Twist by Pierre Gagnaire (Las Vegas, NV)

Twist by Pierre Gagnaire
Mandarin Oriental
3752 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89158
Dining date: 5/8/15

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I first dined at a Pierre Gagnaire restaurant in Tokyo a few years ago and enjoyed it. Gagnaire’s restaurant in Vegas has been open since 2009 (the only one in America), but it took me a full 6 years to visit. Part of it was my parents’ less-than-stellar impression of the restaurant during their first visit, but they were game to give the restaurant a second try.

The restaurant’s located on the 23rd floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. It’s a beautiful restaurant providing beautiful views for any table next to a window. The grand tasting menu offers four courses for $135 and five for $155. However, ‘courses’ is used very conservatively; our five course meal could easily have been called twelve with all of the extras. Even more approachable is a four course vegetarian tasting at $70 (five for $85), which presumably also includes a bunch of additional plates. A very reasonable way to try a Pierre Gagnaire restaurant.

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Just after receiving the menus, we were presented with a flurry of amuse bouches as well as the bread and butter selection.

AMUSE BOUCHE 1 french radish; goat cheese tart with gin martini gelee; american wagyu tartare with mustard

french radish; goat cheese tart with gin martini gelee; american wagyu tartare with mustard

AMUSE BOUCHE 2 parmesan sable with green apple tuile; castelvetrano olives

parmesan sable with green apple tuile; castelvetrano olives

bread and butter

This presentation was definitely the greatest array of pre-ordering bites I’ve seen in a while (or ever). My favorites had to be the gin martini in jelly form, beef tartare with mustard, and the buttery-cheesy parmesan sable.

ABSINTHE MINDED Kaffir Lime Vodka, Gin, Lemon Juice, Simple Syrup, Cucumber, Absinthe

ABSINTHE MINDED Kaffir Lime Vodka, Gin, Lemon Juice, Simple Syrup, Cucumber, Absinthe

PRINTEMPS Haddock, Hamachi, Smoked Eel Wrapped in Lettuce on a Bed of Asparagus Custard, Diced Pear and Pomelo Topped with Caviar

PRINTEMPS Haddock, Hamachi, Smoked Eel Wrapped in Lettuce on a Bed of Asparagus Custard, Diced Pear and Pomelo Topped with Caviar

This dish was spring on a plate. I actually liked the asparagus custard and broccoli ice cream, which played really well with the salinity of the caviar. Smoky eel and yellowtail added another dimension of flavor, while the thinly shaved radishes and asparagus provided some crisp texture. A really nice dish.

MAINE LOBSTER Lobster Tail and Rillettes with Ginger, Braised Baby Carrots and Enoki Mushrooms, Green Tea Butter

MAINE LOBSTER Lobster Tail and Rillettes with Ginger, Braised Baby Carrots and Enoki Mushrooms, Green Tea Butter

This lobster was sweet, spongy with ginger accents to go along with the carrots and enoki mushrooms.

TURBOT Grilled French Turbot Fillet, Poached in Nantais Butter, Shellfish, Avocado and Leeks

TURBOT Grilled French Turbot Fillet, Poached in Nantais Butter, Shellfish, Avocado and Leeks

The turbot was a rich fish, buttery with leeks and warm chunks of avocado. The plump sweet clams were pretty tasty, too.

INTERMEZZO pineapple, cucumber, grapefruit, piment d’espelette

intermezzo

Before our last savory course, we were served this bright, refreshing intermezzo.

PEPPERED AMERICAN WAGYU BEEF Piquillos Purée and Diced Turnip, Dauphine Potatoes and Speck Ham, Sauce Violine

PEPPERED AMERICAN WAGYU BEEF Piquillos Purée and Diced Turnip, Dauphine Potatoes and Speck Ham, Sauce Violine

The filet was certainly tender, though didn’t have a whole lot of flavor on its own given the relatively lean cut. However, the piquillo pepper puree provided a bulk of flavor. The dauphine potatoes were delicious with its creamy mashed potato inside and crispy exterior with just a little pork accent from the speck.

JAPANESE WAGYU 4OZ STRIP LOIN Piquillos Purée and Diced Turnip, Dauphine Potatoes and Speck Ham, Sauce Violine

JAPANESE WAGYU 4OZ STRIP LOIN Piquillos Purée and Diced Turnip, Dauphine Potatoes and Speck Ham, Sauce Violine

My dad opted for the $75 supplement, which substituted out the American wagyu tenderloin for Japanese wagyu strip loin from Kyushu. Same accompanying flavors, but the difference in the beef’s flavor and richness was clear in this significantly more marbled cut.

The dessert course was more like four courses, all individually plated and arriving at the same time.

GRAND DESSERT PIERRE GAGNAIRE

GRAND DESSERT PIERRE GAGNAIRE

Chestnut Ice Cream, Cheese Cake Mousseline, Cassis Marmalade and Almond Nougatine

Chestnut Ice Cream, Cheese Cake Mousseline, Cassis Marmalade and Almond Nougatine

Vanilla Ice Cream, Green Apple Foam, Mango Coulis and Fruits

Vanilla Ice Cream, Green Apple Foam, Mango Coulis and Fruits

Caramelized Pears with Fresh Strawberry, Passion Fruit, Shortbread and Lemon Meringue

Caramelized Pears with Fresh Strawberry, Passion Fruit, Shortbread and Lemon Meringue

Orange Biscuit with Dulcey Chocolate, Ganache with Grand Marnier

Orange Biscuit with Dulcey Chocolate, Ganache with Grand Marnier

These were all pretty good with my favorite being the play on strawberry shortcake with pears and shortbread. The vanilla ice cream with green apple foam and mango was a close second, though.

MIGNARDISES hazelnut vanilla macaron, chocolate with caramale and kahlua, apple tart

mignardises

To complete the meal, each diner was served one more plate of a trio of sweets.

My parents and I all enjoyed our meal at Pierre Gagnaire. The menu was creative and execution on point; most importantly the food was pretty delicious. Service was strong too, as expected from this caliber of restaurant. Price-wise, I thought it more than fair considering the decor and food especially compared to other Michelin three-star French chefs Savoy and Robuchon’s fine dining spots on the strip.

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