L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon – Las Vegas, NV: We went there for a late night dinner, actually just as they were about to close for the day at 10:30 (and I thought Las Vegas was the city that knew how to have fun round the clock!) and luckily thanks to the concierge from the Sky Lofts at MGM Grand we were able to duck in for a quick bite. (Click here to read our review of the Skylofts at MGM Grand)
L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon is essentially a French fine dining destination with a slightly off-beat counter service, where patrons can feast their eyes on their dinner, while it is still being prepared to enjoy a preview of the delights to follow. The restaurant was more in the genre of ‘casual fine dining’ actually, with a high stool seating and a view of the kitchen, where the chefs were assiduously whipping up some sinful looking dishes
There is a regular a la carte menu along with a tasting menu of tinier portions. The tasting menu has about twenty odd dishes to pick from, each averages around $30.00 a dish and the portioning is just sufficient for two people to share a couple of bites each. The food is truly out of this world. However, the price that the small-portioned-tasty-fare comes at, adds up the bill really fast though.
In addition to their appetizers like foie gras, Norwegian smoked salmon, Maine lobster salad and king crab salad; and main courses like fresh cod fillet, French-style hanger steak, foie gras stuffed quail and beef tenderloin au poivre (a peppercorn sauce) and multi-course tasting menu, L’Atelier de Joel features an amazing menu of small tasting portions. Their signature dishes include Pommes Purée (a scrumptious mashed potato variation), La Caille au Foie Gras (free-range quail stuffed with foie gras) and Le Rumsteack en Tartare et ses Frites à L'ancienne (Steak Tartar)
We ordered Le Crabe Royal - a king crab on a turnip disc with a delicious sweet and sour sauce, Le Homard - a Maine lobster in a spicy broth shaved with lime and baby corn preparation, Le Chevreuil - vension with sweet spices and apple citrus compote, Le Veau - veal cheek with braised vegetables and finally Le Ris De Veau - calf sweetbread with fresh laurel and stuffed fresh romaine lettuce.
The food unfortunately was not as fantastic as it sounded. Though the veal cheek and venison were downright delectable, the king crab and lobster were uninspiring and lacked any excitement. L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon’s wine list is quite extensive with heavy emphasis on the French variety.
The ambiance as one would expect of a fine dining restaurant at a swanky five-star property was hip, trendy and ‘in your face’ upscale. It is an ideal setting for intimate dining with a bunch of close friends or a special evening out with your spouse or partner.
The service was a bit rushed and I got the feeling that our waiter was really peeved at the thought of serving us so late (we were done by just after 11.00 and had the bill presented to us by 11:10) Is that really late? However, even when we were done there were three other parties still dining, so I wasn’t really sure what the rush was about? Whatever it was, it definitely took away from the entire dining experience. I wished they had just told us to take our business elsewhere at the onset; I am sure some other place would have been more than excited about taking our 300+ dollars!
Overall, our experience at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon was less than bombastic. The prices were high; the service was uncomfortably rushed and inconsiderate from the beginning. All these factors kept the restaurant from hitting the level of bombastic, which it could have easily achieved owing to its master culinary creations. Our rating for L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon is between bombastic and not.
What I liked: The delicious food and the trendy, upscale atmosphere
What I didn’t like: The high priced small portions and the rushed service at a perfectly decent dining hour.