Martin Gero knows his food, knows what he likes, and, more importantly, knows what I like when it comes to food – so his dining recommendations are to be given serious consideration.  When Martin found out I’d be visiting Vegas, he insisted I visit two restaurants – the scenes of some of his most spectacular meals: Guy Savoy (booked for Thursday night) and Joel Robuchon.  

Now I dined at Chateau Joel Robuchon in Ebisu a couple of years ago and, despite it being the final meal on an exhausting culinary excursion of Tokyo, it was a very memorable visit.  Add to this the fact that I just finished re-watching Top Chef Vegas which, in one episode, featured the man himself, Joel Robuchon, Chef of the Century, as well as his lush, royal purple restaurant, and the prospect of following up on Martin’s suggestion became as obvious as truffle oil with squash risotto.

Joel Robuchon is located in the MGM Grand, a short hop, skip, and one loooong jump from where we’re staying at the Venetian – so we cabbed it and, unlike Monday’s dinner reservation, arrived well on time.   

We were seated and offered the menus, but immediately informed the Maitre D we were decided.  We’d be going with the Chef’s Winter Menu.  At sixteen courses, it seemed a little daunting, but I was prepared.  Mentally anyway.  Unlike Marty G. who had readied himself by eating toast and water that day, I had yet to come down from the sugar high that two sundaes, a slice of chocolate pizza, and one large pistachio macaron had delivered.  

As the waiter whisked away our menus, I began to regret that pisatchio macaron.

Well, fear not.  I made it.  Truthfully, I was full halfway through the meal but the dishes were so delicious, so exquisitely crafted and beautifully plated, that finishing wasn’t that difficult.  Until it came time for the after dessert Dessert Cart. 

But I get ahead of myself.  Our meal at Joel Robuchon was spectacular, nothing short of epic.  And it went something like this…

As we settled in, we were offered a selection from the Bread Cart. Now I usually don't partake in bread before a meal, especially a meal like this one, but I had to make an exception in this case. All the breads were served fresh and warm, loosening their tiny pockets of baked-in steam as they were pulled apart and -
Either dipped in exquisite olive oil or topped with house-churned butter.

 Then, it was time for the main event…

Le Citron: Lemon and basil gelee, anise fennel cream. A delicate but flavorful start to the meal. Although the menu mentions lemon, I believe it was actually yuzu - the first of many Asian influences we noted.
Le Foie Gras: Carpaccio of foie gras and potatoes with black truffle shavings. The foie gras melted in my mouth - as foie gras is wont to do - and the truffle shavings lent the dish a wonderful aromatic earthiness, but it was the fingerling potatoes that surprised. Often the least interesting component in similar dishes I've had elsewhere, often because they're undercooked and don't offer anything in the way of true flavor, these were actually very flavorful.
La Symphonie de Truffe: Crispy truffle tart with onion confit, scrambled egg with golden toast, Paris mushrooms with veal raviolis cooked in broth. If you love truffles as much as I do, you'll want to hit Robuchon for this dish alone. The varying textures were remarkable: the firmness of the ravioli, the creaminess of the eggs, the contrasting snap and softness of the tart.
La Nois de Saint Jacques: Seared scallop, hearts of palm in coriander scented coconut milk, Mariner's style. The scallop was firm but very tender, its crown crusted, served in a broth this time Thai influenced.
Le Kabocha: Light kabocha pumpkin veloute, ginger foam and toasted pumpkin seeds. And now Japanese influence. The flavors of the soup took me back to my travels in Tokyo. Akemi marveled at the fact that it tasted exactly like the kabocha soup her mother used to make back in Osaka. Now THAT is praise.
Les Crustaces. Yet another stunning three-in-one. No, the starfish is not edible.
Lobster in sake broth with radish and nori. Akemi's favorite because, again, the dish was very reminiscent of Japan, delivering a sense of natsukashii that had her talking about it for the rest of the night. BTW - that's a lemon grass spear.
Sea urchin in a wasabi emulsion. The wasabi was quite delicate and married perfectly to the equally delicate uni possessed of a subtle sweetness you'll only find from the freshest variety.
Truffled langoustine ravioli. A tiny bite but bursting with truffled langoustine flavor. An incredibly dense and meaty pocket of seafood

