On a strip saturated with a multitude of attractions and restaurants by famed chefs, unique selling propositions can help attract a stream of targeted consumers to a specific experience. In addition to the brand association of “Chef of the Century”, Joël Robuchon (Las Vegas) at the MGM Grand has the most distinct accolade of being Vegas’ only three Michelin starred restaurant, being deemed “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.”
Depending on how you spend your time in Vegas, a trip may not always be worthy of the title “special journey,” but the team at Joël Robuchon and the MGM Grand try to make it one at least for the five or so hours you are in their hands. During that time you are taken outside of the inebriated crowds and rowdy atmosphere of the Vegas strip and transported into the world of fine dining according to Joël Robuchon.
For us, this was evident right from the start. While most restaurant experiences begin when we enter the front door, at Joël Robuchon it started at our hotel. A limousine, compliments of the restaurant, picked us up from our hotel and drove us through the back roads of the massive MGM Grand property. For a moment, I thought we were being kidnapped, but we suddenly arrived at the foot of these enormous black gates that put my mind at ease. If we were being kidnapped, surely it would not have been to a place as grandiose as this. I later found out our destination was the MGM Mansion, a place I never even knew existed.
As we were led out of the limo and made our way into the foyer of the Mansion, we were lost. Where in the world was the restaurant? Luckily, the guests of the Mansion have access to 24/7 assistance and we were immediately attended to by the Mansion office. Apparently, there should have been someone from the restaurant to greet us as we arrived. In the meantime, we were instructed to be seated in the Mansion garden. The garden looked and felt like an outdoor garden but in reality was completely enclosed by a glass ceiling that blocked out the noise from the strip and was accented by calming nature sounds. We waited for five minutes until someone from the restaurant greeted and lead us through what seemed like an unlimited number of gates and corridors lined in marble. After passing through the Mansion guests’ private gambling tables, we arrived at a public area in the MGM Grand. To our left was L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon (Chef Robuchon’s one Michelin restaurant in Las Vegas) and a couple of steps later were the doors of the Joël Robuchon restaurant.
Dark and luxurious tones greeted us as we entered. Deep violet curtains were draped along the walls and seats. Silver hues accented the black linen tables. And a large chandelier centred the main dining area, which overall had a very regal yet playful feel to it. As one of the first diners of the evening, we were seated by their garden, a very zen space to the right of the main dining room where an entire wall and a part of the floor is draped in green plants and various coloured flowers.
The restaurant offers a la carte options and various sized tasting menus, but in true Vegas fashion, we opted to go big or go home with their degustation menu. Unlike most restaurants we write about, where seasonal and local ingredients are the norm and basis of what they cook, Joël Robuchon’s degustation menu is a 16 course celebration of some of the world’s best ingredients. Most ingredients were showcased tapas-styled along with various non-edible accents used for presentation.
Since our meal was some time ago, I will simply leave you with the pictures from our time at the restaurant along with the menu rather than try to recall the flavours. The restaurant was quite dark and we never thought we would end up blogging, so our picture quality is really quite bad. I’ve also left quite a number of photos out from the photo set below as many pictures were blurry, but as a guide the menu was as follows:
en émulsion sur une gelée de baies sauvages aux huiles essentielles
Emulsion of blood orange on a wild berry gelee
Le Foie Gras
en duo mêlé de pomme ratte comme un carpaccio aux copeaux de truffe noire
Carpaccio of foie gras and potatoes, covered with black truffle shavings
des asperges vertes aux feuilles de mélissa, un velouté de maïs glaœ tremblotant aux croûtons dorés, tartare de saumon aux jeunes pousses de shiso
Green asparagus with lemon balm, chilled corn veloute with croutons, salmon tartar with shiso sprouts
en tarte friande aux oignons et lard fumé
Crispy black truffle tart with onion confit and smoked ham
en royale avec une vierge de poires et de tomates confites à la sauge
Custard of Gorgonzola with poached pear and sage tomatoes
la langoustine trufée et cuite en ravioli, la langouste grillée en symphonie au curry vert, l’oursin en chaud-froid anisé aux sucs d’agrumes
Truffled langoustine ravioli, grilled spiny lobster in green curry with coriander, “Chaud-froid” of sea urchin on fennel potato puree with anise citrus
dans une soupe soyeuse sur un voile virtuel de bacon
Light chestnut cream on bacon foam
aux artichauts épineux et un jus de barigoule
Turbot and artichoke cooked in cocotte with barigoule jus
la noix d’entrecôte émincée aux condiments et petits girolles
Beef rib eye with condiment and baby chanterelles
du Pays de Sault mitonné et doré à l’or fin
Sault farrow prepared risotto style with gold leaf
en compote à la vanille de Tahiti, crème onctueuse aux épices d’hiver
Pineapple infused with vanilla, gingersnap cookie crumbs, pumpkin spice cream
crémeux au cœ de Guanaja, bavarois à la Poire Williams
Poire Williams mousse and biscuit crunch hidden beneath a dark chocolate sphere
Le Moka – Le Thé
escortés de mignardises
In addition to the 16 courses, a description of our time at the restaurant cannot be complete without a mention of their bread and mignardises carts. I have not experienced anything that can trump the extravagance of the carts that provided an infinite selection of breads and mignardises. I was bread crazy at the time and asked for quite a number of rolls. Though I only ate half, it was a large enough sample size for me to conclude that no matter which bread I had, they would have all been freshly made and excellent. My favourite was a smoked and braided roll, which had a subtle hint of bacon. In addition to the carts and right before we were shown the selection of mignardises, we were also served an additional dessert to celebrate S’ birthday. This was in the form of an entire coconut and mango sorbet cake. The presentation was over the top and a stark contrast to the light and refreshing flavour of the cake meant to serve as a palate cleaner.
Before leaving, as a parting gift to the female on the table, I was given a bag that contained a box of chocolate along with our menus. The milk chocolate was rich and creamy and was accented by crunches of purple hues so evident within the colour palette of the restaurant.
If there is any restaurant experience that epitomizes opulence and luxury, it would be Joël Robuchon. From our initial interaction with the restaurant, to the ingredients used and the meal in its entirety, I have never experienced anything more extravagant. In a city known for its highly competitive nature, advertising can only get you so far. What it comes down to is the experience guests have at the restaurant and there is no experience like Joël Robuchon. It truly is a cut above the rest.
To view some pictures of our meal, click through the photo set below. If you are using a mobile device, please click here for compatibility.
Thanks for reading,
C & S