Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Las Vegas Epic 2011 - Bouchon, Las Vegas review

The menu - no longer wrapped around the napkin
We only had two ‘posh’ meals out during our week in Vegas. The first was Delmonico and the second was Thomas Keller’s Bouchon. Thomas Keller is a bit of a big deal. He’s the only chef in America to have 2 restaurants with 3 Michelin stars. Also he was the consultant chef on Disney’s Ratatouille. I’ll let you decide which of these 2 facts is cooler. As it’s unlikely I’m going to be passing through the Napa Valley or New York anytime soon, Bouchon cemented its place on my Las Vegas List.

You’ve probably guessed from the name that Bouchon is a French restaurant. In fact, and this was news to me, a Bouchon is a traditional type of restaurant found exclusively in Lyon.  According to my old friend Wikipedia, “the emphasis in a bouchon is not on haute cuisine but, rather, a convivial atmosphere and a personal relationship with the owner.” I’d say this little nugget sums up our experience at Bouchon perfectly.

Bouchon Cocktail
Whilst we perused the menu, rather niftily printed on brown paper and wrapped around the napkin, Mrs G and I took the opportunity to sample a couple of cocktails. I opted for the Bouchon cocktail, a peach flavoured vodka cocktail, on the presumption that it must be good because they put their name on it. Meanwhile Mrs G opted for the Tonic & Gin, a posh version of the aforementioned made using organic quinine powder instead of tonic water. The first thing that hit us about both the drinks was how strong they were. Don’t get me wrong, once we’d acclimatised to them they were very tasty, but I wouldn’t expect to encounter what I call the ‘student house party’ measure outside of its natural habitat.

So onto the food....

Pre-dinner nibbles were delicious warm, crisp pistachio nuts and proper crusty, chewy French bread.

Roast Chicken($29.75) – I often take this dish for granted as it doesn’t have the razzamatazz of a piece of duck or even lamb. However when cooked with masterful precision, like it was here, it’s really hard to beat.  The chicken was perfectly tender & full of flavour, the skin was delicate & crisp whilst the accompaniments of lardons, fingerling potatoes, sweetcorn, chicken jus and a herby sauce really set it off.

Pork Belly ($39) – Mrs G opted for the glazed pork belly with apricots. The tender pork worked well with the sharp sweetness of the apricots. It’s most certainly a nice change to apple sauce. All in all a very good dish but I always think it’s a shame not to include crackling with pork. I also had a bit of a gripe with the dishes’ hefty $39 price tag. It was the most expensive main dish on the menu. Perhaps there’s something I’m missing about the price of pork belly in the US?

Bouchons ($12) – After the excesses of the week so far, Mrs G wisely passed up on dessert. As someone less evolved, who hasn’t learnt to ignore the warning signified by the onset of stomach cramps, I snatched at the dessert menu. I opted for the special which consisted of mini chocolate brownies, pistachio ice-cream, cherry sauce, pistachio powder and fresh cherries. There was also a hint of almond liqueur lurking in the background somewhere. Bazinga. The brownies were perfectly crisp on the outside and flecked inside with melted chocolate chips. However, I think the sponge could have been a bit gooier.

We loved the hearty food being dished up at Bouchon. Alongside the friendly & knowledgeable waiting staff and the impressive dining room it really gave the experience a sense of authenticity. We managed to forget for a couple of hours that really we were in the middle of a Venetian themed hotel in the middle of the Nevada desert. 

Putting our feet up after dinner
The Details: Bouchon, The Venetian Hotel, 3355 South Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89109

No comments:

Post a Comment