Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

Joël Robuchon
MGM Grand
3799 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Dining date: 3/28/11

6193996469 fd7459f613 Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

When people ask me what my favorite restaurants are, this one always comes up. I have been here twice before, and they are two of the most memorable meals I have ever had. I’m not alone; the restaurant gets the top rating in almost every culinary publication (3-star Michelin, Forbes 5-star, AAA Five Diamond, 19/20 on Gayot). It even garnered a rare 4-star review from LA Times critic S. Irene Virbila.

The restaurant is unabashedly extravagant, excessive really, starting with a complimentary limousine to the restaurant.

A number of a la carte options are available, as well as a 16-course tasting menu. The restaurant doesn’t necessitate the same menu for everyone, which I thought was really nice. As a result, my mom had a 4-course of her choosing, while my dad and I had the 16-course.

The first thing that came around was this amazing bread cart. Seriously, I’ve seen bakeries with less selection than this.

6193996523 7d028ccca2 Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

The picture isn’t even a full representation – there were more breads on lower shelves of the cart. I didn’t count, but I think there had to be around 20 varieties.

Given that I had 16 courses coming, I had to control myself a little here.

Milk bread (top) and Bacon epi

6193994649 54015b2999 Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

Olive oil bread (left) and Gruyere roll

6193994713 f136a45920 Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

These were all excellent – I especially liked the bacon bread because of the extra bacon-y flavor. But I also enjoyed the subtlety of the milk and olive oil bread.

Le Citron lemon and basil gelee, anise fennel cream

6194512378 2e4b6b2d25 Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

There was a bright citrus flavor here from the lemon, balanced nicely by the fennel cream. Just a little bit of basil flavor was a nice touch too – a good start.

Le Cerise cherry gazpacho with sheep ricotta and pistachios

6193994885 ed455047c9 Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

The gazpacho was slightly tart, but again balanced well with the creamy sheep’s milk ricotta. This was a rather unique meld of flavors, and I liked the crunchy pistachios as well.

Le Caviar green asparagus with lemon balm, delicate seafood gelee topped with smooth cauliflower cream, maki of thin couscous

6193994941 21f249b365 Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

This next dish was a trio of Osetra caviar dishes. First was quite simply asparagus with caviar. Perhaps not the most dynamic pairing, but the vegetal quality of the asparagus was an interesting pairing with the salty caviar.

6193995061 3a88429b2c Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

This was one of Robuchon’s signature dishes of a seafood gelee, cauliflower cream and caviar. Really good. The custard was warm and so soft, with a subtle but present seafood flavor. The cauliflower cream was a nice touch too, especially with the salty caviar.

6194512642 4e3a7b8983 Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

Lastly, a play on a sushi roll – looks like something Urasawa would serve. I really enjoyed the crunchy daikon and couscous in the roll, while the caviar really heightened the flavors.

La Noix de Saint Jacques seared scallop, heart of palm in coriander scented coconut milk

6194512766 15723f5b0a Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

So pretty. The scallop was cooked perfectly, and I enjoyed the broth with flavors from the coriander and creamy coconut milk.

Les Petits Pois light green pea veloute with peppermint on sweet onion cloud

6194512812 002b527cce Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

The ham made the difference for me in this soup. The pea-peppermint  flavor was well-balanced, while the richness of the ham really added some extra depth of flavor. Very good.

Les Crustacés lobster in sake broth with broccoli and nori, baby octopus in saffron rice, truffled langoustine ravioli

This was probably my favorite dish of the night. There were actually three parts – the lobster, baby octopus and the langoustine.

6193995425 62dd147d04 Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

First, the lobster was cooked well, with a tasty sake broth with a strong sea essence.

6193995315 3988c2d7fe Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

Secondly, this baby octopus on top of saffron rice was very much like paella, though a very well-executed one. The rice was a nice al dente with a vibrant saffron flavor; the octopus was cooked perfectly too, leaving it quite tender.

6193995369 1bf4318154 Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

Lastly, one of Robuchon’s signatures – langoustine ravioli, here topped with black truffle. Perhaps the best bites of the night, the ravioli was stuffed with chunks of langoustine, which was really tender, sweet and full of flavor. The black truffle added another dimension, with a more subtle earthiness; a haute surf-and-turf if you will. Excellent.

Le Black Cod black cod in daikon bouillon with yuzu

6193995467 cda41f0013 Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

Compared to the previous courses, this wasn’t quite as exciting. The black cod was prepared beautifully, served with tender daikon and some nice citrus from the yuzu. Well-executed, but I felt I’d had these flavors on the same plate before.

Le Chou crispy fried cabbage with vegetable medley

6194513132 b99edfdf4b Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

The cabbage was really nicely crisped and kind of sweet. The carrots, artichokes and morels were all very good, though I’m not sure the composed dish was greater than the sum of its parts.

