Daniel Boulud Brasserie, Las Vegas (December 2008)

Inaugurating the vacation with a meal at Daniel Boulud’s Brasserie made for a good introduction to Las Vegas gastronomy. Sure, a brasserie does not sit on the same mantle as Daniel in New York, but for one-half the price, it is an opportunity to experience the Boulud empire. The prix fixe menu, moreover, runs from 5:30-7, offering enough choices to satisfy any non-vegetarian’s appetite.

As I slurped up the viscous mollusk, the scent of fresh seawater perfumed the air, and the salty roe added to the oceanic ethos.

Amuse bouche – oyster with osetra caviar, chive, and cauliflower cream
Each accoutrement paired exceptionally with the pate, accentuating its smooth texture.
Pate – pickle, chanterelle, smoke red pepper, dijon mustard
Ordering fish can, on occasion, end as a pyrrhic success–great tasting yet woefully inadequate. I rejoiced as the well-portioned fillet came my way. The skate burst with a flavor comparable to lobster and crab–only better when I include the pan-seared skin.
Skate with radish, capers, parsley, brown butter, cauliflower, and pomme pureé
There was nothing too fancy about this side. A chalky finish led me to believe the potatoes were blitzed in a food processor as opposed to a ricer. Mixing in roasted garlic or fresh herbs definitely would have enhanced the mash.
Pomme pureé

Crunchy croutons accompanied each bite of piquant fungus.

Mushroom mélange – oyster, chanterelle and black trumpet
Devoid of large ice crystals–a faux pas, alas, I faced at Chez Panisse–the ice cream was manifestly fresh. More broadly, the dessert provided a perfect flavor balance–the sweet, but petite, ice cream scoop allowed for several worthwhile deviations from the mild custard.
Red grape clafouti
While I did not have a taste, the fondant’s unconventional presentation begot a prolonged stare.
Chocolate-Hazelnut fondant.
Petit fours

Pros: Great prix fixe options

Cons: Trivial grumbles could be made, such as repeated ingredients–chanterelles and cauliflower–but since I enjoy both, I did not mind too much. Also, it seems sort of incongruous to provide four confections to three people.


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