2002 Dom Perignon Brut, Champagne
Venison Croquette with Apple Moustard
Marti Foie – Foie Gras, Honey, Tahitian Vanilla, Vodka with Candied Walnuts, Caramelized Pears, Pear Sorbet, Fruit Salad
Baguette and unsalted butter
Andre’s Classic Lobster Thermidor – Cognac, Gruyere, Mustard, Asparagus, Mushrooms
2008 5 Puttonyos Royal Tokaji
Pan Seared Duck Foie Gras – Verjus Reduction, Dried Fruit and Almond Custard Tart
Seared Jumbo Sea Scallop – Curried Beurre Blanc, Carrot Ginger Puree, Pickled Fennel
2009 Talbott Kali Hart Vineyard, Pinot Noir
Sauteed Sweetbreads – Minus 8 and Bing Cherries, Sauteed Spinach in Puff Pastry
Pan Seared Duck Breast – Spiced Orange Gastrique, Duck Jus, Duck and Pistachio Sausage, Currant and Couscous Cake, Sauteed Kale
Port Salut – Cherry Compote, Macadamia Tuile
Mango Sorbet – Caramelized Hibiscus, Tapioca
Cadbury Egg Soufflé with Creamy Chocolate Sabayon Sauce
Almond and Coconut Truffles
Located next to Yusho in the renovated Monte Carlo Andre’s had long resided on my Vegas “to do” list and with the new Spring menu launch coinciding with Easter Traditions I finally opted to pay homage to Chef Rochat’s celebrated dining room for a refined experience far too uncommon in this city of modern glitz and glamour. Referred to by some a ‘stodgy’ with fine porcelain, silver, and lush fabrics to accompany formal service plus a cigar and cognac lounge my experience at Andre’s began a few days prior with an E-mail to Ms. Jana Lane Southard requesting a copy of the menu plus a supplemental classic to the chef’s tasting and with both requests granted to the tune of a small surcharge the dinner that followed was a true fete of three plus hours of near-perfect food and drink. Noting up front that beverages were not requested, but instead comped to the tune of me leaving more inebriated than I’d prefer, it was to a glass of brisk bubbly that I was welcomed and proceeding next to the almost-too-rich-for-one “Marti Foie” with a quartet of accoutrements my palate was soon warmed with a gamy croquette serving notice of bold flavors to come. Moving past mundane bread and frankly disappointing chilled butter it was with my upcharged request of demi-portion of Rochat’s classic Thermidor that my tasting began and served in a high-arched bowl the only thing more impressive than the portion was the prep as the butter-poached crustacean proved snappy-sweet amidst a sea of cognac custard studded with tender vegetables and light aromatics. Opting next for a caramelized seared steak of grade-A foie gras over savory fruitcake tinged with verjus and paired with Tokaji it was only course three that proved anything less than perfection as a slight over-sear dulled a freshly shucked scallop amidst flavors plucked from Robuchon, a small gaff not repeated in the plump sweetbreads or duet of duck – both amongst the most memorable preparations I’ve found in the state of Nevada. Transitioning to cheese, an area where I think Andre’s could certainly expand its selection, before an impressive palate cleanse it was at long last that a dessert long anticipated arrived; a tall and proud soufflé with a tableside finish proving whimsy and perfection can indeed coexist as cocoa, cream, and cinnamon melded seamlessly into an ethereal pudding. Rounding out the night with brandied cherries, chocolate, and a swig of cognac before settling the tab with a hefty tip it was with nothing but smiles that I exited Andre’s; my only regret being that I’d waited so long to do so.
FOUR STARS: Offering the full 7-course tasting plus extras for $135 Andre’s proves a veritable bargain compared to Le Cirque and Picasso with largely superior cuisine and although lacking in terms of bread, cheese, and luxuries lavished by Gagnaire, Savoy, or Robuchon the value on the dollar should impress all but the most jaded. A beautiful room with refined service and classic French cuisine seen far too infrequently in this city of modern glitz and glamour Chef Rochat’s eponymous restaurant serves notice that although times are changing “fine dining” most certainly is not dead.
RECOMMENDED: The thermidor, soufflé, offal, and game meats are not to be missed.
AVOID: Modernized or “fusion” dishes best left to Gagnaire or Robuchon.
TIP: Portions and pours at Andre’s trend towards large, particularly for diners not accustomed to the richness of French cuisine or those with low alcohol tolerance.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor