(Also at TWHT/RateVegas)
Hello, again! I'm back with a very special report from a very special place... A place that can boast of "The Chef of the Century"! Yes, my dears, I did lunch at Joel Robuchon's place. He, along with his right-hand men from Vegas AND Paris, did the cooking.
Both of Joel Robuchon's MGM Grand restaurants, Joel Robuchon at The Mansion and L'Atelier, feel distinctly removed from the usual hustle and bustle of the massive MGM Grand complex. L'Atelier feels like an elegant, but still approachable, Euro modern bar with a lovely zinc bar and great views of the kitchen. The Mansion, meanwhile, feels like a luxurious penthouse one would have found in Paris in the 1930s. As always, I have plenty of pics of the digs, the food, and the chefs (including one of moi with Mr. "Chef of the Century" himself!) at my Twitpic @atdleft.
We started off with an actual cooking show at L'Atelier. None other than Joel Robuchon himself was leading the class, teaching us how to do langoustine fritters and seared beef just as he would serve right there at L'Atelier... With his Paris and Vegas crews there to do "sous chef duties" and translate his French instructions into English.
Since we don't have forever, I won't bore you too much with the cooking class details. Let's just say Robuchon doesn't do things the way most of us Americans typically cook. Wait on the salt, don't overdo the garlic, give the meat some time after pulling it out of the refrigerator, and always remember to cook with love. :-D
After the cooking demonstration, we were whisked away to The Mansion for some fine French Champagne with none other than Joel Robuchon himself. And yes, I obviously had a chance to meet him and snap a quick pic. Let me just say he isn't actually as intimidating as person as you'd think Mr. "Chef of the Century" "More Michelin Stars Than Anyone Else Around!" would be. Dare I say he was actually quite the charmer? He even did a toast with us!
OK, so let's get to the food! Here's what you've been waiting for:
- The amuse bouche was a lovely small plate of grapefruit gelee and avocado creme. It may sound odd, but the rich and creamy avocado balances surprisingly well the strong tart of the grapefruit.
- The langoustine fritters were amazing! The langoustine itself still tasted fresh and direct-from-the-sea, while the batter was light and didn't overwhelm the langoustine.
- The beef ribeye was seasoned simply with mainly just salt, pepper, onion, and garlic... And that's all it needed, as the natural beef flavors were singing a beautiful melody with my taste buds! The wasabi spinach that accompanied packed a nice punch, alongside the hearty mushrooms, asparagus, and green & red bell peppers.
- The strawberry panacotta was simply divine, with a simple panacotta that was surprisingly made from heavy cream and yogurt, along with real vanilla beans (which we had a chance to smell and feel during the cooking show!). The strawberry basil couli lovingly highlighted the natural sweetness of the fruit and the basil without any type of "sugar overload".
- And finally, we were served a fantastic 2008 Sancerre Loire Valley white wine with lunch. It had a nice fruity taste, with some floral highlights. This especially matched the langoustine fritters well.
So I hope I answered all your questions on today's fabulous Joel Robuchon luncheon at L'Atelier and The Mansion. And in case you didn't get enough here, check out my tweets @atdleft for more of my thoughts on today's luncheon, as well as my game plan for The Grand Tasting at Caesars Palace's newly renovated Garden of the Gods pool oasis tonight. Bon appetit!