2017 Gerard Bertrand Cremant de Limoux Rose
Bardot Baguette – Beurre d’Echire A.O.C., Sel Gris
Charcuterie Board – Prosciutto di Parma, French Dry Salame, Country Pate, Pork Rillettes, Grilled Country Bread, House Mustard, Cornichons
King Crab & Endive Salad – Belgian Endive, Parmesan Cheese, Caper Aioli, Herbed Bread Crumbs
Lobster Thermidor – Wood Grilled Maine Lobster, RLM Comte Cheese, Fine Herbs, Croissant Bread Crumbs, Crème Dijonnaise
Escargots Bardot – Wild Burgundy Snails in Puff Pastry, Toasted Hazelnuts, Chartreuse-Garlic Butter
Foie Gras French Toast – Brioche, Vanilla Mascarpone, Almond Brittle, Seared Foie Gras, Orgeat Syrup
Macaroni & Mimolette Gratinee – Béchamel
Duck Printaniere a la Presse – Pan Roasted Hudson Valley Duck Breast, Raspberry Ratatouille, Torn Basils, Fried Eggplant, Sauce Chambord
Creekstone “Triple Black” Prime Rib – Prime Black Angus, Potato-Black Truffle Raclette Cromesquis, Black Garlic Au Jus, Horseradish Crème Fraiche
Chickpea Battered Vegetables – Squash Blossom Aioli, Panisse
Mushrooms and Polenta – Garlic Velouté, Sherry Wine
Heritage Chicken Roti – Bobo Farms Free-Range Chicken, Mushroom Bread Pudding, Green Beans, Sauce Vin Jaune
Basque Creamed Corn – Parmesan Cheese, Poached Egg, Espelette Pepper
Beef Wellington for Two – 14oz USDA Prime Filet, Prosciutto di Parma, Puff Pastry, Mushroom Duxelles, Foie Gras-Madeira Veloute, Pommes Souffle
Double Espresso – Ice
Peanut Butter Tart – Peanut Butter Cream, Dark Chocolate Shell, Honeycomb
Chocolate Macaron – French Chocolate Cookie, Dark Chocolate Mousse
Baked Alaska – Banana Rum Ice Cream Cake, Roasted Pineapple and Toasted Meringue
Espresso Crème Brulee – Beignets
Buckwheat Sable – White Chocolate
Having already asserted several times that Bardot at Aria is America – if not the World’s – most innovative and delicious Brasserie it was as a group of eight that dinner was enjoyed in Friday night, the late-Summer Menu that Chef Josh Smith feels may be his best yet once again thrilling an array of guests including first timers and repeat customers with a wide variety of backgrounds in terms of both culinary and cultural experience.
Now approaching anniversary number four with a full head of steam, Michael Mina’s replacement for American Fish showing good market sense from the very beginning as a fascination with traditional French cuisine has since spread Los Angeles to New York and from NOLA as far North as Minneapolis, it was with friendly greetings from familiar managers and servers that the party was led to one long table in the more secluded space right of Bardot’s main dining room, a young woman named Andrea assuring everything went smoothly over the next two and a half hours.
Still as stunning a space as it was on day one, the gleaming bar and kitchen visible through glass both eliciting awe from guests prior to seating, it was after brief perusal of a Cocktail list and menus that Champagne was poured, Cart blanch deference to Chef Smith and his team soon to deliver two styles of Bread plus “the World’s best Butter” before seventeen plates divided over three courses.
Warned to go light on crunchy Baguettes in order to preserve appetites, the majority taking heed even though creamy Butter and coarse Sea Salt compelled otherwise, it was no more than fifteen minutes after seating that feasting commenced, old favorites such as the housemade Pate with Pork Rillettes and imported Salami expectedly going over well while Escargots Bardot quickly made fans of those who’d never previously even considered eating a Snail.
Introducing many to another new ingredient next, leaves of Belgian Endive topped generously with King Crab used as individual ‘scoops’ to deliver a mix of sweet Meat, Bread Crumbs and briny Aioli, it was in the form of another desirable Crustacean that Chef Smith’s first new stunner arrived, classic Lobster Thermidor here offered as an appetizer if for no other reason than because he can and dazzling by way of light smoke from the grill plus plenty of melted Comte and fragrant Crème Dijonnaise.
Taking a short break before the next wave, several hours of Craps and day-drinking affecting some diners while others were merely hitting stride, it was after a tableside presentation of Bardot Brasserie’s new Duck Press that course two got started, a use of Blood clearly frowned upon by the health department and thus replaced by Raspberry Sauce Chambord over rosy Breast Meat and crispy Eggplant with seasonal Squash while another piece of Duck was graciously offered by special request atop a fluffy block of the traditionally Brunch-only French Toast.
Happy to see Bardot’s upright Macaroni next, the amusement on first-timers’ faces only matched by the deliciousness of thick Bechamel and baked Mimolette, it was as Panisse and Peppers lightly fried in Chickpea Flour were passed around that many’s favorite dish of the evening arrived, Prime Rib from Creekstone Farms pulling no punches in terms of grade or color with every bite of two servings including the Fat soon gone and the Cromesquis themselves also making a strong impression as some wondered aloud why they are not additionally offered as a side dish.
At this point assured of leftovers, a half-Chicken at each end of the table twice seeing guests accustomed to eating meals of Brown Rice and Broccoli wonder why their baked Breasts never turn out nearly so juicy, it was with all of the Bread Pudding devoured that attention turned to another Mushroom side, the new addition cooked in Wine atop garlicky Polenta as rich as it is comforting while “Basque Creamed Corn” may not seem French, though little will most care after popping the Egg and taking the first of what will likely become several bites.
Not letting up the pace or even pumping the brakes to finish, Chef Smith stepping away from the bustling kitchen to carve twenty-eight ounces of the best Beef Wellington tasted too date tableside, it was only after lengthy respite and Coffee that the meal concluded with Dessert, a personal preference for one of everything wisely voted down by others who’d tapped out prior thus seeing double servings of Bardot’s famous Chocolate Macaron and Espresso Crème Brulee plus the flaming Baked Alaska and two off-menu works in progress including Buckwheat Sables and a Peanut Butter Tart that would probably fit the concept better with Hazelnuts, though if one can convince Josh to serve this creamy concoction lightly sweetened by Honeycomb as it currently stands they by all means should.
FIVE STARS: Having repeatedly challenged fellow gourmands to name a better Brasserie in North America than Bardot Brasserie someone finally stepped up to suggest Minneapolis’ Grand Cafe, but before flying up there this week to see if there is any validity to the claim it was with old friends in attendance that Chef Smith once again delivered a lights out performance, so for now suffice it to say Chef Jamie Malone and team have their work cut out for them in Minnesota.
RECOMMENDED: Charcuterie Board, Lobster Thermidor, Foie Gras French Toast, Macaroni & Mimolette Gratinee, Duck Printaniere a la Presse, Mushrooms and Polenta, Basque Creamed Corn, Beef Wellington for Two, Chocolate Macaron, Baked Alaska.
AVOID: N/A, though Peanut Butter Pie and Sables have yet to officially debut.
TIP: In addition to Dinner and the Strip’s best Brunch BARDOT is now open for lunch Monday through Friday 11am-2:30pm.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.