Thomas Keller's
Las Vegas, Nevada           Date of Visit: 12/18/09        

If you follow food, you have heard the name. If you watch the foodies on TV, you have seen them reduced to blithering idiots tripping over themselves in praise of Thomas Keller. Well, it was time to see what all the hype is about. A 10th anniversary seemed like a great reason to go to Napa and dine at the French Laundry. After considering many reasons we decided to start easy and travel to Vegas where we could eat at Bouchon and try a number of other places as well. Maybe the Laundry for the 15th anniversary.

So was it worth it? Let's just say you can never build something up so much and expect it to live up to expectations. Which was the case here. Now knowing the limits of my expectations I fear my dreams are not as extravagant as they could be. In this case, not even approaching the reality of the Keller experience. Yes, that's right friends, Thomas Keller has turned me into a simpering sycophantic moron as well. Scoff all you want, just be sure to keep it to yourself until you have tried this stuff. Crow is not as yummy as it might sound. 



While waiting for beverages we were presented a baguette and a small ceramic dish of pistachios. Hungry, since we had been avoiding using any empty space, I quickly shelled a nut and...uh...I don't really know how to.... Okay, here is the thing. If you fear black magic or sorcery of any kind stay clear of this place. I don't know how they do what they do at Bouchon, but the stupid Pistachio was already blowing my mind. I have to assume it was freshly roasted because I have never tasted anything remotely like it. The bread was crispy and beautiful and accompanied by a butter which would make my cardiologist weep. Throughout the evening service was impeccable but relaxed. As you might imagine, we tend to stand out somewhat from people who eat in restaurants like this every night. Not once did I ever catch a sideways glance, a roll of the eyes, or any indication that we were less valued or welcome than any other guest. Our server, though French, was pleasant and helpful from beginning to end. Everyone smiles and it appears legitimate, as their smiles genuinely grow when you smile back. I find this mixture of refinement and lack of pretense very rare and wonderful.
  Salads were beautiful with well balanced dressings that made perfect sense. Being a French Bistro I thought I would work toward my best understanding of Bistro style food and was rewarded with an appetizer of artery clogging Paté de Campagne. The pate is so rich I first thought I would be unable to finish even my appetizer, but it was just to good to leave any behind. My wife ordered the Crispy Lamb Rillette off of the daily's, which was delightful. I couldn't eat more than a bite of her's as the richness of the beans would likely have killed me after the paté.
Salade de Cresson et d' Endive

Salade de Frisée aux Lardons

For an entre, I enjoyed a decadent Boudin Noir but I need to talk about my wife's dinner. Recommended by the server, and initially mocked by yours truly, she ordered the chicken. Yes friends, I know...why would you go to a restaurant like this and order chicken. Because it will change your idea of what chicken can be, that is why. Assuming it is cooked sous-vide due to the unbelievably lush texture, I can't for the life of me figure out how they created such a tasty browning on the exterior. Wizardry again. As for the Boudin Noir, the potato puree was magical and the caramelized apples kept everything from becoming so ridiculous I could keep eating. Ridiculous in and of itself.
Paté de Campagne

Crispy Lamb Rillette

Boudin Noir
To add to the sense of the absurd an additional side was required. For years I have heard tale of the pommes frites. We all know them as French Fries. Anthony Bourdain poured wine all over his table in righteous disgust as to how good these fried taters are purported to be. They are beyond doubt fabulous. I cannot go so far as to say the best I've ever had, but the time taken in multiply fryings in peanut oil is certainly sends them towards the top of the list. Crispy outside and light, fluffy, and starchy inside, in the pantheon of all things deep fried delicious.


Pommes Frites

Poulet Rôti


Cherry Sorbet

Speaking of ice cream, when our server asked if we had saved room for dessert my wife replied "No, but we are going to have some anyways." A wise decision. Not being able to fit anything else solid in my gullet, I opted to try the Cherry Sorbet. The other reason for doing so was I have heard that in single flavored dishes, Keller distills so many aspects of the original into his creation it can at times taste more say, Cherry than an actual cherry. I call BS. That is of course until I tried the sorbet. It was nearly as though it were standing on my shoulder and screaming in my ear "CHERRY!!!! I'm CHERRY!!!" My wife had an absolutely heavenly Egg Nog Infused Pot de Creme that was as smooth and tasty as any custard I have ever tried. All of this for less than half of what we expected to spend for the night!!!

Pot de Creme

It may be magic. The food might not be that good. I could be delusional. They might be pumping some sort of gas into the restaurant, it is in a casino after all. I don't care. Not even a little bit. If I am delusional let me live on happily in this particular madness. Easily one of, if not the best meal of my life. If you are looking for a location to mark a special  occasion and you have access to a Keller restaurant, do yourself a favor, make a reservation and don't eat beforehand.




What's Best

What's Worst

  A+ A+ A+ A+ A+ A+  
        Name it Only Disappointment is
Having to Leave
All Restaurants By Ranking Restaurants By Date These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things Steph's Favorite Things
Home List of Restaurants by City The Ratings What's Rated Random Thoughts