 Not picture – Le Black Cod: Black cod in daikon buoillon with yuzu zest.  Damn.  For some reason, I missed snapping a pic of this dish and it’s a shame because it was one of the highlights of among an entire evening of highlights.  The cod was sweet and smokey, its accompaniments again redolent of the very best of Japan cuisine.

Le Chou: Crispy fried cabbage with vegetable medley. A more restrained dish than the others, but no less appreciated - here, the preparation allows the delicate flavors of the individual vegetables to take center stage. The crisp cabbage was also an elegant little addition here.
Le Veau: Sauteed veal chop with natural jus and vegetable talierinis flavored with pesto. The veal was nicely cooked and fairly subtle in comparison to the intense talierinis.
Martin goes "all in" with the wine pairing.
Le Soja: Risotto of soybean sprouts, lime zest and chives. Our final savory course and, alas, my least favorite only because I've never been a fan of sprouts.
L'Amande: Light almond panna cotta, tahitian vanilla and pineapple. Didn't really enjoy this dessert either - although I was odd man out at judge's table on this one. It contained an underlying flavor I found off-putting. I'd liken it to saffron - my least favorite spice.
La Framboise: Fresh raspberries and ginger infused sorbet, crunchy honey tuile. As most of you know, I'm not a big fan of fruit-themed desserts, but this was quite nice.

Sixteen courses, several fresh breads, some house-churned butter, and a few glasses of wine later we were thoroughly sated.  And then some.  At which point they rolled out the Dessert Cart.

The Dessert Cart. I figured it would be rude to pass.
My selection of mignardises - along with a few extras the waiter added because he obviously felt I hadn't had enough to eat.
Marty G. sizes up his religieux.

We capped off our meal with a tour of the kitchen where we watched the team in action, then met Executive Chef Claude Le Tohic and Pastry Chef Kamel Guechida. 

What night!

28 thoughts on “March 9, 2011: Vegas Day #2! Dinner at Joel Robuchon!

  1. An after dessert Dessert Cart? Aaaaarrraaaa…… slipping into a blissful daydream here.

  2. You know, I’m often surprised at the tiny portions of the food in these pictures. But then, you have so darn many of them that I guess it all evens out. Although I’m one who likes to find one or two things I like, then eat a lot of it rather than sampling many tiny portions of things. The first time I ate Indian food, I ordered chicken tikka masala. I liked it so much that it’s all I ever order when I get Indian. Because why take the risk of an unknown and finding I’ve wasted a meal on something I don’t like when I could just order something I know I’ll probably enjoy? An adventuresome eater I am not.

  3. Good Lord, look at that bread cart!! Just pull that baby up to my table and leave it. I could make a meal out of that alone!

  4. OMG. Bread cart and dessert cart! I could never decide. I would be in seventh heaven.

  5. Very impressive. Both the food and your ability to make it through that many courses. Absolutely lovely, and leaving me curious as to taste and texture. Perhaps you may consider walking to a few destinations to keep all those desserts from sticking to your ribs. Or not. The Venetian has more than adequate health club/spa facilities. Please continue to enjoy, and to share.

  6. Hi joe:
    Wow that was some meal you had. How can you eat so much ? 16 courses ?? Unbelievable..
    Just curious…. How much was the bill ?

