After eating Joe’s and Michael Mina meals back to back, it was time for a moderately sized meal. It was time to reel it back and settle down. This was attempted at Sushi Samba located in The Shoppes in The Palazzo hotel.
I kept it light by sharing a seaweed salad and a tasting plate of seviches and tiraditos (a peruvian dish made up of sliced, raw fish marinated in lime juice; similar to seviche without the addition of onions thus resulting in a subtler taste)
Top Left: Jumbo Shrimp passionfruit, cucumber, cilantro
Top Right: Yellowtail ginger, garlic, soy
Bottom Left: Kanpachi yuzu, sea salt, black truffle oil
Bottom Right:Tuna grapefruit juice, jalapeño, almond
Fresh fish, clean flavors, many textures, small plates = the best way to eat (for me)
Sushi finished out the meal (yes, the same sushi I was dreaming about during my juice cleanse:
Spicy tuna roll, salmon avocado riceless handroll, shrimp tempura roll, uni ikura = a happy family
Also, since it’s vacation I just HAD to get a mocktail:
Citrusy sweetness with fresh mint = awesome
Successfully edited lunch, although I did see a couple of people who had very heavy lunches while walking back to the hotel.
A few hours later it was time for my momentous meal at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon. If you’re a Top Chef fan, you already know Mr. Robuchon was named the ‘chef of the century’. And you clearly saw how well-regarded he is by both his peers, young chefs, and the food nerd world. If you’ve read any of OctoSquid’s previous posts, you also know how pretty the chef’s food looks and the level of detailed care put into each and every plate.
After walking a solid mile inside the MGM Hotel, you will find the 2 Robuchon restaurants side by side. Walk into the hipper looking restaurant with tones of black and red:
If you recall, I didn’t have the guts or the budget to enter the greatness of The Mansion.
Anyway, once you are seated at the bar it’s hard not to take notice of the surroundings:
Dried legumes and brightly colored produce was arranged around the room inviting me to head into a foodie wonderland. I was Alice in a French, culinary-loving, wonderful land. I was ready to hit the ground running.
After much, much, far too much research, I had settled on the Discovery Menu. Here goes:
L’AMUSE-BOUCHE: opted out of the Foie gras parfait with port wine and parmesan foam for something without animal organs.
Looks like there is some eggplant, zucchini, red pepper, herbs. Forgive me in advance, I don’t remember a ton from this meal because it was the cream in my Oreo sandwich of fabulous meals – meaning it sort of got lost.
LE SAUMON FUME: Smoked salmon in an herb gelée with a light wasabi cream
Can you even believe this is food? Edible food? It’s so interesting to look at – I stared down at the food like Fatty McFatterson in Mallrats trying to see a sailboat in a Magic Eye poster.
I’m not going to lie about the dish, even for my good friend, salmon. The texture was weird. Jello mixed with salmon chunks. The wasabi cream/green sauce was excellent and spicy/herb-y, but I wasn’t won over. I appreciated the artistic elements and the intriguing techniques, but my tongue didn’t get that swagger.
LES HUITRES: Poached baby Kusshi oysters with French « Echiré » butter
This was pretty simple, which is how I believe oysters should be. The butter was a nice touch, and one that I am not accustomed to when eating raw shellfish. Added a richness factor to the briny, slimy creatures.
LE HOMARD: Maine lobster in a tomato sauce and green asparagus
Now we’re talking. If I remember correctly, the top picture is the full portion (what Lauren got) and the bottom pic is my tasting menu serving. This rocked it out – big claws, spicy tomato sauce, pops of green color in asparagus form. Loved this course, but didn’t feel the larger portion was worth the $60 odd dollars we paid.
Didn’t get the foie gras ravioli, so instead they gave me this:
LES ANCHOIS: Fresh marinated anchovies with sliced eggplant confit
As I mentioned in the past, anchovies with eggplant confit, a perfect rectangle is formed with strips of anchovies and red pepper sauce covering the buttery (in texture, not taste), creamy eggplant. Chives and onions for garnish.
I would put this photo in a frame in my living room.
LA SOLE: Dover Sole with a warm leek salad and crispy potato
Huge improvement from Michael Mina’s version. Crisped fish skin, paired with soft fish flesh, and a couple of crunchy potato chips on the side. Cooked like only a trained chef could cook it.
Instead of the lamb/quail course I got:
LE KAMPACHI: Lightly seared kampachi with crispy onion rings
Another homerun! Just enough sauce, with the fantastic combination of the mild flavored fish and the bold flavors of capers, olives, and onion rings. It tasted delicious, but I can’t articulate much more (Oreo affect).
Time for dessert:
LE SAVARIN:pastry soaked in aged run with a tahitian vanilla cream.
This dish did not leave a lasting impression. I’m forcefully trying to remember it by staring at the photo to no avail. The cream was excellent and very vanilla bean-y (see the speckles?). Also, it was fun to try edible metallics (gold). Still….not for me.
LA FRAISE: Strawberry meringue around a fennel parfait and creme fraiche ice cream
Unreal – loved everything about it. Melt in your mouth strawberry flavored meringue, hint of savory herbs surrounding a clean tasting, cold, creamy, iced, cream. The garnish made it super fun to eat, and I absolutely love colored dust that tastes good.
Not part of my tasting, yet I must include Lauren’s dessert.
LE CHOCOLAT: Chocolate sensation, « crémeux » Araguani, Oreo cookie crumbs
Mesmerized by the gold, I loved this masterpiece before I tried a bite. A true case of eating with your eyes. Love at first sight. It was sweet and creamy, but also had the crunch factor from the chocolate disc, and a bit of tartness from the fruity gel dots on top.
And because the French can’t end without coffee:
which came with an original, monogrammed chocolate.
What a day. Don’t even ask me how I ate a big lunch AND dinner the following day…..DAD!