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.
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.
6221 Franklin Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Dining date: 11/19/16
I really like Papilles’ concept. A $38 three course menu is served daily with multiple options for each course. The menu, influenced by the French bistronomy movement, changes constantly. This evening’s menu featured a squash salad with an optional upgrade to foie gras torchon and a main course of prawns, hangar steak or duck breast.
155 W 51st St
New York, NY 10019
Dining date: 9/26/16
I’ve been to Le Bernardin once, dining on the chefs tasting menu in the main dining room. This time, I came to try more of Eric Ripert’s seafood-centric cuisine in the bar/lounge area.
The restaurant serves the full menu in the lounge, as well as a ‘City Harvest menu’ for lunch. This fixed menu offers three courses (two options for each) for $49, with $5 of that going to a local organization called City Harvest (which helps feed the city’s underprivileged). Given that $49 could be the price of just one entree in the main dining room, this seemed like a great price point to drop in for lunch on a few courses.
10 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019
Dining date: 9/25/16
I’ve dined in Per Se’s dining room once, but this was my first time dining at the restaurant’s lounge, called the Salon. In the Salon, right outside the main dining room, the restaurant offers an a la carte version of that day’s tasting menu. Desserts are also offered a la carte, as well as a dessert tasting menu priced at $70 for 5 courses. I picked out a few items from the evening’s menu – one appetizer, a fish, a meat and a dessert.
The Salon offers the same view as the main dining room.
9 W 53rd St
New York, NY 10019
Dining date: 9/24/16
This was my first time dining at The Modern, which just re-opened a day prior after a full kitchen remodel. The restaurant’s been abuzz in the last year, as one of the most prominent NYC restaurants to move away from tipping (they call it “hospitality-included”), a pricing model that many others are contemplating. The restaurant also garnered two Michelin stars in the 2016 guide, an elevation from its previous one-star status over the past few years.
The current dining room menu offers four courses for $158 and a $208 eight-course tasting (the bar serves a more casual a la carte menu). I went with the four-courser after having a late lunch at Xi’an Famous Foods earlier in the day.