Bread Service – Brioche, Baguette, Cheese-Bacon, Pretzel, White Chocolate-Coffee, Salted and Unsalted Butter
Le Crabe – Maryland Blue Crab, Osetra Caviar, Trout Roe, Avocado Mousse, Green Apple, Shellfish Gelee
Les Tomates d’Ete – Summer Heirloom Tomato Fantasy, Smoked Mozzarella, Heirloom Watermelon in Beet Powder, Sesame Tuile
Langoustine – Brittany Langoustine Carpaccio, Osetra Caviar, Shellfish Flan, Compressed Honeydew, Pea Tendrils, Finger Lime, Brioche Croutons
Les Saint-Jacques – Hokkaido Scallop, Black Tie, Brick Dough, Spinach Puree, Perigourdine Sauce
Le Pates – Fresh Cavatelli, Black Truffles, Dill, Mustard Seed
La Joue de Veau – Veal Trilogy of Chop, Cheek, Potato wrapped Sweetbread, Garlic Butter, Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Baby Vegetables
Le Fromage – Goat Cheese Flan, Red Wine Reduction, Chives
Le Pre-Dessert – Watermelon and Lychee “Explosion,” Cacao Butter
Double Espresso – Ice
Les Ananas – White Chocolate Mousse, Roasted Pineapple, Coconut Ice Cream, Marigold
Le Parfait à la Framboise – Raspberry, Crème Fraiche Ice Cream, Pistachios, Lychee, Strawberry Sauce
Le Cirque – Beet Red Velvet Cake, Mascarpone Cheese, Raspberries
Les Mignardises – Pistachio Macaron, Chocolate Macaron, Passionfruit Macaron, Caramel Macaron, Cassis Pate de Fruit, Vanilla Guimauve
Chocolat – Hazelnut, Pistachio
While most likely believe Food to have a restorative effect, not merely nutritionally but equally in terms of mood, the same might also be said of dining in the right place with the right people and after a particularly difficult month it seemed only right to start September anew with an old favorite, the cuisine of Alan Mardonovich and service from Ivo Angelov at Le Cirque offering both comfort and refinement on Saturday just as it has to all who’ve entered for nearly thirty years.
Continuing to add new accolades with regularity, the space often described as a “jewel box” once again at capacity on Labor Day weekend even as other resort Restaurants languish, it was with warm greetings that three guests including one in a wheelchair were welcomed in the foyer before making way to a large table overlooking Bellagio’s fountains, a special menu made up for the evening a particularly nice touch speaking to the benefits of being a ‘regular.’
Happy to defer dinner to a kitchen who has certainly earned such trust, though any visitor with the time would be well advised to indulge in one of Chef Mardonovich’s many tastings, it was with alcohol declined that the evening began with Tea and Bread service, the Pretzel Roll missing in March now returned and as good as ever though the five available flavors are still highlighted by a warm Loaf fragrant with Coffee and Chocolate.
Coursed out slowly with quiet music playing overhead, the din of the room subdued even as many in attendance were celebrating, it was eschewing the famous Crab in its Shell that Alan started the evening with similar ingredients atop Shellfish Gel, the resultant effect one of dissipating brine with sweetness developing in its wake and light notes of Apple lingering alongside Caviar at the end.
Focusing on flavors of Summers that last long in Las Vegas, a “Tomato Fantasy” of several textures next placing Vegetarian Tartare beneath smoked Cheese alongside Watermelon balls, it was in follow-up to this beautiful plate that Mardonovich would offer thinly sliced Langoustine as the base to various ingredients, each bite entirely different from the last and those featuring curls of Melon or pearls of Finger Lime particularly thrilling.
Next producing a classic on request, Daniel Boulud’s “Scallop Black Tie” slightly re-imagined in a single layer of Pastry atop Spinach Puree with rich Sauce Perigourdine added tableside, it was amidst housemade Pasta that more Truffles were subsequently offered, the complex interplay of these summer specimens with Dill Oil and Mustard Seeds something never seen before but the effect surprisingly quite balanced considering the heft of each individual component.
At this point seeing the crowd somewhat thinned thanks to showtimes, though a second wave of guests would soon arrive to fill most empty seats, it was on a classic plate that Chef Mardonovich opted to place three cuts of Veal including braised Cheek and Offal wrapped in crisp Potato threads, the richness tempered by a yellow Sauce lively with Herbs plus baby Root Vegetables and tender Trumpet Mushrooms.
Creating a plated Cheese course for the evening, a deep vessel with three spoonfuls of Flan topped in crispy Chives and bathed in sweet Red Wine an elegant transition from savory to sweet, it was next from an illuminated base of Ice that individual Bon Bons were plucked to flood the palate with refreshing liquid, a Double Espresso also prepared to accompany the evening’s grand finale.
Rare to forgo Le Cirque’s Chocolate Soufflé, though on a night toasting new beginnings it seemed most appropriate to partake in only novel dishes, it was with subtle modifications that the pastry team’s Raspberry Parfait came across creamy and elegant surrounded by fresh Strawberry Sauce while a dish of White Chocolate Mousse with Roasted Pineapples doubled down on Tropical flavors by way of Coconut Ice Cream plus toasted flesh beneath.
Finishing with Mignardises, though not to be forgotten is a reprise of 2016’s edible painting atop Red Velvet Cake that has now achieved signature status by way of an image titled Le Cirque from Musée d’Orsay, it was with take-home Chocolates in hand that the bill was paid before exiting, everything about the evening as good as ever and hopefully a good sign of many great days to come.
FIVE STARS: Now toqued by Alan Mardonovich for over six months and continuing to push forward in terms of flavors and elegance Le Cirque remains one of Las Vegas’ very best Restaurants just as it has been for decades, and at a price far lower than the likes of Gagnaire, Robuchon or Savoy with no loss of quality one can even argue that by 2018 standards the Bellagio’s crown jewel remains under-valued.
RECOMMENDED: Le Crabe, Langoustine, Le Pates, Le Cirque, Les Ananas.
AVOID: N/A – though admittedly the Passionfruit Macaron was eaten by others.
TIP: With Alba Truffle season coming soon guests visiting Las Vegas in late-September and October are encouraged to make their reservations early.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.