Restaurant: Guy Savoy
Location: Cesar’s Palace, Las Vegas
Date: April 14, 2012
A good friend’s bachelor party brought me back to Las Vegas and that meant: extreme food. On my last trip I sampled é by José Andrés and Twist by Pierre Gagnaire so this time it was time for Guy Savoy. Guy himself is one of the few and proud Parisian Michelin 3-star chefs (even if he’s originally from Burgundy). The Vegas outpost is overseen by the older chef’s son. It’s tucked away in a quiet section of the main Cesar’s Palace, near the wedding chapels.
True to its Michelin form, the place has a lot of carts. First to greet us is the champagne and aperitif cart. I’m not really that big a champagne fan, and done off the cart for the table often results in some serious financial hike. But, as you’ll see, you don’t come to Guy Savoy to keep the budget under control!
This first pre-amuse is fois gras and brioche on a stick. Can’t complain about that!
Then I crack open the wine tome. Even though I have recently become an “Italian Wine Specialist” there was very little vino from the boot, so I had to go French.
Jadot is usually very reliable and I have a soft spot for Clos Vougeot. “Charred meat, black currant, and wet stone characterize the bouquet of Jadot’s Clos Vougeot. Savory, salty, brightly-fruited and invigoratingly juicy on the palate, this displays more energy and acidity than I would have expected from the appellation. For all of the clarity and juiciness of this wine’s fruit, grilled meat and stony earthiness combined with the emergence of formidable tannins and subtle but persistent cyanic and iodine notes to turn its formidably long finish somewhat austere.”
Then another amuse, this cheesy “parmesan waffle.”
And the menu. Check out the prices. Because we must, we took out a mortgage, and ordered up the Inspiration Menu.
The amuse was this artichoke soup with black truffle and toasted mushroom bread. A nice start.
Then the bread cart comes around. Just a few varieties. When we failed to remember the 14-16 different types we could choose from on the first recitation the bread boy (who was just a tad creepy) offered to create a “bread tasting” for us, pairing various breads to each food course. How could we refuse?
A few samplings include on the right, bacon brioche!
“Concasse of oysters, seaweed, lemon granite.”
The granite itself is added later. Truthfully, this dish was a revelation. The flavors were pure and intense. Briny oyster and this potent cold lemon thing.
One of our party doesn’t like oysters, so he got this avocado and chickpea variant.
“Santa Barbara Spot Prawn caught in sweet and sour fishnet.” Mostly this just tasted like a very good shrimp with some interesting vegetable texture stuff going on. It was pleasant, but not one of the best dishes.
The shellfish hater got this pea and egg salad. Twice peeled English peas, pea gelee, pea puree, dressed in chive oil. It was then topped with greens some bread and a quail egg.
On my way to visit the elegant little boys room I photoed the “smaller” of the two private dining rooms.
It’s white asparagus season! “White Asparagus and Caviar, Smoked Sabayon.” The sabayon was in the egg. You pour it over the dish.
Voila. A “simple” but spectacular dish. The asparagus and sabayon is similar to the classic Dutch version, but the caviar took it up a notch.
This was a long meal and so we quickly exhausted the Burgundy. This Barolo by old school producer Giacomo Conterno was a bit “underpriced” (if anything in the tome could be called that). Parker 94+ “1999 Barolo Cascina Francia—Medium red. A classic in the making, the 1999 Cascina Francia offers a quintessentially pure expression of Nebbiolo in it aromas of roses, licorice and tar. It is powerful and potent on the palate, where endless layers of sweet fruit blossom with exceptional length. Though I expect it to be relatively accessible within a few years, it will also reward cellaring for several decades, and may ultimately be deserving of a higher score. A great effort. 94+/drink after 2009.”
“Marinated-Grilled Hamachi Aged Sherry Vinegar, Radish Gelee, Eggplant Puree.” The fish was nice but the really interesting bit was the jelly. It was made of radish (hence the color) and tasted somehow so Japanese. It was a very bright and intense flavor and I really liked it.
Next up, “Salmon Iceberg.” Scottish salmon.
Then dressed with grapefruit bits, bockchoy, and little jelly cubes of something.
Then finished off with a consommé. Spectacular actually. Hot and cold in the same dish and expressed the flavor of the fish wonderfully.
This is the large private room, with a Krug theme. After you win $100,000 in the casino, you can blow it here.
“Seared Dices of Foie Gras with Horseradish, Braised-Grilled Celery Stalk Sepentines, Potato Chips Bouillon.”
Here with the Bouillon added. This was a very nice foie dish, extremely savory, but not overly heavy.
“Lobster Bordelaise, Raw and Cooked Hearts of Palm.” Wow, was this good. The lobster was great lobster, but it was that sauce in the middle. It was as complex as a fine wine!
“Wagyu, Cannellini Bean Puree, Saffron and Marjoram Crust, Sponge Cake.” A very nice beef dish.
Then one of my favorite parts of any serious French meal, Les Fromages.
This is our humble selection. I can’t remember them all but it included Brillat-savarin, one of my favorites.
A relatively lightweight Sauternes. The 1999 Raymond-Lafon. “Aromas of honeyed pineapple/tropical fruit and toasty new oak, as well as an exotic, flashy perfume. The wine possesses an opulent, full-bodied, exotic, lavishly rich personality, and moderate sweetness.”
In the glass. You can tell from the color this isn’t a crazy sticky Sauternes.
This “sunny side up” isn’t actually an egg, but mango and cream! It was pretty great too.
Then this “exotic” tapioca, avocado, with lime sorbet. Really quite incredible.
Then the chocolate. This was just a simple scoop of incredibly intense and wonderful chocolate gelato.
And a bit of earl grey ice cream, which, even as a non-tea fan, was a subtle and lovely ice cream flavor.
I thought the cheese cart was heaven, but then this came. There are just oodles of little desserts here. When our waiter (a seven foot tall Gaul we nick named “French Lurch”) asked us what we’d like, we said, “yes.”
A different view. There are pots of creme, rice pudding, citrus shooters, homemade marshmellows, pate des fruits, frozen grapes, and all sorts of other yummys.
The pots were among my favorites, particularly the rice pudding.
Strawberry pate, coconut macarons, chocolate things.
Those spongy things on the spoon had a bit of passionfruit to them.
In case the heart wasn’t about to quit, the conac cart!
And finally, a triple expresso. I was worried about falling asleep when we went out clubbing (after this 6pm – midnight meal!) but this puppy kept me up straight to 9am. Given that I was trying to sleep from 5am on, that, perhaps, wasn’t ideal.
Overall, this was a spectacular meal. Much more substantive than é by José Andrés and much more focused and palatable than Twist by Pierre Gagnaire. It was classic “fancy french” updated with spectacular ingredients and very fine flavors. I’ve had a lot of opulent meals and I generally judge them by “consistency” and “impact.” This was highly consistent in that every dish worked. Perhaps the shrimp was the weakest, but it certainly worked. And more importantly, a number of dishes, such as the lobster, oyster, and salmon were mind-blowing and highly memorable. Bravo!
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