Re-Creating Picasso Restaurant
At The Bellagio, Las Vegas
If you’ve been following Taste With The Eyes for a while, you know that I love to re-create dishes. Not just the food but the entire experience, including the ambience right down to the china, glass, and silver.
One of my most cherished creative outlets is to re-create historical events through food. The most popular by far is the re-enactment of Julia Child’s first meal in France in 1948 including her recipe for Sole Meunière.
Another favorite is the reimagining Julia’s kitchen in Cambridge, Massachusetts where we sneak a peek at her kitchen table with husband Paul as they enjoy a light supper that begins with Vichyssoise on a hot August night.
Our evening at Picasso Restaurant by Chef Julian Serrano in Las Vegas was worthy of re-creating. We had a fantastic meal where we enjoyed several fabulous courses, were awed by the ambiance and artwork, and thoroughly impressed by the service.
The Chef’s menu is drawn from his own background in the regional cuisines of Spain and France, and in honor of Pablo Picasso’s Spanish heritage and years the master artist spent living in France.
The Day Boat Scallop, Potato Mousseline, Jus de Veau course was especially captivating for its diminutive yet powerful presentation, combination of flavors and textures, and quality. If a restaurant is serving only one scallop, it had better be perfect!
Picasso’s Scallop Recipe
About the Artwork
On this visit, I was very disappointed to find that many of Pablo Picasso’s original works had been sold at a Sotheby’s auction in October of 2021. We had eaten at the restaurant before, when it felt as if we were dining in an art museum.
Now sadly, many of the masterpieces are gone, 11 works of art sold for 109 million dollars. MGM Resorts International says the auction of Picasso’s paintings, ceramics, and drawings will help the company diversify its artwork portfolio with more inclusive works.
Particularly unfortunate, a piece the master artist painted in the autumn of 1969, Buste d’homme, which hung impressively behind the bar has been replaced with… a mirror. Buste d’homme sold for 9.4 million dollars.
The Picasso paintings had long contributed to the fame and mystique of the restaurant where they had been featured since its opening in 1998. Fortunately though, the restaurant continues to display 12 other Picasso works.
In spite of the missing masterpieces, we still immensely enjoyed the evening of fine art, fine wine, and fine dining. Extending a big hug and heartfelt thank you to my dear dear longtime friends, foodies, and dining companions who came to visit me in Vegas, Gina & Lauren. ❤️
Picasso Menu Dégustation
A re-creation of the Sautéed Filet of Chilean Sea Bass, Green Asparagus that is pictured above, bottom right, can be found here.
My Interpretation of Picasso’s Scallop Course
Day Boat Scallop, Potato Mousseline, Jus de Veau
- 1 1/2 lbs. yukon gold potatoes, peeled, then cooked in salted water until tender
- 1 1/2 c. heavy cream, warmed, reduced slightly
- 2 T. butter, melted
- sea salt
Let drained potatoes sit to release steam, then pass through a ricer into a medium bowl. Stir in cream, then butter. Season with a fine dusting of nutmeg and sea salt to taste. Stir to combine to a very smooth texture.
- how to make a classic french demi-glace (8 1/2 hours) here
- shortcut demi-glace (1 3/4 hours) here
- a very very shortcut demi-glace (6 minutes) here
Classic French demi-glace is made in the old world tradition of Escoffier from brown stock and Sauce Espagnole. The demi-glace should have a beautiful shine, deep rich flavor, and velvety smooth texture.
- 1 c. pre-made veal demi-glace (method of your choice)
- 2 T. sherry
In a small sauce pan, heat demi-glace over medium-low heat until slightly thickened to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in sherry and let bubble for a couple of minutes evaporating the alcohol, stirring frequently. Taste for seasoning and add salt as needed.
Choose dry pack, wild caught U-10 sea scallops that have a sweet, rich buttery taste. The scallops contain no preservatives or additives and do not ooze liquid during the cooking process, unlike wet scallops that have been soaked in a phosphate solution.
Heat a non-stick sauté pan over high heat. Add avocado oil to coat the entire bottom of the pan. When the oil is very hot but not smoking, place the cold dry seasoned scallops in the pan. Be sure not to crowd the scallops.
Cook over high heat for approximately two minutes to form a nice caramelized crust. Flip the scallops over with a pair of tongs and a fish spatula, and cook the other side briefly. Be ready to serve immediately.
- potato chips (home-made or store-bought)
- tiny green herb sprigs
Ladle veal demi-glace into warm bowls. Use an ice cream scoop to portion a mound of warm potato mousseline in the center of the sauce. Place a scallop on top of the potato. Garnish with a potato chip and small green complementary herb sprig.
I used the Take Home Dessert Chocolate Box, a lovely parting gift from the restaurant, in my photos to mimic the Picasso dinner plates logo.
My scallop is plated in a 7 oz. Monaco Bowl, wide rim porcelain.
Of course, Picasso’s potato chip is house-made!
We chose the Sommelier’s Wine Pairing to complement each course. He chose this Domaine de Montille Bourgogne Chardonnay 2018 to pair with the scallop course.
100% Chardonnay with the characteristic apple and citrus profile, subtle herbal notes through the finish. Medium-light body.
A sustainably farmed organic wine. The French winery was founded in the 1730s and has been family run and owned ever since. Étienne de Montille is the current proprietor/winemaker.
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