    And a couple of questions about SGU for the mail bag:

    I saw the preview for next weeks episode Twin Destinies.
    Lokks like another great one. I actully have been looking forward to this one ever since I saw the episode list for season 2. Just by the name I figured it had to do with some kind of time travel. I have always thought that if they were to travel through the gate while in a star, that they would definatly travel through time becuase of all the solar activity within the star.
    Also I have been thinking about this all day. When you guys designed the show did you guys already know how the show was going to end ? I am pretty sure they were going to get home somehow. Did you have a plan on how they were going to do it ?
    Don’t spoil it and tell me, but could you just give me a yes or no about how you were going to end the show were they going to ever make it back to Earth ?
    I am hoping that you guys get to make at least 1 movie to wrap up the story. Also do you know if MGM is trying to figure out a plan with making an ending to SGU ?
    We have not heard anything official at all from MGM about the cancellation. I am glad at least you keep us informed . Without you we would pretty much clueless about anything going on behind the scenes. I really love your blog, and I look forward to getting home everynight and reading it.
    I did not know about it until about 3 or 4 months ago.
    Thanks so much for everything you have been doing to keep us informed.

  7. One of these days, Joe, I’d like to see you just eat a plain ol’ meatloaf platter with mashed potatoes and green beans…just, ya know…to see if turn into a toad, or something. 😉 Also, I’m surprised, but Martin actually looks rather nice with glasses and a beard. I’m not usually one for facial hair, but it suits him well.

    Have a good night, sir!


  8. OMG. I mean really… OMG. Sigh. Did I mention OMG?

    Btw, time changes on Sunday.

    I want that meal.

  9. **OMG**!!! MARTY IN A **SUIT**??!!

    I’m having a “VEGAS” Alternate-Reality Moment here…

  10. OMG… that was amazing! I am full just reading about it all!

    I saw on Twitter that Robert Carlyle was cast in ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” pilot. ( ) That is awesome, it will be nice to see him on prime time! However, does this news make it even more less likely we will ever see the return of a regular season of SGU?

  11. Amazing is all I can say. I’ve had many tasty meals in Vegas…but none would stack up to that one you shared. The pictures were great with dialog. It is always like I’m sitting there watching you eat. *giggles* Maybe that is more like a wish..

    Hope you have even more fun at the super-secret place. *smiles*

  12. Actually as a matter of interest, have you ever seen starfish on a menu anywhere? I’ve heard of urchins and sea cucumbers, but not starfish.
    I study them, and you’d be surprised how often I’m asked if they’re edible. I suppose I’m looking for a definitive answer to the question.

  13. You had me at lemon and basil gelee. Thanks Jo. You just made me realize that heating up yesterdays spaghetti in the microwave for lunch is as dreary as it sounds. I don’t think I should forfeit the rest of the year’s pay just yet but I think I can at least make it to Meds Gourmet Sanwiches. Best sun dried tomato and grilled halloumi sub this side of, well, the Atlantic. I’m sure they make it much better in countries that actually border the Mediterranean Sea. ( Sorry Jerry 🙂 ) I’ll try to post a picture of that in the comments but don’t expect much from my shitty flashless cellphone camera, or my photographic skills.

  14. yum,yum, thanks for sharing the pictures, I am with Marty on the chocolate stack thingy,yes,. 16 courses, snap, thats nothing for you Joe, I knew you could do it! and desserts and bread and wine pairing..seems you are doing vegas in a grand way. Enjoy your food (like you wouldn’t try) and have a pleasant rest of the week.

  15. Am I the only one gauche enough to mention I’m having squishy romantic notions about Akemi and Joe in the Land of Sparkly Wedding Chapels?

  16. Joe, you’re teasing us again. 😉 Everything looks scrumptious! Although, that veal is bit too rare for me. But, everything looks amazing.

    Also, tell Marty G. the beard has got to go. He looks like an old rabbi.

  17. So much food. I would’ve broken a tooth trying to eat that starfish. I love good bread, what a beautiful meal.

    I finally got to watch my SGU after a hellish work week; was saving it up for a truly terrible day and Weds delivered in spades. The kinder, gentler Rush is freakin’ me out. That to me was the most unsettling part of the ep.

