Delano Las Vegas
3940 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Dining date: 4/27/17
Rivea opened in late 2015 atop the Delano Las Vegas, a re-conceptualization of the former Mix Restaurant and Lounge. Alain Ducasse remains the executive chef, bringing his French and Italian Riviera-inspired restaurant to The Strip. This is the third location of Rivea, after Saint-Tropez and London.
A tasting menu is available, 5 courses for $115, but our party of 5 decided to go a la carte.
Given the restaurant’s placement at the top of one of the southernmost hotels on the strip, views were impressive.
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
MGM Grand Hotel
3799 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Dining date: 4/26/17
On my most recent trip to Las Vegas, I chose to return to this restaurant for the first meal in town. This is Joel Robuchon’s more ‘casual’ concept next door to his eponymous fine dining establishment, which primarily features bar seating around the open kitchen. This was my second time dining here, although I have also dined at the Paris, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Taipei locations.
A few menu options are available, including 5-course and 6-course prix fixe menu options. A ‘seasonal discovery’ tasting menu is also available, 9 courses for $195. That’s the menu we opted for this evening.
Orsa & Winston
122 W 4th St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Dining date: 4/15/17
It’s been some time since I’ve been to Orsa & Winston. This was my third visit here and it seems like the restaurant hasn’t changed too much. The food is still very much Italian and Japanese-influenced, although the menu does appear to feature vegetables more prominently. This isn’t surprising, reflective of chef Jose Centeno’s latest desire to cook/eat (his latest concept, P.Y.T., is almost vegetarian).
$85 buys six courses here with a couple of optional supplements that change often. Some of the ‘extras’ – an amuse bouche, a pre-dessert, and mignardises kind of makes it feel like a nine courser before supplements. If that’s still not enough, there’s still a 20-course super omakase is still available at the bar with advance reservation.
On this evening we opted for the regular tasting menu, adding both supplements.
Cento Pasta Bar
128 E 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Dining dates: 2/4/17, 3/4/17, 4/1/17, 4/8/17
Cento Pasta Bar is a recurring pop-up restaurant in downtown’s Mignon space. At night, this is a French wine bar serving French small plates and wines, but during the day it’s a pasta bar (Wed-Sat). The menu is very focused; typically there’s a couple of appetizers and about three pastas on offer. The pasta offerings change weekly, though can change even daily depending on what the chef comes up with. Prices are very reasonable – pastas are in the $12-$18 range.
I’ve stopped in a number of times to try what’s cooking. Just about every seat at the restaurant is at the counter surrounding all the cooking. It’s great to be able to see the pastas come together right in front of you and be able to interact with the chef.
Tasty n Alder
580 SW 12th Ave
Portland, OR 97205
Dining date: 3/11/17
Brunch is supposedly a big deal in Portland on the weekends. Meeting up with an old friend, he suggested having brunch at this place, one of the most popular spots in town. Tasty n Alder is part of John and Renee Gorham’s restaurant group that owns and operates a number of concepts in town (Toro Bravo, Tasty n Sons). Even though we thought we got to the restaurant relatively early (9:30), our party of four still waited 90 minutes for a table (Heart Coffee Roasters across the street was a great place to kill some time).
738 E Burnside St
Portland, OR 97214
Dining date: 3/11/17
Gabriel Rucker’s Le Pigeon has been one of Portland’s most highly-regarded restaurants since 2006. Rucker was named a Food & Wine Best New Chef in 2007 and has won two James Beard awards – Rising Star Chef of the Year (2011) and Best Chef, Northwest (2013). The food here is French, modeled after an upscale bistro. Five and seven course tasting menus are available but we went a la carte for this meal after dedicating some stomach space to an earlier happy hour.
The restaurant is small; a handful of seats are available at the bar (for walk-ins only), while table seating is all communal.