I have discussed this potential dining adventure with my closest food friend and sarcastic master, let's call her Smegghen. She is my sounding board for most things food related. Neither of us would apply the term "foodie" *shudder* to each other, but we both like food and she tolerates my love for beef jerky, so we have that going for us.
The potential cost of this adventure had been holding me back. If you're looking at going full-bore with the 16 course degustation menu and before cocktails, coffee, or tip it's 435 American dollars. This is not easy money to part with. I could easily spend this money on a charity, feed a lot of other humans, or spay or neuter a few animals. (Seriously, whining about spending 5 bills on dinner at a Michelin Three Star restaurant is some prime-world problem shit and I am justifiably ashamed.)
Over the course of 3 or so years Smegghen slowly beat her point into my head that; this wasn't a meal. This was a life experience. Just like seeing your favorite band from the front row. She was right, so I finally took the plunge this past October.
Walking through the MGM Grand in a suit with a determined gait got me stopped three times by tourists.
"No, I don't work here but Ka Theatre is over there."Then I arrived.
"No, I don't work here but the lion exhibit is gone. They replaced it with that atrocious nightclub thingy."
"No, I don't work here but David Copperfield? Never heard of him."
The hostess was genuinely kind and I was led into a luscious dining room.
Super comfortable velvet (I think) couches; my backside has never been so warmly enveloped yet firmly supported at the same time. When a female diner was seated she attempted to place her purse on the floor. The maître d' deftly appeared with a stool for her handbag. A stool. For a bag. That holds stuff.
For a split second I thought about placing my wallet on the floor; just to see what would happen.
The background music made me want to work up my piano chops. Effortless sounding and soothing without being drowsy.
William, the Advanced Sommelier, dropped off the 50 page wine list which included an eighteen-thousand dollar bottle from 1982. I ordered two. William and I chatted for a moment. He was nice and very generous with his time to everyone.
The waiter came over to take my order and I immediately chickened out.
I went the 8 course route instead of the 16. Even if the portions are only 3-5 bites, this was still a lot of food and by the end I was thrilled with my decision.
But you begin with the famed bread cart.
20 varieties of bread baked daily. Each was pleasantly explained to me while I tried to remember what was what. I opted for the bacon bread, mini-baguette, and rosemary brioche. He took my selections to the kitchen to heat up. They came back toasty hot.
The mini-baguette had a robust crust with a chewy crumb. The bacon bread was earthy with no hint of grease. The crust of the brioche was delicate and flaky and as described, rosemaryish. But well balanced and not overpowering.
The butter was served by first dipping two large soup spoons into hot water. The heated metal was applied to a large block of butter normally kept under glass and melted it just enough to create the presentation in the image. The olive oil is older than Christ and the salt came from a Russian mine guarded by 3 trolls who demand tribute in the form of original Olivia Newton-John fan art. Or I forget to write down the details of these two items.
The amuse-bouche was a spiced beet gazpacho with burrata to "awaken the palate." It was subtlety bright with a creamy touch.
Carpaccio of red snapper with radishes and vinaigrette.
Ever try to stab a round piece of anything covered in oil? Whatever, it was delicious.
Time for a second serving of bread. This time it was not heated in the kitchen and thus not delivered toasty hot. This obviously ruined the entire meal so I flipped over the table and walked out. It was fine. But the expectations were set high with the first course of bread. This just didn't match that first experience. I'm not sure if it was a mistake or a standard practice.
Smoked and grilled black cod.
Amazing. It fell apart into layers as soon as I touched the dish. The sauce was slightly rich and almost overpowering but easily the best fish I have ever eaten.
Medallions of Spiny lobster in a wheat grass emulsion.
This was my first experience with spiny lobster and I don't know if the tough chewy texture is normal but I didn't care for this course. It's probably my fault.
The Robuchon potatoes.
Silk on a spoon. No lumps. Not a one. Nay, nay, nay. There are many questionable things I would do to have these again.
Cheese and walnut raisin bread.
It was fine. I'm not a "cheese" person so this course was lost on me. Moving on.
Sugar sphere with Eye of Sauron.
That's a seemingly perfectly round thin sugar sphere. It seemed thinner than an eggshell yet sturdier. You crack it with the side of your spoon or if you choose, take the bobbing-for-apples approach. It releases a combination of a light blueberry puree with a sturdy cream that isn't as rich and sweet as ice cream but creamier than ice milk. Kind of like ice cream flavored yogurt. The crunchy sugar pieces from the sphere mixed with the smooth cream and blueberries made for probably the best thing I've ever put in my mouth. I was filled with joy eating this. I've never experienced anything like that before with food.
Then finally the mini-dessert cart with over three dozen different items.
The photo isn't very good but there's everything from candy, lollipops, cookies, cake, miniature cheesecakes, and the list goes on and on and on.
I opted for the raspberry and strawberry tartlets, strawberry cheesecake and something with coffee chocolate glaze and gold leaf. All were delightful.
The whole experience lasted two and a half hours.
Service lagged from time to time. Especially at the end when I was waiting for the check.
But I left emotionally altered. I was very happy and remained that way for hours. Was this the best meal I've ever had? No. The best meals are with friends and family. But was this the best food I've ever had? Quite possibly.