Review: Bouchon (Las Vegas, Brunch)
I’m not really a fan of Las Vegas.
Is that even legal? Isn’t everyone supposed to love Vegas– the immense city blocks, the constant entertainment, the shopping, the food? Okay, I’ll give you the food, but to be honest, the rest of the city just sort of rubs me the wrong way. I have been there twice since November– once for my good buddy Ron’s 40th birthday, which was fun, but by about Sunday morning I had had enough Vegas for about a year. Then, less than two months later, I was back in Vegas for the craziest week in Vegas– the Consumer Electronics Show. Six days later, I was completely burnt out on Vegas. Just completely.
The one thing I cannot get burnt out on? Bouchon. I’ve eaten there three times in Vegas, and once in New York. Two of the three times in Vegas were brunch, one was dinner.
For dinner, a coworker and I sat at the bar and basically grazed– some amazing house-cured olives (I had never preferred olives, but these got me hooked), cocktails (my first Sazerac and an excellent Aviation), and split some of their famous roasted chicken and a tarte citron. I wasn’t sure, at that time, if I would be able to hit up Bouchon for breakfast, so I wanted to make sure I could get some of his perfectly roasted, exquisitely seasoned chicken. All of it was wonderful– exactly what you’d expect from a Thomas Keller restaurant. I admire the simplicity of his dishes (one of the reasons, I think I love the Palace so much– Chef Salazar was mentored by Thomas Keller), but with that simplicity comes a lot of flavor.
So, breakfast. I’ve had breakfast there twice: once in November and once in January, and got the same thing both times: chicken and waffles. Now, when I think of chicken and waffles, I generally think of fried chicken, but Keller turns this idea on its head with the use of his exquisite roasted chicken. The waffles are a twist on a standard, too– the batter has bits of bacon and chive– a savory waffle. It is served with a hunter’s sauce, which is also known as sauce chausseur– a mushroom and brown stock based sauce, thickened with tomato paste (sauce Espagnole), as well as a Bourbon vanilla-scented maple syrup. It’s a delicious combination, because you can get savory and sweet in one bite– one of my favorite combinations (and I discovered that the Hunter’s sauce is excellent with frites).
Bouchon also serves a lot of French-style pastries, including Chausson aux Pommes (an apple turnover), delicious beignets (served with house-made jam and butter), and my favorite– macarons. Terry actually demanded I bring macarons back home to him– somehow they both survived the plane ride and me.
If you find yourself in Vegas– best breakfast hands down.