    I only wished Young would have been more hands on during the fight; pushing buttons and firing weapons. I know he’s gotta man the Big Chair but I always loved that scene where Pickard leaps out of his chair, vaults a desk and starts firing on the bad guys before his ship blows up in one of the many Trek time conundrums.

  18. Just in case you haven’t heard…The President will be in town Friday, @5pm. Don’t know when your flight out is but you may want to adjust your commute to the airport accordingly. It seems everything shuts down when he is here 🙄

  19. I’m not really much of a foodie so I don’t really have much opinion on the food pics, they look nice though.

    @hal ehrlich

    Stargate Universe was planned to be 5 Seasons long, obviously optimistic in their approach, had it worked out as 5 seasons it probably would of been amazing watching everything play out.
    (Joe mentioned this on previous entries)

    @We have not heard anything official at all from MGM about the cancellation.

    No news is not entirely good news, but not bad news either. I wouldn’t get your hopes up hoping for a new season or a movie. I think a movie likely would of been sellable if Season 2.5 had a decent jump in ratings in the back half. MGM probably would of had more motivation had 2 million viewers(Well a half dozen Nielson viewers lol) tuned in.

    In short, it’l be a cold day in hell when SGU gets an official ending. Best to just enjoy the last 10 episodes and think about what could of been.

  20. Joe,
    I was watching reruns of SG-1 seasons 10 & 11 on Netflix and I think I figured out something. Was it in the “series bible” for those continuing Ori seasons that eventually they would come across King Arthur frozen in a stasis pod or something? Would it have been an epically bad ass episode too?

  21. By the way, have you been keeping up to date with the newest Amazing Race episodes Joe? The last one in Japan was hilarious, apparently frogs hidden under a ton of mud are lucky in Japan, they were calling them lucky frogs, looked like a fun detour too what with everyone stripped down wearing those weird outfits getting mud thrown at them by a group of Japanese people whilst searching a mudpit like lake thing.

    Okay poor Mike and Mel at the end but still, amazing episode none the less.

    Anyway can’t wait till you post some news about your new show. As you can tell by my last post, I have a more realistic outlook on things, out with the old shows, in with the new.

  22. I watched a great movie last night: Robert Carlyle in Marilyn Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing and Charm School. (Info below.) I loved it and highly recommend it.

    Anne Teldy

    Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing and Charm School

    2005 PG-13 104 minutes

    Writer-director Randall Miller’s heart-achingly sweet drama centers on the unsatisfying personal life of protagonist Frank Keane (Robert Carlyle), a sensitive baker who remains deeply despondent over his late wife’s untimely death. When Frank helps a stranger (John Goodman) who’s sidelined by a fatal accident on his way to a fateful reunion, he decides to show up for the rendezvous in the man’s place. In the process, he finds hope and redemption.

    Cast: Robert Carlyle, Marisa Tomei, Mary Steenburgen, Sean Astin, Donnie Wahlberg, David Paymer, Camryn Manheim, Adam Arkin, Sonia Braga, Elden Henson, Ernie Hudson, Miguel Sandoval, Danny DeVito, John Goodman.

  23. Worth it… I mean the 385$ plus tax plus tip…. Now do me a favor and go grab a drink at Surrender at the Encore…. My favorite spot in sin city

  24. Hey Joe, Vegas looks and sounds great. Penticton is pretty darn cold today, -10 with wind chill, but your probally wearing shorts aren’t ya? lol Thats March in Vegas! enjoy those super fine deserts for us because they look great! Have a good one a!

  25. Dear Mr. Mallozzi,

    WOW! Some of that looked really good. Especially the bread cart. And the desserts. Did I mention the bread cart?
    If you wouldn’t mind me adding to the mailbag, how much did a dinner like this cost? I’m just curious, even though I will probably never eat one. Thanks!


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