Time: Saturday. May 10, 2014. 8:30 PM. Reservation.
Location: Las Vegas
Address: 3655 S Las Vegas Blvd (Paris Casino)
Party Size: 2 (M&V)
Order: 2 tasting menu; 2 glasses of wine
Pre-tip Cost: $300 [$278 food & drink; $22 tax]
Verdict: Its not the real Paris and its not the real Eiffel Tower; but still not bad at all.
A few months ago, we won a free night at the Paris in Las Vegas from a promotional contest supporting the new partnership between Starwood Hotels and Caesars Entertainment. We traveled to Sin City the previous year and didn’t necessarily need return so quickly; but a free room combined with a cheap flight (ended up being “free” thanks to Virgin America points) was intriguing enough for us take the plunge for a 24 hour getaway.
Vegas is a treasure trove of great places to eat and singling out a single place for one dinner is not an easy task. On our last trip, which was my first to Las Vegas, the marquee meal of the prior trip was at Joël Robuchon in the MGM Grand. Had I know that this particular weekend Las Vegas Uncorked was occurring; we would have planned around that event. Instead we just took the path of least resistance and decided on the Eiffel Tower Restaurant, the fine dining (and of course French) option within the Paris Hotel.
The Eiffel Tower Restaurant is located on the 11th and is accessible from the casino below.
After a short elevator ride, the doors open to reveal the restaurant’s sizable open kitchen. The kitchen’s bright lights and frantic pace are in stark contrast to the relaxed, dark and intimate dining area just around the corner.
The perimeter is lined with floor to ceiling glass windows in front of which side-by-side two seat tables are situated offering panoramic views of the strip. Larger group tables are located in the middle floor space of the dining area. Our table had a view of the Cosmopolitan on the left the Bellagio, complete with a partial view of the fountain light show (we were one table off from being able to see all the action), on the right.
Moving on to the menu, the Eiffel Tower Restaurant offers an extensive ala carte selection complete with caviar, appetizers and soups/salads to start with and a variety of meat, fish and veg options for the main course. In addition, a five course tasting menu that pulls two appetizers, one fish, one meat and a dessert is available as well. These courses are straight off the menu and, with the limited data points I have, remain constant over time. The dessert course is open for selection from their menu with a slight upcharge for the soufflé or cheese plate.
Sautéed Foie Gras, Slow Braised Rhubarb, Crispy Alsace Spice Cake
The first course is somewhat of a guilty pleasure of mine. I understand the reasons that make foie gras not exactly the most humane of dishes (and is even banned from use in San Francisco) but that aside, it can be really delicious. So on occasion, I indulge.
The foie gras was soft and buttery. The rhubarb jam was a nice bitter compliment to the fattened liver and was a beautiful backdrop spread across the plate.
Casco Bay Scallops, Green and White Asparagus, Brown Butter, Banyuls
The second appetizer course was a single scallop served with the heads of white and green asparagus and surrounded by dollops of asparagus puree. The scallop was sweet and meaty without an overly salty taste and the asparagus was cooked to a brilliant firmness. The use whites and greens offered a nice color pairing on the plate.
Pacific Halibut, Creamed Wild Morels, Fava Beans, Double Smoked Bacon, Rice Galette
Our first round in the entrée course was a halibut served over rice mixed with some morel mushrooms, beans and bacon. I felt my fish was a little dry and compared to the healthy cut Minako received, a little frail looking. I also at this point in the evening, started to learn I need to improve my low-lighting photo taking skills.
Veal Medallions, Spring Heirloom Peas, Roasted Artichokes, Pea Spaetzle
The end of the main dishes was a cut of veal served over a medley of vegetables. The meat was soft and juicy and the carrot was incredibly sweet.
Apple Strudel and Crème Brulee
My dessert selection was the apple strudel which tasted like an apple pie wrapped in its own flakey crust. A scoop of cinnamon ice cream and some cinnamon/camel sauce dollops added a nice sweet support. This is the apple dish I was hoping for back at Stones Throw. I only had a single bite of the crème part of the crème brulee and enjoyed its light creaminess and appreciated the dishes overall presentation.
As I mentioned, this was our second trip to Vegas with a French restaurant on the docket. To compare the Eiffel Tower Restaurant to Joël Robuchon might not be fair. Joël Robuchon is a Michelin three star experience and comes with the price tag to prove it (I wish i was writing this when we visited, guess we have to return!). The Eiffel Tower Restaurant offers a good value alternative to JR while serving up some solid dishes (the menu also offers some safe options for the less adventurous).
For those on the endless quest for a great meal; Las Vegas is must stop destination on the journey as its chefs serve up a bounty of world class fares (and at time, world class prices). If you can avoid the fantasyland aura and the throngs of the alcohol-ly overindulged, Las Vegas can even be a relaxing weekend getaway….but let’s be honest, who goes to Vegas to relax?