Joel Robuchon — Las Vegas (11/2015)


A business conference trip to Las Vegas gave me the opportunity to try Las Vegas’ only Michelin 3-star restaurant.  The dress code was listed as business formal, so I even packed a suit (even though most of the other people dining did not dress up).  The Monday night reservation was easy enough to secure via

There are several menu choices. In addition to the main 18-course menu, diners can choose from a series of shorter menus to match the number of courses they wish to have.  Once the menu length is selected, then selections are made from the listing of courses as appropriate.

I selected the main tasting menu with a substitution for the beef course.

While I was still deciding, they brought a small bite – a warm quinoa ball with a peppery flavor.

As I am trying to study wine, so I thought it would be helpful to take photos of some of the extensive wine list from this 3-star restaurant.

They asked whether I wanted a glass of champagne or a cocktail to start.  I decided to go with a glass of the Meursault for the meal.

For the full write-up, click here.

Kitchen Table 10th Visit — London (10/2015)


I had some business to take care of in London, so I planned a short Halloween visit to England and a Fall visit to Kitchen Table.  Sometimes it can be hard to get a reservation on the weekend, but I planned ahead just enough to be able to grab one.  Below was the ingredient list for the evening’s courses.

I started out with a glass of champagne.  With that, the first bites started to arrive.  First off, we returned to having a shellfish starter.  This was raw oyster (which was actually pretty large) with bergamot, lemon verbena and shaved fennel from their local garden.  This was followed by the rehydrated potato starch quick fried to a nice crispness with smoked salmon, sour cream, chives and brown sugar.  The texture always makes for a nice palate awakener.

Next up was the always-served crispy chicken skin “cracker” with rosemary mascarpone and bacon jam.  At this point, I switched to a nice Pinot Gris.

For the full write-up, click here.

Momofuku ko 7th Visit — New York City (10/2015)


There isn’t much more to say by way of introduction since I’ve been here so often.  It was an early fall visit, which came with several menu changes.  I also decided to peruse the full wine list a little more.  Their glasses list does change from time to time.

The first few bites were things that I had presented before.  However, they were in a different order and in different combinations.  The first was vegetable spring roll with pickled jalapeño and Thai basil mint in a daikon radish wrap.  After that, there was the lobster roll with mint sabayon, pommes frites soufflé with chive crème fraiche, and millefeuille with trout roe and matcha.

Next up was some Siberian sturgeon caviar, fermented radish in radish water and vinegar, and crème fraiche potatoes.  This was creamy with some tartness to it and surprisingly little saltiness.

For the full write-up, click here.

Asta — Boston (10/2015)


A quick business trip to Boston gave me the opportunity to try Asta.  They do not have an online booking system, so I just did it the old-fashioned way and called for a reservation.  Since it was for a Tuesday night, it was easy to get in.  And it turned out, the place was very lightly occupied during my time there. 

They did not have many choices for wines by the glass.  Since I had to teach the next day, I decided not to drink. However, they did offer a glass of sparkling wine right after I sat down.

The restaurant was not very big.  It was more rustic than I was expecting.  They did have a counter-seating section, which was right next to the kitchen area. The menu had three options.  I went with the longest option. Sorry for the blurry photo, but there wasn’t much in terms of descriptions anyway.

They offered a pre-menu course with radishes and carrots as kind of a fresh vegetable amuse bouche.  The vegetables were raw and crunchy and a touch spicy from the light dressing.

For the full write-up, click here.

42 gram 6th Visit –Chicago (10/2015)


It was time for my seasonal (early Fall) visit to 42 grams.  The reservations are still for counter seating by default, but they will seat people at the table if it works better for the groups that book and request it. For the wine this time, I brought a 2011 Meursault (De Montille Soeur-Frère Casse-Tête), which worked very well with the meal.

The menu, presented at the end, had many changes from the spring.  I was reunited with some elements from early in the history of Chef Jake’s dishes at Sous Rising with this menu, which I appreciated.

Our first course featured a new ingredient – snail caviar (African white snail, raised in Poland, and imported to Chicago). The taste reminded the chef of cucumber, so the ingredients are built around that theme.  The orchid on top tasted faintly of cucumber.  Underneath were green disks of Mexican cucumber (cucamelon), and alternating layers of avocado (for richness) and buckwheat blinis.  This one-biter was light, with just enough richness to help the flavors make an impact.

For the full write-up, click here.