Mocktail #1 – Passionfruit, Guava, Mango, Soda / Mocktail #2 – Passionfruit, Coconut Sorbet, Raspberry, Soda
Curious George – Casamigos Tequila, Monin Ginger Liqueur, Liquor 43, Fresh Lime and Sour, Jalapeno Salt Rim
Lychees and Pearls – Beluga Gold Vodka, Lychee Puree and Pearls, Monin Lavender Liqueur
Bread Service – Brioche, Baguette, Cheese-Bacon, Rosemary-Feta, White Chocolate-Coffee, Salted and Unsalted Butter
Oyster Concasse – Ossetra Caviar, Frozen Raspberry
Yuzu Glazed Hamachi – Cucumber, Avocado, Grapefruit, Sorrel, Crispy Tapioca
Green and White Asparagus – Ossetra Caviar, Sauce Maltaise, Chive Oil
Black Tie Scallop – Brick Dough, Perigord Black Truffles, Perigourdine Sauce
Uni Crusted Dover Sole – Seaweed, Sea Urchin Stuffed Bone Marrow, Uni Emulsion
Surf and Turf – Jidori Chicken, Lobster, Micro-Root Vegetables, Ginger Sauce, Lobster Bisque
Veal Sweetbread – Honey-Ginger Glaze, Veal Cheek Stuffed Fresh Morels, Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Apple Butter
Moulard Duck – Chartreuse Glazed Foie Gras, Black Currant Sauce
Pineapple and Lavender “Explosion” – Cacao Butter
Double Espresso – Ice
Soufflé au Chocolat – Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Grand Marnier Soufflé – Crème Anglaise
Strawberry Parfait – Crème Fraiche Ice Cream, Pistachio, Guimauve, Sable, Wild Strawberry Sauce
Classic Vacherin for Two – Meringue, Passion Fruit, Coconut Sorbet, Exotic Fruit, Tropical Sauce
Consistently one of Las Vegas’ best Restaurants for nearly twenty years it was on the eighth day of new toque Alan Mardonovich’s tenure that a late celebration was scheduled at Le Cirque, the young Chef’s move from Joel Robuchon bringing a new set of skills to Bellagio’s most exclusive dining room and a look at several works in progress showing plenty of reasons to be excited for the upcoming Spring menu.
Hot on the heels of another 5-Star recognition from Forbes, the plaque adorning walls both inside and out alongside other accolades, it was with warm greetings from General Manager Ivo Angelov that guests were welcomed moments prior to a 6:30pm reservation, the familiar staff once again found serving a full-house of guests from various backgrounds and several with time constraints.
Taking a seat in the dining room for the first time in over a year, a rounded alcove looking out on the Bellagio fountains better fitting a birthday than the usual bar seats, it was with carte blanche deferred to Chef Mardonovich that the meal began shortly after Cocktails, two old favorites joined by specially crafted Mocktails for a ten year old that made him immediately feel comfortable sitting amongst adults in his shirt and tie.
Dining under the big top with classical music playing lightly overhead, the room’s whimsy and a veteran staff creating a refined environment that is anything but stuffy, it was shortly after the first bites of Le Cirque’s White Chocolate Coffee Bread that an amuse arrived, the legendary Crab still available but seeing a rival for complexity in chopped Oysters served with a spoon of Caviar plus individual frozen Raspberry cells.
Moving forward to an enlarged version of Le Cirque’s Yellowtail painted in Yuzu with textural toppings, the service outside a vessel without liquid better allowing the Fish to show its quality, course three once again presented Ossetra Caviar acting as a garnish, this time atop early-season Asparagus and citrusy Sauce that saw everyone including the youngster happy to eat their Vegetables.
Next reinterpreting a Le Cirque classic with the nouveau Black Tie Scallop, a plate dating back to Daniel Boulud’s days in Manhattan as elegant as ever beneath shaved Black Truffles and Sauce Perigourdine, it was in follow-up that two new courses spoke of Mardonovich’s training and perhaps Le Cirque’s future, a tender slice of Dover Sole first crusted in Bread Crumbs and Sea Urchin with a stuffed ring of Marrow followed by Chicken and Lobster bathed fragrant Bisque with Carrots and Turnips smaller than a thimble.
At this point well-sated but excited by what was to come it was with plates centered on two proteins long-missing from Le Cirque’s menu that Alan rounded out savories, the sizable Sweetbread seared crispy with an unctuous center made lightly sweet by Honey providing a beautiful juxtaposition to a stuffed Morel while rosy Duck topped tableside with Sauce Cassis found its dance partner in Chartreuse-scented Liver.
Quickly cleansing the palate with Le Cirque’s liquid-centered Pineapple and Lavender “Explosion” plus a cup of Coffee it was once again a surprise to see a new Dessert despite no change to the posted menu, the Strawberry Parfait outpacing its predecessor in terms of subtle sweetness and layered flavors while the rest was highlighted by a Grand Marnier Soufflé flamed and then extinguished with Crème Anglaise.
FIVE STARS: No doubt a difficult task in replacing Wilfried Bergerhausen, though Christmas from sous-Chef Billy Maldonado showed well, it seems Le Cirque has found their man in Alan Mardonovich to help push the Restaurant forward and if these preview plates are any indication it seems another visit later this season is well advised.
RECOMMENDED: Lychees and Pearls, Uni Crusted Dover Sole, Surf and Turf, Veal Sweetbread, Moulard Duck, Strawberry Parfait, Souffle.
AVOID: N/A – even the Passionfruit Cake at Le Cirque is so well executed and balanced by Cream and Mango that it is delicious.
TIP: Many plates depicted are not yet on the menu, so please contact the Restaurant directly if something specific stands out…or just wait for the full menu roll-out coming soon.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.