Florilege (Tokyo, Japan)

Florilege
2-5-4 Jingumae B1
Shibuya 150-0001
Tokyo, Japan
Dining date: 11/9/18

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On this most recent trip to Japan, Florilege was the choice for our lone fine dining meal in the country. The Michelin two-star restaurant, ranked 59th best in the world, was opened in 2009 by Hiroyasu Kawate after cooking at well-known Quintessance.

One of the unique aspects of the restaurant is that the vast majority of the seats surround an open kitchen. Diners are able to watch all of the action, and dishes are served directly by the cooks.

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Twist by Pierre Gagnaire (Las Vegas, NV) [2]

Twist by Pierre Gagnaire
Waldorf Astoria
3752 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89158
Dining date: 9/1/18

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I’ve dined at Pierre Gagnaire’s Twist once before and have been meaning to return. Recently, the hotel housing the restaurant (Mandarin Oriental) was sold to the Hilton group and it’s been unclear how long Twist will be be around. I figured it would be a good chance to try the restaurant one more time.

The restaurant offers a number of tasting menus (5, 6, 7 courses), in addition to a la carte options. For this meal, we went with the six-course ($185). Some of the best view of The Strip are included – we were lucky enough to get a window table.

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Amber (Hong Kong)

Amber
The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel 7/F
11-19A Queen’s Road Central
Hong Kong
Dining date: 2/15/18

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Amber is a two Michelin starred restaurant at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental. Currently ranked #24 in the world’s 50 best restaurants list, it’s one of the most highly-regarded Western restaurants in Hong Kong. Here, chef Richard Ekkebus cooks modern French cuisine incorporating plenty of seasonal Asian ingredients. Given the vast majority of my meals in town have been Chinese, I elected to have one non-Asian lunch.

The restaurant offers a weekday lunch set menu of 3 of 4 courses (USD $76, $125), as well as a lunch degustation menu of 4 or 6 courses ($164, $189). The items on the degustation menu sounded much more interesting, so I opted for the 4-courser.

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Joel Robuchon (Las Vegas, NV) [2]

Joel Robuchon
MGM Grand
3799 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Dining date: 12/1/17

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I’ve been to Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas a number of times over the years, but my last visit was all the way back in 2011. I was in Los Vegas for the weekend thanks to a spontaneous trip, and was able to squeeze in a late Friday night reservation here.

The restaurant still serves an extravagant, marathon degustation tasting menu ($445, 16+ courses) but does offer more abbreviated menus with selections for each course. We went with the third of four tiers available, six courses (plus extras) priced at $198 before supplements.

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Melisse (Santa Monica, CA) [4]

Melisse
1104 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Dining date: 8/5/17

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It’s been a couple of years since I last dined at Melisse. One of the few real fine dining establishments left in the city, the restaurant is still going strong 18 years in. To celebrate their anniversary, the restaurant was running a promotional 4-course anniversary menu for $99 (it felt more like 7 courses). There were a couple of options for each course, giving us the ability to try a number of different menu offerings.

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Rivea (Las Vegas, NV)

Rivea
Delano Las Vegas
3940 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Dining date: 4/27/17

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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.

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Given the restaurant’s placement at the top of one of the southernmost hotels on the strip, views were impressive.

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