Crème Brulee Cocktail – Stoli Vanil, Crème Anglaise, Caramel Tuile, Brown Sugar Rim
White Chocolate Coffee, Cheese, Rosemary, Baguette, Pretzel with Salted/Unsalted Butter
Tartlette – Apple, Pickled Savoy Cabbage, Shaved Foie Gras
Kushi Oysters – Yuzu Vinaigrette, Shiso, Osetra Caviar, Olive Oil
Le Crabe – Dungeness Crab, Apple, Avocado, Trout Roe, Osetra Caviar, Gold Leaf
Galete Du Roi from Jonathan Pluvinet at Rosallie Le French Cafe
Brouillade d’Oeufs a la Truffe Blanche – Soft Scrambled Eggs, White Truffles, Asparagus, Crème Fraiche
Risotto – Puffed Rice, Uni, Ham, Maine Lobster, Parmesan Foam
New Black Tie Scallops – Scallops, Black Truffle, Spinach, Confit Onion, Truffle Jus
Blanquette de Lapin – Prosciutto Wrapped Roasted Rabbit Loin, Ravioli, Sage, Crispy Spatzle, Mustard, Black Truffles, Riesling Cream Sauce, Fava Beans
La Caille – Gold Crusted Quail Farci au Foie Gras and Truffles, Perigord Sauce, Pommes Puree, Black Truffles
Fromage – Raisin Bread, Epoisses, Tette de Moine, Young Comte, Apricot Jam, Candied Walnuts, Crottin de Chavignol, Tomme de Chevre
Le Parfait a la Framboise – Raspberry Parfait, Champagne Gelee, Lychee Guimauves, Hibiscus Consommee
Double Espresso on Ice
Chocolate Souffle – Vanilla Ice Cream, Crème Anglaise
Unable to spend Christmas with family and instead enjoying the holiday with a team that possesses an almost unrivaled ability to make each and every guest feel special regardless of their origin, status, or frequency of visit it was for the fifth time in 2015 that I sat down at Le Cirque on December 25th and deferring entirely to the whims of Chef Wilfried Bergerhausen and GM Ivo Angelov the experience was without a doubt one of the best in recent memory, a holiday spent dining better than perhaps anyone on The Strip.
Serving a prix-fixe versus the seasonal truffle menu to those in the dining room while I myself bellied up to a bar that has hosted five stunning experiences since relocating to Las Vegas it was with familiar smiling faces of bartender Gene and hostess Daniela that Holiday greetings were offered and after offering two gifts to Ivo it was not long before the evening got started, the first of twelve courses featuring two small tarts of apple and savoy cabbage topped in Foie Gras that had been frozen and shaved.
Progressing to three plump oysters enlivened by citrus and shiso beneath a spoonful of caviar each it, was much to my delight that the Wilfried’s signature crab was once again offered next and with steam bubbling forth from dry ice underneath there is little doubt in my mind that this remains the best dish in all of Las Vegas, the balance of brine, sweetness, and protein all elegantly presented in a shell decorated with trout roe and gold leaf.
Taking a break in the menu to sample a slice of the flaky almond-filled King Cake from Jonathan Pluvinet at Rosallie on Rainbow, a holiday gift shared with the staff along with caramels brought back from Bordeaux, it was back to the tasting with course number five, the fluffy scrambled eggs infused with crème fraiche carrying forth the essence of white truffles with lightly poached asparagus adding both texture and balance.
Next offering two new items potentially set to make their menu debut as soon as the first week of 2016 it was almost impossible to fail the palate of someone who loves both rice pudding and congee with the umami rich flavor of puffed rice risotto decorated with ham and uni plus Parmesan and lobster, the followup of Le Cirque’s Black Tie Scallops presented in a totally new way without the puff pastry instead allowing the truffle layered jellybean of the sea shine for itself beneath a veil of spinach that had been gently sauteed.
Clearly proud of early season Perigords while equally showing off the remaining white versions from Alba it was the former that decorated plates eight as well as nine and having not seen the highly regarded rabbit in over a year the stewed loin beneath ravioli in cream sauce remains as decadent as it ever has been, the same to be said of a Quail golden nugget now served with the sauce of black truffles and pan jus alongside creamy pommes puree.
Enjoying a smooth Crème Brulee cocktail throughout the course of the meal it was after a brief delay that five well selected cheeses were presented along with yet another style of delicious housemade bread and transitioning to dessert along with a double espresso over ice it was only after several had been denied that a young woman beside me finally got her wish, the light Raspberry Parfait presented as a segue to one of Le Cirque’s tall, fluffy, and proud souffles.
FIVE STARS: Treated as a VIP in a room where even those wearing John Deere hats are treated like dearly valued guests it should be obvious to anyone that although my visit may be ‘better’ than some, Le Cirque is a truly special place and whether seated alongside the Bellagio Fountains or directly in front of Gene it is a Vegas ‘experience’ well worth the investment for any with fine dining interests and the means.
RECOMMENDED: A difficult choice, but Le Crabe and La Caille continue to stand out along with the Souffle.
AVOID: Seven visits in and I’ve yet to have a subpar bite of food at Le Cirque – this includes the bread tray which those of lesser appetites should avoid for fear of “filling up.”
TIP: Time still remains to nominate Chef Bergerhausen for Rising Star Chef of the Year here.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor