Twist by Pierre Gagnaire
Canapes – Lavash Cracker, Sweet Potato Puree with Cumin, Parmesan Gougere with Mascarpone and Nutmeg, Razor Clam and Radish Tartlet, Hibiscus Marshmallow with Thai Basil Agar, Compressed Watermelon with Campari
Baguette, Black Moroccan Olive Bread, Charcoal Apricot Bread, Salted Bordier Butter, Lemon Bordier Butter with Olive Oil
Hudson Valley Foie Gras – Foie Gras Terrine, Smoked Cranberries, Petit Beets, Beet Water / Smoked Duck Breast, Avocado Purée, Granny Smith, Apple, Fennel /Endive, Mustard Ice Cream, Bacon Powder, Shaved Foie
2013 Planeta La Segreta Bianco
The Sea – Ceviche of Scallop, Cardinal Prawn, Sea Bream Miranda
1985 Warre’s Vintage Port
Foie Soup – Squid, Black Garlic, Red Currant, Blueberries, Baby Corn, Turnip
2015 Bouchard Aine & Fils Fixin La Maziere
Escargot – Spinach Velouté, Eggplant, Veal Jus, Parsley Sponge
2017 Casa Magoni Chardonnay-Vermentino
Dover Sole – Mussel Cream, Saffron, Leeks
2015 Bodega Corona del Valle Tempranillo-Nebbiolo
Tajima Fillet – Red Beet, Tamarind, Tangy Onion, Petite Root Vegetables, Sauce Bordelaise
Pumpkin Gnocchi – Slow Simmered Grapefruit, Gorgonzola
Baby Sweet Charred Onions – Lardo
2009 Domaine Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Sec
Pre-Dessert – Raspberry-Beet Sorbet, Arugula Foam, Dehydrated Raspberries, Arugula Leaf
Pierre Gagnaire Grand Dessert – Raisins, Aloe Vera, Licorice, Kaffir Lime, Vodka Coulis, Basil, Lime Sherbet / Apple Tatin, Calvados Caramel Sauce, Vanilla Ice Cream / Coffee Panna Cotta, Limoncello, Kumquat / Manjari Parfait, Almond Nougatine, Bitter Chocolate / Grand Marnier Hibiscus Gelée, Saffron Cake, White Almond Paste
Meringata Cake – Almond Dacquois, Pinot Grigio-Sherry Mousse, Lemon-Lavender Meringue
Raspberry Tarts, Dark Chocolate with Chocolate Milk Ganache
Formerly one of Las Vegas’ best Restaurants, but falling off tremendously under Chef Frederic Don, Twist now flies under the Waldorf Astoria banner and although the future appears uncertain by many accounts the kitchen currently toqued by John Miranda put on quite a show Friday night.
Located twenty-three stories above The Strip, Hilton’s purchase of the Mandarin Oriental installing former Portofino General Manager Chris Zadie as the property Wine Director and Twist’s GM, it was after Cocktails and bites at SkyBar that two guests were seated at a window-side table, the city lights twinkling below while baubles hang from high ceilings where an odd mix of music plays a bit too loudly.
Still the only North American Restaurant offering the cuisine of Pierre Gagnaire, his frequent visits since opening in 2009 assuring one of Sin City’s most daring menus, it was after brief perusal of a la carte selections that the Chef’s Tasting was agreed upon, opening Canapes soon to arrive and highlighted by Crackers intended to be dipped in airy autumnal Cream plus tiny Tarts topped with Radishes and Razor Clams.
Next offered three types of Bread to pair with some of France’s best Butter, a warm Apricot Roll blackened by Charcoal stunning with a Citrus-infused smear, it was a la carte that Foie Gras Terrine was added, the silky block centered by smoked Cranberry Paste marvelous in a pool of Beet Jus and flanked by tiny bites of Duck Breast Salad plus bitter Mustard and Endive to refresh the palate between bites.
Opting for half-poured Wine pairings with Dinner, Mr. Zadie’s predilection for the unexpected frequently witnessed across six courses, it was alongside “The Sea” that bright acidity offered refreshment, a sudden shift to Port seemingly out of left field but soon making far better sense in the context of creamy Foie Gras Soup that again displayed the ingredient’s diversity as each spoonful varied tremendously thanks to diverse accoutrements.
Never known as a Chef to play it safe, an ability to fuse dissimilar ideas into a congruent dish highlighting Gagnaire’s style across the globe, course three featured tender Snails atop a layer of smooth Spinach fortified by Veal Jus, the Red chosen to pair in this case a bit heavy though the following Mexican Wine from Casa Magoni matched creamy Citrus notes to curls of Dover Sole atop mashed Leeks and Saffron beautifully.
Staying with Mexico for the main course, a spicy Tempranillo-Nebbiolo blend proving quite capable of standing up to American Wagyu with Beets and flawless Bordelaise, no matter how good the Beef it would be impossible to ignore sides of Sweet Onions topped by melted Pork Fat and tender Pumpkin Gnocchi that sees Gorgonzola step-in-step with warmed and reduced Grapefruit Pulp.
Currently in the market for an Executive Pastry Chef, a la carte options largely unchanged from two-years prior, it was after vegetal Sorbet that Gagnaire’s “Grand Dessert” arrived along with semi-sweet Chenin Blanc, the five plates ranging from Coffee and Lemon that simply did not work to a classic Tart Tatin and the elegant pairing of Sultanas with Licorice, Vodka and Lime.
Not yet finished, though the room had begun to wind-down around nine o’clock, it was with Cake and Mignardises that the check was presented, Italian Wedding an odd choice considering the French Chef whose name is on the door but here light with subtle sweetness while discs of Chocolate and tiny Raspberry Tarts were also not just for looks.
FOUR STARS: Although rumors of Twist’s imminent shutter have been whispered for nearly a year there is no sign of a team ready to pack it in, and although the change in music as well as some “forced” Ingredients are difficult to overlook there is no doubt the kitchen is back on the right track while Beverages and service remain graceful yet fun.
RECOMMENDED: Charcoal Apricot Bread, Razor Clam and Radish Tartlet, Foie Soup, Escargot, Dover Sole, Pumpkin Gnocchi, Apple Tatin, Meringata Cake.
AVOID: Hibiscus Marshmallow with Thai Basil Agar, Pre-Dessert, Coffee Panna Cotta
TIP: A shared Wine Pairing was graciously allowed on request due to poor alcohol tolerance, and many of the choices presented are offered by the glass both at Twist and SkyBar.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.