OK, so I'm back from my Vegas trip... and I hit 3 'fine dining' restaurants while there: Sage, é and Robuchon. I thought I'd leave my impressions of all of them. I've split them so that it's not a monster post.
Robuchon was really great - I had my doubts about how much I would enjoy it, especially solo. But in the end, I enjoyed it every bit as much as é - ESPECIALLY solo... because I lingered for almost 4 hours with me, my food and my Kindle :)
I don't know if they did it on purpose, but they had me discreetly tucked away in the back room (about 5 tables) with the living wall, flowers and faux sky. It was much more comfortable there dining solo than in the bustling formal opulence of the main dining room. If you're dining there alone, I'd recommend asking for it.
I did the 6 course prix fixe and it almost defeated me... actually, it kinda did defeat me. Do the 4 course if you're not a big eater (I am!)... though the mains seem to vary in how substantial they are. When you add the amuse bouche, bread and dessert cart... well, it's quite the feat. But I needed to do the 6 course to increase my chances of getting some 'best-ever's
After a fun amuse bouche of gelled sangria (yum!) I got a bit concerned because the soup and appetizer were very good but not quite to my taste. The foie gras was served cubed and cold (not my preference) in a creamy cool soup. It was savory and well balanced both texturally and taste-wise. The artichoke appetizer was very similar, though, and I wish the server would've mentioned that (but service was otherwise impeccable). At this point, I was starting to wonder if Robuchon wasn't quite living up to the hype.
I thoroughly enjoyed my first main, though - La Langoustine - spiny lobster in a herb sauce. Strangely, there was a tiny stuffed squid component that went unmentioned in the description that I enjoyed all out of proportion with it's size. I asked for some lean crusty bread to mop up the remains of my herb sauce and to eat with my next dish.
My second course, Le Canard, finally gave me a 'best ever' experience. Rich seared foie and slices of duck were perfectly balanced with tart-but-sweet fruit and crispy rings of shallot. It was also served with the famous Robuchon mashed potatoes - a tad rich for my tastes, but delicious nevertheless. It made this dish much more substantial than the previous main.
At this point I was, frankly, full. I warned the attentive server that I'd likely linger over the cheese course (which really, I only ordered to get the 2 mains) and let him select a variety of cheeses for me. I ended up reading and nibbling for a good while and LOVED the cheeses. I was unable to finish them, though, and I asked them to wrap my two favorites for me to take with me (I have no pride and I enjoyed them over the next 2 days). The comté, in particular, I'll be looking for.
A big thank you goes to ellenost, who suggested requesting Le Sucre for dessert instead of the options listed. It was amazing, possibly the best dessert I've ever had - and definitely the most beautiful. I think the filling varies from what I've read - mine contained the mascarpone lemon cream, but it had a smooth mango ice (nitro? there were no crystals, it was perfectly smooth) studded with spherified passion fruit liquid that burst into tart sweetness. Oh, and pop rocks. I was UTTERLY full to the point where probably things weren't tasting as good, but this actually had me laughing like a maniac (and trying to hide it in a napkin).
At this point, I was sad when the sweets cart came around, because there was no way I could do it justice. I selected an almond tuille (sweet nicely balanced with lemon), a ginger jelly (too firm) and a vanilla macaron (too sweet)... but being stuffed probably jaundiced my tastes - I didn't finish the last two.
Upon leaving, I regretted not selecting some of the chocolates and was delighted/grateful to be presented with a chocolate bar in a gift bag. I savored that chocolate (maybe not as good as Chuao or Porcelana but perfectly and beautifully tempered) for days.
I do want to go back here, but I don't know WHAT I would do about dessert. Repeat the best-ever? Or try something else? And you know, it was expensive, but totally worth it.
Finally: shout out to William, the HILARIOUS trust fund brat at the next table, for entertaining me with Obama bashing, knowing "everything" about restaurants and wines, and calling other people arrogant. I'm sorry for laughing. But it's totally your friends' fault for calling you out on every bit of your schtick!