DB Brasserie (Las Vegas, NV)

DB Brasserie
3355 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Dining date: 5/8/14

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Daniel Boulud’s re-entry into Las Vegas was this past month, when he opened DB Brasserie at the Venetian Hotel. His first venture, Daniel Boulud Brasserie at the Wynn, did not last too long closing four years ago. I actually dined there on its last night of service, and came full circle to dine here during its grand opening. While the restaurant technically began service at the end of April, it timed its grand opening with Vegas Uncork’d week for maximum impact.

In a city where seemingly every big-name chef has a presence, it seemed as if it was just a matter of time until Daniel Boulud returned to Las Vegas with another restaurant. The remaining question was what type of place it would be – a bastion of fine cuisine modeled after NYC’s Daniel, a reincarnation of Boulud’s old brasserie serving French bistro classics, or something entirely different? As it turns out, Boulud’s latest is similar to his last Vegas venture in both name and menu, focusing in on French fare in a casual environment. There are some American influences too however, most notably in a menu section devoted to some of Boulud’s burgers.

This post recaps two parts of the same evening – the grand opening party and a “regular” sit down meal. I brought my mother as a +1 to the grand opening, meeting up with the rest of the family for dinner.

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Marche Moderne (Costa Mesa, CA)

Marche Moderne
3333 Bristol St
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Dining date: 3/30/14

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After having dinner at Studio the previous night during a quick weekend trip, Marche Moderne was our choice for lunch on the way back from LA. Known for its upscale French bistro food in South Coast Plaza (which really takes mall food up a few notches), the restaurant offers a notable three-course daily lunch menu for $25.

Marche Moderne offers all the items one expects from a French bistro from cheese & charcuterie to a large selection steeped in French classics to some modernized, Californian dishes. The prix-fixe for lunch offers a soup or salad, a plated meat or fish main course and a small dessert. Between two people, it’s possible to sample all of the options on the prix-fixe menu…which is what we did.

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L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon (Taipei, Taiwan)

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
Bellavita Mall 5F
No. 28, Song Ren Rd, Xinyi District
Taipei, Taiwan
Dining date: 2/9/14

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I’m not sure how it really originated, but I’ve made it a point to dine at Joel Robuchon’s L’Atelier wherever there is one where I’ve traveled. My first visit was to the original Paris location seven years ago now (a restaurant that has maintained a top 25 spot in the highly-subjective Pellegrino Best Restaurants in the World list all these years), and have visited locations in Las Vegas, London, Tokyo and now Taipei.

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The decor at this location, located in the upscale Bellavita mall, is very similar to the others – red and black color-scheme and an open kitchen surrounded by bar seats. We dropped in for a leisurely weekend lunch; fixed menu options range from 1260NTD/~42USD up to 2880NTD/~96USD. We each ordered different menus and I went somewhere in the middle.

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Salon de The de Joel Robuchon (Taipei, Taiwan)

Salon de The de Joel Robuchon
Bellavita Mall 3F
No. 28 Song Ren Road
Taipei, Taiwan
Dining date: 2/6/14

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For my first meal in Taipei (which happened to be solo), I figured I’d ease into it by dining somewhere sort of familiar and possibly more Western-friendly (turns out Taipei has been one of the more English-friendly international cities I’ve been to). Joel Robuchon has two restaurants in Taipei, his ‘casual’ L’Atelier and his even more casual Salon de The. Plans to dine at L’Atelier were already booked later in the trip, so I stopped by the Salon for lunch.

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Similar to my experiences with La Boutique de Joel Robuchon in Tokyo, the Salon de The includes a retail patisserie serving a fairly large variety of breads, pastries, cookies and sweets. Definitely a nice stop for a quick treat.

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Melisse (Santa Monica, CA)

Melisse
1104 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Dining date: 1/24/14

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Melisse, like the restaurant of my last post Providence, is oft-considered one of the best restaurants in the city for its French-Californian cuisine. It’s truly one of the few refined fine dining destinations that has survived through all the food trends Los Angeles has seen since it’s opening in 1999. Like Providence, Melisse garnered 2 Michelin stars in the last guide; while I have been familiar with Providence ever since it opened, my first visit to Melisse didn’t come until a relatively late 2010. I’ve now had a few meals here (including a very memorable Farewell to Foie last year) and have thoroughly enjoyed them.

The impetus for this dinner was the restaurant’s participation in dineLA’s new $85 price level, an opportune time for 4 friends’ first visit. As with many dineLA options I wondered – what type of meal would Melisse provide at this lower price point? Would it still reflect a ‘regular’ Melisse experience? I was pleasantly surprised on both counts.

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Keiko à Nob Hill (San Francisco, CA)

Keiko à Nob Hill
1250 Jones St
San Francisco, CA 94109
Dining date: 12/1/13

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My dad’s mentioned Keiko à Nob Hill a number of times in the past as a potential restaurant, but we didn’t try it until this most recent trip to celebrate some November birthdays. Chef Keiko Takahashi and partner Seigo Takei opened the restaurant at the end of 2011; while there hasn’t been a ton of buzz surrounding the place, it has garnered a Michelin star in the last couple of guides.

Located in the ritzy Nob Hill neighborhood and in the old location of the venerable Charles Nob Hill restaurant, it looks and feels very expensive. Especially with their tasting-menu only and fusion French/Japanese fine dining. However, its 6-7 course menu is priced at a not-unreasonable $95 a head and comes with some of the best service I’ve had in any restaurant recently.

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