Le Volaille farm chicken supreme with foie gras, fricassee of young leeks

6194513300 ede076394f Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

There were two parts here – foie gras stuffed chicken and a grilled yakitori-style chicken. I thought the stuffed chicken was a bit dense and not the most flavorful, but the foie gras was very good; meltingly rich and flavorful. The chicken prepared yakitori-style was delicious – tender, moist and just a little smoky.

We requested a side of Robuchon’s famous mashed potatoes (pommes puree) as well – really rich and creamy, these were excellent. Lots of fat, for sure.

6193995647 4acd356d98 Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

Les Pousses de Soja risotto of soybeans sprouts, lime zest and chives

6194513376 7f61fe05b6 Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

This was an interesting dish – soybean sprouts were prepared in a sort of faux risotto. Instead of rice, the sprouts gave a little bit of a more ‘fresh’ flavor and were still kind of starchy. I’m not sure how they got the richness of a risotto as well, but this was a very successful “low-carb” variation of the dish.

L’Amande light almond panna cotta, tahitian vanilla pineapple

6193995829 2b463759c9 Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

This was the first dessert course. The panna cotta was delicious; light and smooth with a good almond flavor. I found the hazelnuts to be a little overpowering though because the almond flavor was so subtle.

Before the next course, a cart of fresh herbs came by. Spearmint, lemongrass and thyme were available for a customized herbal tea. I’d never seen anything like this before, and was super excited to try my thyme-spearmint concoction!

6193996041 c417bbeb2b Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

La Framboise fresh raspberries and ginger infused sorbet, crunchy honey tuile

6193995967 40c4f32262 Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

The flavors here were reminiscent of strawberry shortcake, only with raspberries. It wasn’t too sweet, which was good, and I thought the subtle ginger flavor in the sorbet nicely balanced the raspberries.

Le Moka – Le Thé escortés de mignardises

6194513664 240a974420 Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

Lastly, the mignardises cart came by. The selection was (predictably) rather extensive. I only tried a few here as stomach room was limited.

6194513824 492b7b4e4b Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

6194513742 e0966ca3e6 Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

Pistachio nougat and chocolate opera cake are centered in each picture; each sweet I tried was pretty good and a nice ending to the meal. I just wonder where they all go once service ends for the night.

Lastly, a bag with the menu, a brochure of the restaurant and a pistachio-pomegranate bread was given to the females…in this case, we got one.

6193996393 f6a98b0481 Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

6193996329 bf4e9f635d Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV)

This was an excellent meal. Thinking back though, there weren’t any dishes that were truly amazing, except for maybe the langoustine ravioli and the trio of caviar. For the cost (the tasting menu was $385), I might have expected just a little more. I had very high expectations and it didn’t disappoint, but it didn’t ‘wow’ either. Still, it was definitely a memorable meal – the sheer opulence almost guarantees that. However, I don’t find myself in such a hurry to go back as I do with Urasawa or The French Laundry.


Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV) — 20 Comments

    • Hard to say Ryan. Maybe? I think part of it was that, having been a couple of times, there were less surprises. Or my memory of meals were romanticized in my mind.

  1. Great post dude. But I guess it’s Joel Robuchon, I expected more creative stuff from them. Nevertheless, it seems like you still had a good time.

    • Thanks! It was a great time, but the reputation comes along with really high expectations, and it probably gets harder and harder to meet them.

  2. I would’ve been disappointed when the black cod showed up (I have never had bad black cod with some variation of Asian flavoring), but some of the stuff looks interesting. Wow, though, for $385 you should have your mind blown with every bite.

    • Seriously – Asian-flavored black cod has become one of those standard dishes that most restaurants can execute fairly well now. Definitely was a little surprising to see that on the menu.

  3. “However, I don’t find myself in such a hurry to go back as I do with Urasawa or The French Laundry.”

    well put. as i left TFL i immediately wondered when i could return haha

    • Yeah I just didn’t have quite the same impression this time. With TFL, I feel like whenever you can somehow get a reservation, you have to consider it.

  4. It had the looks of an epic meal, but it’s a shame that it wasn’t, especially at that price tag! I think I really need to find my way to TFL. I loved the meal at Per Se, but I’m in no hurry to go back. BTW, that bread cart looked pretty amazing! How was that herb tea?

    • The bread cart IS amazing! I thought the herb tea was a nice touch, it tasted pretty much as expected. It’s really just fresh herbs and hot water.

      And yeah, you do need to find your way to French Laundry. I’ve never been to Per Se, but I think the Yountville “feel” to the meal does make it very different.

  5. My wife and I have reservations in June. We are looking forward to it since it’s our first time there. Would you recommend doing the 16 coarse or ala carte?

    • I think that decision will depend on personal preference (if you prefer certain menu items over others) and quite frankly, how much you’re looking to spend. At a restaurant of this caliber, I tend to always recommend going with the tasting on the first visit. The four-course a la carte is still close to $200, so you would definitely get more “tastes for your buck” on the 16-course.

      Let me know how it is!

Leave a Reply!