Friday, August 12, 2011

A Work of Art at Picasso

Every time that both my beautiful Angel and I are in Las Vegas, I make a reservation at one of the fine dining restaurants.  One of the trends in Las Vegas is for famous chefs to open restaurants in the casino/resorts.  All of the popular chefs -- Mario Batali, Emeril, Wolfgang Puck, Michael Mina, Thomas Keller, Hubert Keller and others -- have opened restaurants all along the Strip, from Mandalay Bay to the Wynn.  The last time we dined in Las Vegas, we dined at Bartolotta, which was one of the best meals that we had ever had in Las Vegas.

Recently, while in Las Vegas, Clare suggested that we dine at Picasso, which is a fine dining restaurant in the Bellagio.  Picasso has two Michelin stars, and a five diamond rating from the AAA.  The executive chef is Julian Serrano.  Although born in Spain, Chef Serrano trained in France, which is reflected in his dishes. At Picasso, Serrano offers two menus, a Prix Fixe Menu and a Degustation Menu.  Both Clare and I chose the Prix Fixe Menu, with the wine pairings by a sommelier.  And, as we sat outside with a front row seat to the dancing fountains of the Bellagio, we proceeded to have what was the best meal that we have ever had in Las Vegas.


Potato Soup with Smoked Salmon and Caviar.  The first dish was actually not even on the menu.  It was an amuse bouche of cold potato soup with sliced almonds and a "lollipop" of smoked salmon, quail egg and caviar.  An "amuse bouche" is supposed to awaken the taste buds in preparation for the meal to come.  This little dish did the trick.  The potato soup was incredible, smooth and silky, while the salmon, egg and caviar produced a wide range of tastes when eaten. 


Poached Oysters Garnished with Oestra Caviar and Sauce Vermouth. As a big fan of oysters, this dish really interested me.  The oysters were expertly shucked, poached and then placed in a small amount of a vermouth sauce.  They were topped with a small amount of oestra caviar.  This type of caviar consists of the eggs from sturgeon and can be some of the most expensive or prized caviar in the world.  The sommelier paired this dish with a white wine from the Loire valley, which was a perfect complement to the flavors of the dish.  


Foie Gras Torchon with Pineapple and Port Reduction. For the second course,I ordered the foie gras torchon with pineapple and port reduction.  Torchon is a cooking method for foie gras where the foie gras is wrapped in a towel and poached.  The foie gras was exquisite, with each bite melting like butter. The foie gras was served with a micro green salad, a piece of toasted bread and the pineapple, which had a sugar glaze.  The sommelier paired a late harvest wine from the Veneto region of Italy with this course. 


Sauteed Medallions of Fallow Deer with Caramelized Apple and Zinfandel Sauce. The third course consisted of two medallions of perfectly cooked fallow deer.  As a point of information, fallow deer is a ruminant animal, with a stronger flavor than other species of venison.  Fallow deer is the venison traditionally served in Europe.  The medallions were of a good size and sauteed to a perfect medium rare.  I am not sure what was placed on top of the medallion.  Serrano's recipe calls for a dollop of bone marrow, although the ingedient had the consistency of a well cooked mushroom stem.  In any event, the caramelized apple and green beans were a good accompaniment to the venison. The sommelier paired a Priorat, a wine from the Spanish region of the same name, with this dish.  


Lauren said...

What did Clare eat? I'm assuming unless she's changed her eating habits she did not choose the deer.

I want to eat at this restaurant now. I need to find a reason to go to Vegas.

Keith Bolek said...

The Prix Fixe menu gives a diner two or three options. Clare had the Creme of Half Moon Bay Peas, the Sauteed Ruby Red Shrimp, and, for her final course, the sauteed fillet of New Zealand Tai Snapper.

Lauren said...

That sounds AWESOME.

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