Bouchon Bakery - Las Vegas, NV

One of dream is to go eat at French Laundry near Napa and get to meet one of my biggest idols in the food world, Thomas Keller. Bouchon Bakery is a sub-venture of his restaurant Bouchon which also has a location near Napa as well as in Las Vegas in the Venitian. Speaking of dreams, walking up on Bouchon Bakery was like finding an oasis in the middle of the sin city desert. Golden brown colors, next to vibrant reds and chocolate browns, all there for the taking.

Now I'm not a gambler although I've been known to throw craps from time to time, but then I realized I could just GIVE my money to anyone and they would take it really. Or to one up that, I could just give my money to Bouchon Bakery and I was guaranteed a return! I challenge you to beat THOSE odds.

As you can see by the pictures the selection here is divine and the coffee wasn't half bad either for a kiosk style spot in a casino. I prepared myself to kill myself in chocolate bliss but decided to change it up and get some gifts for my family. So I ordered up a sampler packet of macaroons and THEN picked up some treats for myself.

My heart was torn between here I really couldn't just order one thing right? So I ordered up some of these jelly filled dough balls and a couple chocolate bouchons. Literally translated "bouchon" means cork, like a wine cork. I would have to say if for any reason you should pick up Bouchon's cookbook it's to make those brownies. Of all the brownies I've had they are the most decadent you'll ever eat. In fact the brownie was so good I couldn't tell you the littlest about the dough ball.

--Joe Kwon

Bouchon - Las Vegas, NV

It's been a long time coming but it's finally here. My first experience of a Keller restaurant. Thomas Keller in the culinary world is in a way a demi-god. He's in a class of his own among the most highly revered chefs, and unlike the molecular gastronomists like Ferran Adria, his food is very real, very true, and very good.

This trip took place in February of 2010, my buddy Leon and I were tired of winning beaucoup bucks at the craps table (NOT!!) so we decided to go and take it easy over at the Venetian and give Bouchon, Las Vegas a try. I was very excited to be eating at a Keller restaurant to say the least.

Beignets de Brandade de Morue - Cod Brandade with Tomato Confit and Fried Sage
It's like the most amazing puff of fat and fish. The outside of this dish is so perfectly crispy and flakey and salty. All the things you want in an appetizer.

Pate de Campagne - country style pate with watercress, cornichons & radishes
Looking back on this dish I realize how much more I would appreciate this now. My grasp on how good this could be was lost on me back then. One of the beauties of taking photos of food is remembering how perfect their technique looks. If you've never had country pate, you need to.

Croque Madame grilled ham & cheese sandwich on brioche, fried egg & mournay sauce served with French fries
Of course one of my comfort food favorites. This is surely the benefit of having friends that know you well, they order things you like so you can eat them too.

Moules au Safran - Maine bouchot mussels steamed with white wine, mustard & saffron seved with French fries
I know what you're thinking . . . "Mussels in Las Vegas?!?!" Yeah well, Keller has a lady in Maine that hand selects each mussel and then has them sent out to his restaurants over night. I know it's not sustainable, and I realize it's far from the source, but, damn it they're good.

Choux de Bruxelles - Brussels sprouts with beurre noissette
One of the things I would do differently if I were to go back to Bouchon would be to order more sides. These were so delicate in flavor, and the texture was perfect.

Now, I will tell you that Bouchon isn't the cheapest restaurant you could eat at. But, think of it like this, you can easily spend 100 dollars in 10 minutes in Las Vegas. Afterall, they go through 100's like they're pennies there. We spent less than a hundred bucks each and it tooks us a good hour and a half to get through our meal. Money well spent? Absolutely, ESPECIALLY in Vegas.