Bardot Brasserie Royal Bacchanalian Feast with Chef Calum Franklin of Holborn Dining Room
Canapes Escargots Bardot with Puff Pastry, Toasted Hazelnuts, Chartreuse-Garlic Butter
Canapes Salmon Tartare with Caviar and Capers on ‘Everything Brioche’ Toast
Canapes Oysters with Mignonette
Canapes Endive with Blue Cheese, Apple and Walnuts
Canapes Beef Tartare, Cream, Chives, Gaufrette Potato Chips
2014 Gustave Lorentz Pinot Gris Reserve
Rabbit, Bacon and Langoustine Pie with Vegetable Boudin, Aspic and Apple Jelly
2013 Domaine Zind Humbrecht Muscat
Glazed Quail Stuffed with Foie Gras and Pistachio, Grapes poached in Champagne
Squab Pithivier, Madeira Jus
Loup de Mere and King Crab en Croute, Beurre Blanc, Ratatouille
Aged La Belle Duck a la Presse with Olives, Confit Leg Pie with Haricots Vert
L’ille Flotante – Poached Meringue, Crème Anglaise, Caramelized Almond, Spun Sugar
Chocolate Macaron – French Chocolate Cookie, Valrhona Chocolate Mousse
Apple Tarte Tatin – Warm Caramelized Apple Tart, Puff Pastry, Vanilla Cream
Mille Feuille – Caramelized Puff Pastry, Vanilla Crème Patisserie
Baked Alaska – Banana Rum Ice Cream Cake, Roasted Pineapple and Toasted Meringue
Having gone on record as being disinterested in Food “Events” and Pop-Ups, neither of them the best way to gauge a Restaurant’s quality as the product is often significantly different from that which is offered any other night, one could not help but be excited when Chef Josh Smith of Bardot Brasserie announced his collaboration dinner with Calum Franklin of London’s Holborn Dining Room, each widely respected for doing his best to reinterpret classic French Cuisine on their respective continent.
An avid supporter of Bardot Brasserie, comments about Michael Mina’s Restaurant on the second floor of Aria Hotel and Casino being the best of its kind in America widely derided by Francophiles who refuse to believe that a large Las Vegas Restaurant is capable of executing ‘great’ Food simply as a matter of size, it was for the eighth time on Sunday night that a seat was taken in the Restaurant, this time at a 30-chair table set up in the Restaurant’s elegant side room where Dinner would being just after seven o’clock.
By the time of service already several months in planning, both Franklin and Smith promoting via Social Media with numerous teasers of the team working diligently on artistic Pastries in the days after Thanksgiving, it was as each guest arrived in the dining room that eyes first widened at the appearance of a yard-long Pâté en Croûte featuring the Aria’s logo, both Chefs introducing themselves and the concept before a bottle of Champagne had its top sabered off.
Titling the meal a Royal Bacchanalian Feast, those spending $230 each hailing from both locally and across the United States immediately becoming friends with the volume growing by each progressive glass of Wine, it was with the Pastry taken back to the kitchen for plating that several Hors D’oeuvres whetted palates, Bardot’s Escargot amongst the bites which also included Oysters, Steak Tartare, Salmon Rillettes and individual Belgian Endive topped with Fruit, Nuts and Blue Cheese.
Making conversation between courses, the night stretching on for nearly four hours with several tableside preparations and presentations along the way, it was perhaps thirty minutes after seating that contents of the Pate were revealed to contain a firm mixture of Rabbit, Bacon and Langoustine centered by Sausage colored by Peas and Carrots, the Aspic slowly melting to make things even more savory while Josh’s Apple Jelly performed admirably to help keep the richness in check.
In reality a bargain considering the quality of both Food and Beverage, Wines including 2014 Gustave Lorentz Pinot Gris Reserve and 2013 Domaine Zind Humbrecht Muscat poured liberally and pairing well with their respective courses, it was again after a short discussion of the dish’s heritage that silver trays arrived topped by pickled Grapes and deboned Quail stuffed with Foie Gras and Pistachios, the suggestion that guests share a Bird due to the amount of food coming happily followed by some leaving a few Quails left at the end which were quickly enjoyed by those who could not get enough of the tender Flesh and decadent center.
Surprisingly growing richer and more generous by the course, videos from both Josh and Calum alluding to plate three almost 24-hours prior, it was pre-sliced that Squab Pithivier arrived on wooden boards with the Meat deep red amidst eggy Custard and Spinach used to protect the pastry, each bite tender and funky with a gravy boat of Pan drippings and Portuguese Wine reduction at its side.
Wheeling around another enormous Pie around 9:30pm, individuals on both sides already stating that they were getting full, it was after a return to the kitchen for slicing and plating that flaky Branzino was presented at the center of King Crab Custard intended to be topped with Beurre Blanc, the classic Ratatouille not only pleasant for its juxtaposition of flavors and textures but also a nice segue to the Pressed Duck carved tableside with Blood liberally added to an Olive-infused Sauce that went well with both the crispy-skinned Breast or Confit Leg packed into another buttery Pastry.
Promising a Chariot de Patisserie as the grand finale, two overloaded carts meeting wide eyes and full stomachs as one of the servers melted the glass-top off a bottle of Port, those familiar with Bardot’s Pastry program immediately recognized supersized versions of the Chocolate Macaron, Apple Tarte Tatin and Mille Feuille while Josh’s newly launched Baked Alaska provided tableside theatrics by way of flamed Rum, the only unfortunate aspect of the evening being that so much of the course went uneaten due to sheer lack of capacity, though the L’ille Flotante seemed to go over quite well thanks to both the ethereal Meringue in Crème Anglaise and playful spun Sugar.
FIVE STARS: In a year that included four trips out of the country and more Michelin Starred dining than any prior it may seem like hyperbole to claim that Bardot Brasserie’s Royal Bacchanalian Feast with Chef Calum Franklin was one of the year’s top three, but facts being facts that is exactly the case and much credit is due to Chef Smith and his team for pulling it off without a hitch to not only impress thirty diners, but to further advance Las Vegas in the conversation of Worldwide culinary destinations.
TIP: Looking over my subscribers list it appears many hail from Chicago, so please keep in mind that Chef Smith will be visiting the Windy City on 12/3/17 to prepare Brunch and Dinner at Mina’s Margeaux Brasserie alongside Chef Brent Balika.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.