Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Restaurant Guy Savoy (Las Vegas) Review

 

I had the opportunity to dine at Guy Savoy in Vegas during the early weeks of April when I was attending a work conference. I returned home with a souvenir menu and lengthy notes on the experience which I’ve now laid down in print for my readers.

I ordered the Menu Prestige ($298 per person before tax, tip, or beverages) which was a culinary journey through the following starters and courses that I’ve detailed below. Overall it was a pleasant experience but given the menu pricing versus the technical execution of the dishes I don’t believe the value is there for the customer as compared to The French Laundry, Per Se, Citronelle or Le Cinq (my favorite fine dining experiences to date). I did like the creative touch of pairing each course with a signature bread the way other restaurants pair with wine but that is not enough to justify the pricing. Also the silverware was scratched up and the service was nowhere near as smooth and beautifully choreographed as at Le Cinq in Paris.

A note about my rating system:

5/5 = OMG, ecstasy! I would shank a hobo for this (to quote a good friend)

4/5= I would order this again

3/5= I would not order this again, but would eat it if it were served to me without much complaint

2/5= I would not order this again and would only eat this if served to me to be polite

1/5= I could not bear more than one or two bite of this, even when trying to be polite

0/5 = Bring this near me and I’m going to puke on the table

Starters:

a.) Foie-Gras Club Sandwich

Rating: 5/5

Desc: foie-gras layered between toasted bread slices

Comments: Absolutely amazing. Just the right flavor and texture balance between the creamy foie gras and the crispy toast. Comparable to what I’d expect to find at Keller’s restaurants.

b.) Parmesan Waffle

Rating: 3/5

Desc: mini waffle studded with parmesan

Comments: Meh. Unique idea, but didn’t knock my socks off.

c.) Parmesan and Truffle Steak Tartare Slider

Rating: 4/5

Desc: a mini burger that was seared on edges only

Comments: I’m usually shy with raw beef, but this had enough punch in flavor to carry me through. Probably couldn’t handle more than a slider though without becoming overwhelmed by the intensity of the dish.

d.) Crispy Fennel and Cold Fennel Broth

Rating: 3/5

Desc: a simple soup with a very strong fennel flavor topped with more fennel

Comments: The soup was presented in a beautiful porcelain cup which hid underneath the tiny cup the scallop starter listed below. The porcelain was designed by Anne Xiradakis and you can view her portfolio of work (including the Guy Savoy piece) here: http://www.annexiradakis.com/us/main.htm 

e.) Scallop Tartare with Dill and Balsamic

Rating: 5/5

Desc: a small bite of scallop with pungent dill flavor and sweet balsamic notes

Comments: This was simply fabulous. Fresh and clean and tasting of the ocean with a sweet finish thanks to the balsamic.

Courses:

1. Mosaic of Milk Fed Poularde, Foie Gras and Artichoke, Black Truffle Jus

Rating: 10/5 (I’d shank several hobos!)

Desc: cold terrine of foie gras with artichokes buried within, topped with a rich earthy truffle sauce, sprinkled with sea salt and fresh pepper; this course served with bacon and sea salt brioche (4/5 for the bread)

Comments: Hands down one of the best things I’ve ever put into my mouth. The sweetness of the artichoke playing off the richness of the foie gras. My mouth waters as I think about this dish. Would LOVE this recipe.

2. Garden and Oyster

Rating: 3/5 (garden); 1/5 (oyster)

Desc: thinly sliced raw vegetables (carrots, beets, etc) and tiny microgreens with ocean vinaigrette and oyster shooter in a shot glass; this course served with seaweed bread (3/5)

Comments: The oyster shooter was incredibly salty. It was just those moments when you accidentally swallow ocean water with a slight hint of oyster flavor. The microgreens were so adorably tiny – want to find a source for this ingredient. The presentation was unreal and I can’t wait to replicate this aspect for a dinner party: The salad was served on a plate dotted with holes across the bottom. A shallow pasta bowl lay underneath the plate. For the flashy finish a mini pitcher (similar to cream servers) was tilted over the dish, letting a liquid spill into the pasta bowl. As soon as the liquid hit the bowl it began to vaporize. The waiter dubbed it ‘cold steaming’. His technique is allegedly proprietary but I’m guessing it involves slivers of dry ice already in the bowl awaiting the water.

