Alizé, Las Vegas (December 2008)

Located on the Palm’s fifty-sixth floor, Alizé boasts a nonpareil view of the strip. In fact, I would go so far as to aver that no Michelin star restaurant on the west coast presents a more panoptic landscape. Okay let me stop there before my verbal incontinence leads to any further description of the restaurant’s seductively Elysian setting.

On to the food. With little more than a minute’s rumination, we decided on the seven course tasting menu, spending well over two and one-half hours enjoying the boldly flavored fare.

The cruciferous cream tamed the crab, and the pepper added a bit more heat and smokiness. Any concern about too much spice was offset by the chilled avocado.

First course: Piquillo pepper stuffed crab with avocado and horseradish cream
Spinach really lightened what would have otherwise been a dense course. The vinaigrette, too, humbled the unctuous confit and yolk.
Second course: Duck confit, spinach salad, brioche, quail egg, fried pearl onions, and black truffle vinaigrette
Speaking of unctuous, the foie quickly became my favorite course – that is until the prime rib arrived. Not only was the liver executed to perfection – properly deveined and perfectly cooked – but who would oppose duck fat in consecutive courses?
Third course: Seared foie gras, roasted macadamia nut, orange segments, and poached pears
This, we were told, is Rochet’s signature dish. While delicious and texturally pleasing, I preferred the previous night’s skate. Ordering sole off the a la carte menu will do some serious damage at $67.
Fourth course: Dover sole with assorted vegetables on truffle pomme pureé

The palette cleanser served its purpose as a light and airy treat.

Fourth course: Raspberry sorbet palate cleanser
As the server lifted the metallic lid, a wind of butter and rosemary diffused through the air, imparting hints of verdant forests. Pink and tender, the rib eye deserved to serve as the meal’s crescendo. The lid became a mixed blessing for my mom and brother as the heat steamed the meat, inadvertently overcooking a piece. The parmesan gratin delivered a bridge to the Mina-style trio plating in the final two courses.

Fifth course: Prime rib eye, butter glazed oyster mushroom, parmesan and sweet potato gratin
Wow, I have eaten gorgonzola before, but Roquefort’s strength confidently marches right past any aged blue cheese I have ever degusted; in isolation Roquefort comes close to overpowering; fortunately, though, several pieces of bread accompanied the course.
Sixth course: Pecorino with aged balsamic, Roquefort with fiji apple, and manchego with prune
With so many distinct flavors, the desserts almost merited individual palate cleansers before traversing the plate’s hilly partitions. I strategically decided to finish the middle section last, thus obviating the need for coffee.
Seventh course: Pineapple fritter with macadamia caramel ice cream, hazelnut crusted dark chocolate marquise and espresso custard

Yet again, we were left trying to divvy up four confections for three people. I ate the meringue and half of the macaron, both of which were relatively mundane.

Petit fours

Pros: Knowledgeable servers, great pacing, and aesthetically pleasing presentation

Cons: None. Seriously.

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