convinent. They did screw up my reservation and had to give me a 6:00 instead of a 6:30. While it was not a big time difference, it could've been a diaster had I not called two days earlier to confirm. They couldn't find my reservation!

All four of us had their tasting menu ($94) which was the
Lobster with corn pudding,
Seared day boat scallop
Foi gras with ruhbarb and apples
Your choice of Chilian seabass or lamb (apprently they didn't get the memo on the endangered fish thing)
Choice of dessert

The highlight for me was definitly the lobster and scallop. The corn pudding with creamy and very "corny" so lovely with the sweet lobster. The scallop was seared to perfection, carmalized and slighlyt sweet. Not too crazy for ruhbarb so I think it biased the foi gras for me. I choose the seabass (okay, don't flame me, I figure it's dead anyways :P)
It was one of the best Chilian seabss I've ever tasted. The outside is nicly crunchy and pan fried, the inside still moist and flaky.
All of the desserts were very good, but nothing really stood out.

Overall Picasso was a good dinner. I wouldn't say I'm blown away. I think I'm used to good eats being from San Francisco. But compared to Del Monico, Picasso was so much better.

Chef's table at Del Monico was actually an "observation room" next to the kitchen. We sat in a closed room with glass windows opening to the kitchen, which allowed us a great view but no interaction with the chefs or staff. One of the chef (not the head one) did come in to announce the menu and the eating style, and a sommalier did chat with us a lot while he poured.

I've not done a chef's table before, but I've seen it on TV and had thought it meant special treatment and sepcial dishes created especially for the guests. And it being my big 30th you'd think they would do something really good. I was dissappointment with the service and their food. They did nothing special. We were served basically the same food as outside guests, just got more courses. We can see a board in the kitchen that listed today's specials, and basically we got the same stuff. The portions are WAY too large, no portion control at all. The presentation was sloppy, the dishes and silverware visibly old and worn. We had the following:

Crab stuffed shrimp with angle hair pasta in a spicy harrisa sauce

baby argula salad with blue cheese wontons and candied walnuts

Foi gras with potato gratin

Some white fish that the chef said was Haight(sp?) with sweet potato risotto (which was under cooked)

A HUGE slab of ribeye with mashed potato and sweet pepper sauce

Dessert was banana cream pie.

Every course was a regular serving, meaning the amount you'd get if you had a regular 3 course meal. So you can image how much food that was.

I didn't like any of the courses especially, overall the food was good but not special at all. There was no candle in my cream pie, not special anything.

The chef looked like we were a chore to him.

And guess what else we saw through the glass windows? One guy came in (later we found out he is one of the owners) and stuck his hand into the bacon bits that was part of the baked potato service. He did this three times! While we watched...

I wanted to try a chef's table and I don't regret doing this because we didn't know Del Monico was going to be terrible. But I definitly wouldn't recommend anybody going there. The bill was $80 per person.

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