It is tough to be sneaky. Mrs. Robot was quite surprised as all she knew was that she had to pack a bag and be at the airport at a certain time.
The main gist of the weekend would be a meal at é by José Andrés - which happens to be in Las Vegas. It’s tough to get a table here as there are only two seatings and only eight seats.
EIGHT. That’s crazy. I somehow scored two seats for us as well as a very nice room at the Mandarin Oriental (this is one of the few non-casino having hotels in Las Vegas).
What happens in Vegas
We didn’t do much in the town of Las Vegas as neither of us are particularly into gambling or going to outdoor DJ pool parties or dressing like skanks. We were also Vegas virgins so this was our first trip there. I’d also bet that it’s probably our last. Our hotel was nice and the pool area was “chill”, but otherwise it’s all kind of like the largest mall and cruise ship and most annoying tourist trap area all rolled into one. Also kind of shady.
José Andrés has like 500 restaurants in the Cosmopolitan hotel. They all look nice and the hotel is chock full of people (primarily drunken youngsters) and is kind of a constant party that happens to be near a hotel. Luckily, “é” is located in a private room so things are fairly quiet and peaceful.
Like I said, they serve eight people at this restaurant with only two seatings per night.
Let me first complain about a few things that didn’t make the dinner perfect and then I’ll “blog” about the stuff I did like.
- For a restaurant with super playful food and decor, the staff was hyper-serious. Sometimes bordering on comical.
- I would have liked a tad more love or passion. The food was often very inspired but the chef was a bit short with the descriptions (in order for us to ask more questions). Even when we asked questions, I thought those answers were short. If the chef answers your question with the name of an obscure spanish ingredient and that’s it... Well.
- This is not something a restaurant can really control, but this was the first shared dinner table / chef’s table situation where almost no one spoke to each other. At the City Grit dinner last month, we all traded cards and email addresses. At Brooklyn Fare years ago, people went out drinking afterwards with their new friends. At this one, we basically left as we came in.
- This was also probably more me, but this was the first time I’d eaten a “fancy” meal where I didn’t finish all the food and didn’t finish all the drinks. They do a drink pairing - if I did the meal again, I’d just blow the money and get a bottle of champagne as I didn’t think all of the pairings worked, at least in my mouth.
The best dishes were the one that had that unexpected surprise. The olive oil ball or the chickpeas that were pureed and then reconstituted as a delicate ball of chickpea goodness that fell apart in your mouth (“Chickpea Stew with Ibérico Ham”). The truffle cotton candy with gold leaf - this one hurts your head because you keep thinking “cotton candy” but your mouth says “truffles”.
The “Almejas al Natural” was wonderful. It was clams that had been injected with all their briney goodness. They were all bloated and basically kind of burst in your mouth. It was great although I’m not doing the dish any justice with my caveman description.
The “Crispy Chicken Skin in Escabeche” was crispy chicken skin and, I believe, chicken balls. Very tasty considering. Chicken balls.
There was the “Bocata de Bacalao”. This was a small sandwich with the meat from the cheek of a fish (cod?) and was delicious but kind of ruined by bread that seemed super dry.
“Cava Sangira” was a ball of cava and sangria that burst in your mouth.
“Lobster with Citrus & Jasmine” had jasmin air/foam and tiny citrus bits. So pretty.
“Turbot with Bone Marrow” was lovely fish along with bone marrow.
“Secreto of Ibérico Pork with Squid” was one of my least favorites. It was squid and pork. The squid was wonderful and I chomped that up, but the pork was maybe undercooked? Whatever the reason, it seemed to take hours to chew each bite. Tough.
“Whole Lobe of Foie Gras Baked in Salt” was good but seriously could have used just a tad more foie gras.
The dessert courses were fun. The flan was amazing and had this wonderful tiny star-shaped flowers on the top. Then there was a dish that was basically chocolate, cream, and olive oil. Oh my.
Here’s the entire menu for our meal
CARAMELIZED PORK RINDS
APPLE "BRAZO DE GITANO”
NITRO ALMOND CUP
TRUFFLE COTTON CANDY
ALMEJAS AL NATURAL
BOCATA DE BACALAO
CRISPY CHICKEN SKIN IN ESCABECHE
ARTICHOKE “PUREE” WITH VANILLA
LOBSTER WITH CITRUS & JASMINE
CHICKPEA STEW WITH IBERICO HAM
TURBOT WITH BONE MARROW
WHOLE LOBE OF FOIE GRAS BAKED IN SALT
SECRETO OF IBERICO PORK WITH SQUID
ORANGE PITH PUREE LA SERENA
PAN CON CHOCOLATE
“ARROZ CON LECHE"
COCOA PAPER WITH DRIED STRAWBERRY
25 SECOND BIZCOCHO