L’Atelier—Las Vegas by Joel Robuchon
3799 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, NV 89101
Joel Robuchon has been dubbed the “Chef of the Century” and rightfully so since he has garnered 25 Michelin stars—more than any other chef. L’Atelier is French for “Workshop” and it is here that Robuchon experiments and invents interesting takes on food. So I went to his restaurant with rather high expectations and I felt I hit the culinary jackpot.
L’Atelier is set in the back of the MGM Grand casino amidst the noise and chaos of slot machines. Once inside and seated by the hostess, you feel transported to a completely different world. The dramatic black and red interior is modern and sleek and not what I expected for a French restaurant. Pops of color come from carefully placed fruits and preserves on display. The room itself is small and intimate with the bulk of the seating lining the bar of the open kitchen. However, I had a table and was still able to watch the skilled chefs work their magic.
The service was perfectly orchestrated. I was given just the right amount of attention. Suggestions were thoughtfully made and wine pairings were indeed suited to my courses. The silver was gleamingly polished and water glasses were always kept full. Absolutely no surprises there.
I chose the Prix Fixe menu and had no issues finding courses that tantalized my tastebuds. I selected 2 appetizers and a main course and dessert which started at $58 US. To start I had the marinated calamari and vegetables in a white wine sauce followed by a winter salad with soft fried egg and smoked salmon. I chose the veal steak with chanterelle mushrooms and macaroni for my entree and finished with pineapple sorbet and cheesecake cream. The food was delectable but the brilliance really shone through with presentation. Each course was a dramatic culinary work of art presented before me. From the selection of plate to the delicate foams, the hints of gold leaf to the molecular gastronomy, the food was nothing short of spectacular. It really is a feast for the eyes as much as the tastebuds. It truly is beyond description.
I wanted to address some of the reviews I read online. One person commented that the portions were too small. This is a fine French restaurant not a fast food chain. If an amuse bouche, 2 appetizers, and entree and dessert don’t satisfy you, then that is unfortunate but not the restaurant’s fault. Portions are smaller but reasonable. Another criticism I read was that the service was “snooty.” This post was written near the date I dined and my service was spot on. The final negative I read was that the food was average. The food was anything but average, but I will admit that on occasion the visual presentation of the dish surpassed the taste. This does not by any way change that the quality of the food was first class.
L’Atelier must be tried on your next trip to Vegas. If you have no plans to go to Nevada, there are L’Ateliers in major centres in Asia and Europe. This is a restaurant to experience if you want to try something unique and you can appreciate culinary creativeness.