Nasturtium Flower – Caviar, Salmon Mousse, Herbs and Leaves
Baguette, Pretzel, Bacon Cheddar, Rosemary, Coffee White Chocolate Breads with Salted and Unsalted Butter
Hamachi at the Beach – Japanese Yellowtail, Avocado, Heart of Palm, Radishes, Tangerine, Tapioca, Yuzu-Mirin Vinaigrette
Le Crabe – Dungeness Crab, Russian Osetra Caviar, Apple, Ocean Water Smoke
Forest Veloute – Savoyarde Sunchoke Soup, Wild Forest Mushrooms, Green Tea Sable, Cocoa Truffle ‘dirt,’ Fromage de Raclette
White Truffle Risotto – Parmesan, Carnarolli Rice, Shave it Yourself
Potato Crusted Mediterranean Sea Bass – Braised Leeks, Pinot Noir Verjus
2009 Chateau du Moulin-a-Vent
Le Caille – Gold Crusted Quail, Farci Au Foie Gras, Yukon Potato Mousse
2013 Petite Ruche Crozes Hermitage
La Joue de Veau –Braised Veal Cheeks, Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Cauliflower Puree, Perigueux Sauce, White Truffles
Poire Explosion – Pear Vodka, Lychee, Cinnamon Cacao Butter
Edible Art – Beet Red Velvet Cake, Mascarpone Cheese, Raspberries
Double Espresso with Ice
Dark Chocolate Souffle – Vanilla Ice Cream
Continuing to reinvent a restaurant that many in-the-know diners already consider to be Las Vegas’ very best, Le Cirque’s Autumn 2016 menu sees now-30-year-old Chef Wilfried Bergerhausen evolving a personal style that pushes the boundaries of luxury by way of classic technique infused with innovation, several new service vessels elevating modern-classics previously tasted while new dishes show signs of talent in a continuous state of exploration and refinement.
Catching brief glimpses of the process by way of Social Media, both the Chef and 18-year Bellagio veteran Ivo Angelov occasionally sharing their vision online along with well-deserved accolades from various publications, it was again with Carte Blanche given to the kitchen that a party of two sat down in the circus-themed space overlooking the Bellagio Fountains, the service a parade of jovial formality where first-time visitors are seemingly seen just as valuable as old friends.
Truly the best time of year to visit Le Cirque, early season White Truffles ready to perfume the jewel-box space, dinner began with the sparkling Raspberry Cocktail that almost seems requisite at this point, a canapé of Nasturtium Flower presented on a pedestal beside it with Salmon Mousse and Caviar plus a trio of edible Fall Leaves.
Impossible to resist the Bread Service, all five warm selections as good as ever with the stamped Butter from overseas, course two brought serviceware from Griona to Las Vegas as a means to present a curl of Yellowtail Salad by the Seaside, Le Crabe to follow still Las Vegas’ most captivating dish and now upgraded by a black rock from El Celler de Can Roca, the individual Roe now painstakingly Gold-Dipped and eye-popping amidst the cold steam.
As masterful with Soups as he is with Sauces, dish four would see the young Chef go back to his rural French upbringing in the form of an elaborate terrarium referencing the forest floor, each warm bite a textural exploration of earthy flavors occasionally punctuated by acid or salinity, the follow-up a far more classic offering in which a nugget of Tuber magnatum was left tableside with a shaver and two orbs of Parmesan Risotto – the instructions to garnish as desired.
Taking a pause to look back at the restaurant’s heritage, Chef Daniel Boulud’s Potato Crusted Sea Bass one of a handful of Le Cirque Classics currently highlighting the prix-fixe or a la carte menus, suffice it to saw Wilfried does justice to both the fish and its decadent Pinot Noir reduction, though one might equally say that the rich sauce accompanying Le Caille is equally worthy of such elevated status.
Tasting a few splashes of wine with the meal’s final savories, presentation once more saw an upgrade with the arrival of “La Joue de Veau,” a long silver box displaying what seems to be Black and White Truffles soon revealed to be two juicy Veal Cheeks coated in Black Trumpet Mushrooms, a bed of White Truffles laid down first and subsequently flooded with aromatic Sauce Perigueux.
Taking the Cocktail palate cleanser to Autumn by way of a boozy Pear Bon-Bon kissed with Cinnamon it was with Coffee served that the evening concluded in a classic Dark Chocolate Soufflé plus Chef Bergerhausen’ retooled Red Velvet Cheesecake that was unquestionably delicious while simultaneously proposing the question of if and when food becomes art.
FIVE STARS: On par with any Michelin Two Star experienced in 2016 and in some instances surpassing the food of Restaurants “worth a Special Journey,” Le Cirque continues to raise the stakes for Las Vegas upper echelon of dining, a trend seen since its young Chef took over and one that shows no signs of slowing.
RECOMMENDED: Le Crabe, La Joue de Veau, Le Caille, Savoyarde Sunchoke Soup, Red Velvet Cheesecake.
AVOID: That Bread Service…if you can.
TIP: The White Truffle Menu was launched 10/13 and will continue from White to Black through Winter, the current Alba Whites available at three courses for $195 and topping out at eight for $520 per person.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.