Bardot Baguette – Butter
Foie Gras Parfait – Ruby Port Gelée, House Brioche, Cornichons
King Crab & Endive Salad – Belgian Endive, Parmesan Cheese, Caper Aioli, Herbed Bread Crumbs
Pop Tarte Flambé – Raclette Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Smoked Pork, Sauce Bechamel, Crispy Bacon Lardons, Puff Pastry
Bay Scallop Raviolis – Nantucket Scallop Dumplings in the style of Alain Senderens, Cantal Cheese, Porcini Mushrooms, Thyme, Champagne Beurre Blanc
Escargots Bardot – Wild Burgundy Snails in Puff Pastry, Toasted Hazelnuts, Chartreuse-Garlic Butter
Pork Chop a la Normande – Oak Smoked Duroc Pork, Bacon Lardons, Caramelized Pears, Parsnip Pomme Puree, Cipollini Onions, Cider Beurre Blanc
Macaroni & Mimolette Gratinee – Sauce Bechamel
Gnocchi Parisienne – Semolina Gnocchi, Ash Rind Goat Cheese, Honeynut Squash, Fried Sage, Black Trumpet Mushrooms, French Winter Truffle, Roasted Garlic Veloute
Brussels Sprouts – Bacon, Balsamic
Le Steakburger – Prime Rib Patty, Comte Cheese, Garlic Aioli, Watercress, Bordelaise Onions, Hand Cut Fries
Duck a L’Orange – Pan Roasted Hudson Valley Duck Breast, French Agen Prunes, Sunchoke Fondant, Dandelion Greens, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Cara Cara Orange
Beef Wellington for Two – 20oz USDA Prime Filet, Prosciutto di Parma, Puff Pastry, Mushroom Duxelle, Foie Gras-Madeira Veloute
Black Truffle Pommes Puree
Espresso Crème Brulee – Fresh Beignets, Madelines, Turbinado Croquant
Chocolate Macaron – French Chocolate Cookie, Gianduja Chocolate Mousse, Candied Orange, Chocolate Ganache
Cheesecake Mille Feuille – Caramelized Puff Pastry, Fromage Blanc Pastry Cream, Brandied Cherries
Peach Cobbler Baked Alaska – Peaches, Allspice, Streusel, Spice Toasted Meringue Flambéed with Cognac
Pineapple Tarte Tatin – Warm Caramelized Pineapple, Puff Pastry, Salted Caramel, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Chocolate Sable – Anise, Marshmallow
Having asserted several times that Bardot at Aria is America – if not the World’s – most innovative Brasserie, it was as a group of nine that dinner was enjoyed on Friday evening, Chef Josh Smith’s early-Winter Menu featuring many old favorites plus bold new additions rooted in classic French technique.
Rapidly approaching its fifth anniversary, no small feat in a city where constant turnover is standard, it was just prior to 6:30pm that guests were led from hostess podium to a familiar table at room’s center, an unknown waiter and his thick French accent standing in for memorable faces of the past who were occupied with a private Escoffier dinner.
Deferring Carte Blanche to the kitchen over the past eighteen visits, trust that has been earned time and time again, it was with confirmation of no allergies or intolerances that dinner began with Bread, Bardot’s Baguette predictably warm and crunchy with house Butter but no Salt while a timeless Foie Gras Parfait continues to wow regardless of what the legislature of New York or California has to say.
Next presented with two of Chef Smith’s recent signatures, his King Crab & Endive Salad a bit less fancily arranged but no less fresh and balanced than usual, it was after dividing two modernized Tarte Flambé that attention turned to all-new Ravioli, a tip of the hat to Nouvelle Cuisine yielding Scallops inside the Pasta with Mushrooms and Herbs decorating delicate Beurre Blanc on the plate.
Never forgetting “Escargots Bardot,” a day-one dish that was a touch dry this time in the opinion of some, it was with serviceware reset that entrees proceeded, Josh’s new Pork dish immediately capturing attention thanks to autumnal Accoutrements including Pears and Cider above and beneath textures of Parsnips.
Offered more Pasta with upright Macaroni and seasonal Gnocchi, the latter utilizing Dan Barber’s shrunken Squash smartly to sweeten Goat Cheese, Mushrooms and Garlic, it was by request that “Le Steakburger” from Bardot’s Happy Hour was served next, its grind easily one of Sin City’s most luxurious and the flavor predictably rich but gently reined in by Watercress.
Keeping things simple with Sprouts, but dressing-up buttery Potatoes with Winter Truffles, savories concluded with two can’t-miss plates, Bardot Brasserie’s Wellington unparalleled since the day it debuted and Chef Smith’s new Duck dish better than ever thanks to a thicker cut plus the dazzling use of Frosting-thick Sunchokes to ground Citrus and imported dried Plums.
Still perfecting the new Dessert menu, but happy to trial a few fresh concepts in addition to favorites last tasted in September, it seems Proust would be proud of the Madelines served alongside Espresso Crème Brulee while a proposed retooling of Bardot’s photogenic French Cookie cuts its richness substantially by replacing Dark Chocolate with Gianduja and adding candied Oranges.
Happy to see the Mille Feuille again, ‘a la minute’ preparation yielding a brisk shatter with each forkful, those hoping to “save the best for last” need look no further than Bardot’s tableside Baked Alaska currently featuring Peach Cobbler inspiration, nor the Pineapple Tarte Tatin that never ceases to impress in its range of textures, temperatures and flavors.
FIVE STARS: With roots and recipes predating the birth of America it is probable that most do not consider bistro or brasserie fare exciting, but at Bardot Chef Smith and his team continue to reinvent the menu seasonally without ever straying too far or forgetting the importance of flavor and technique.
RECOMMENDED: Foie Gras Parfait, Pop Tarte Flambé, Pork Chop a la Normande, Le Steakburger, Duck a l’Orange, Beef Wellington, Gnocchi Parisienne, Macaroni & Mimolette Gratinee, Cheesecake Mille Feuille, Pineapple Tarte Tatin, Peach Cobbler Baked Alaska.
TIP: Offer still stands, if anyone can name a French Bistro or Brasserie outperforming Bardot in North America (and back it up with evidence) I’ll fly there within 6 months to find out for myself.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.