3. Crispy Sea Bass with Delicate spices

Rating: 4/5

Desc: small portion of sea bass poached in a sauce infused with vanilla, ginger and coriander with scales intact for a ‘crispy edible finish’; this course served with lemon bread (5/5)

Comments: Would have been a 5/5 if the scales were removed; I wasn’t fond of the plastic textured finish of them. The poaching sauce was like nothing I’d ever tried before and I’d never think to combine those flavors normally, especially with fish. Will take some experimenting to replicate the dish (sans scales of course) but I’m willing to work at it.  Update: recipe found here (score!): http://sobefestcookbook.com/?p=113

4. Colors of Caviar

Rating: 1/5

Desc: layered in a shot glass; vinaigrette, caviar cream, black caviar with truffles, green sauce, osteria caviar, sabayon; this course served with ciabatta bread (3/5)

Comments: Although I love love love Osteria caviar, the black caviar with truffles layer in this dish ruined it for me. It tasted like fishy black beans and permeated the rest of the dish.

5. Foie-Gras “en Papillotte” and Radish Bouillon

Rating: 1/5

Desc: foie gras cooked under pressure (sous vide) in plastic bag and presented on hot stones for initial viewing before taken back into kitchen for plating and serving; this course served with multigrain bread (3/5)

Comments: I started to worry when the waiter first brought out the whole foie gras- it looked exactly like what it was- a liver. I hoped it tasted better than it looked (I’d only ever had cold foie gras pate or terrine until now and enjoyed it). Unfortunately I discovered with this dish that I do not like foie gras served warmed. The texture was unpleasant to my palette. I took only two bites before I couldn’t stomach any more. The wait staff took my plate away once it was apparent I was not going to eat it. Given the price of the menu, I’d hoped they’d offer me something else but it was not to be. I became a bit judgmental at this junction because at Citronelle and other fine restaurants I have seen the chef come tableside to receive feedback on a dish sent back to the kitchen and offer to replace it with something else. Here they seemed only disappointed that I put an entire foie gras to waste. *shrug*

6. Artichoke and Black Truffle Soup, Toasted Mushroom Brioche, and Black Truffle Butter

Rating: 2/5

Desc: a large portion of earthy rich truffle soup

Comments: The earthy flavors of this dish punched me in the face; I felt like I was eating dirt.

7. Roasted Poussin, Black Truffle Potatoe Puree, Seasonal Vegetables Braised in Poussin Jus

Rating: 4/5

Desc: small portion of roasted chicken with rich truffle laced mashed potatoes and baby carrots; this course served with chestnut bread (3/5)

Comments: Restaurant week menu (biannual event in major metropolitan cities where $100 dinners are bargain priced at $35) good; not Thomas Keller good.

8. The Vegetable

Rating: 2/5

Desc: mushroom gelee with cooked and raw carrots with a carrot consommé.

Comments: Meh; pretty tasteless. Also, no bread pairing? Maybe the bread guy was busy?

9. Selection of Fromages Affines

Rating: N/A – skipped

Desc: a rolling cart of fine cheeses was presented

Comments: I passed on this course despite their multiple attempts to push cheese on me. Much smaller selection than Le Cinq.

9.5  Unannounced Intermezzo: Lemon Sorbet atop Celery Granita and Rose Gelee with Petals

Rating: 3/5 (sorbet/granita); 2/5 (rose gelee)

Desc: as listed in the title

Comments: Ho hum.

10. Strawberry Rubarbe

Rating:  3/5

Desc: cold rhubarb sauce with basil granita and strawberry sorbet

Comments: Good flavor but nothing remarkable.

11. Chocolate fondant, Crunchy Praline and Chicory Cream

Rating: 5/5

Desc:  layers of rich chocolate with crispy nutty praline and cream infused with chicory

Comments: Le Kit Kat (Citronelle signature dish) done even better than Citronelle. YUM.

11. Dessert Trio to Accompany Tea: Apple Tart, Nuts with Chocolate and Cranberries, fruit muffin

Rating: 3/5 (tart); 4/5 (chocolate nuts); 3/5 (muffin)

Desc: as listed in the title

Comments: An average note to end out the menu.

Here is a review with pictures from another blogger who was served many of the same dishes that I was: http://josephmallozzi.wordpress.com/2011/03/11/march-11-2011-vegas-day-4-restaurant-guy-savoy/

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