🌺 Cod, Caviar, Champagne Sauce 🌺
à la L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
Sooner or later the question was bound to be asked, “What is your favorite restaurant in Las Vegas?” So many great chefs, so many fabulous restaurants… But after much consideration, I chose L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon at the MGM Grand for several reasons. With 31 stars, he is The Most Awarded Michelin-Star Chef in the World.
But surprisingly far from being stuffy, L’Atelier is fun! As one would expect, the French-inspired dishes are second to none. Each one prepared with the exactness the Chef became known for, his relentless perfectionism; he famously said there is no such thing as the perfect meal – one can always do better.
With that black & red decor, intentionally designed to be the opposite of old-style French white & gold, the atmosphere is striking and modern. The service is simultaneously easy-going and top-notch. Wines are meticulously paired to elevate the entire dining experience. A seat at the counter often results in a genial and lively evening. Strangers become friends, there is a gregariousness in shared appreciation of the late Chef’s vision of stellar dishes, prepared in view of the guests, offered in a spirit of conviviality.
In 2003, the first L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon opened its doors in Paris, in the 7th arrondissement, and simultaneously in Tokyo. The success of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Paris encouraged Joël Robuchon to develop its concept all over the world. The Las Vegas restaurant opened in 2005, followed by New York, London and Hong Kong, Taipei and many more.
Here, I re-create an exquisite dish and table setting from our most recent meal at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon – Cod with Caviar and Champagne Sauce.
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon Las Vegas
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Fromage Langres et Champagne
Kicking off my first post of 2022 with a theatrical Champagne and Cheese Course. Not just any cheese, but a special cow’s milk cheese that originates from the plateau of Langres in the Champagne region of France.
What Grows Together, Goes Together
A broadly accurate principle for matching wine with a particular food is to choose components from the same region…the pairing of fromage Langres (pronounced Lawn-gruh) with Champagne is no exception.
A Unique Cheese
Langres is only rotated once during maturation. The weight of the liquid in the cheese causes it to collapse creating its signature concave cap. The dent on top is the result of the cheese not being turned as it matures, making the cheese settle in the center. It is not exactly clear who originally thought that this dent would be the perfect place to splash some Champagne, but it is!
To Serve Fromage Langres et Champagne
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What to Serve with Caviar?
Caviar is always a good idea. And they don’t always have to be the most expensive fish eggs on the block. A jaunty presentation with several great accompaniments, and a favorite sparkling wine or chilled vodka can make for a most memorable experience.
Purists prefer to eat expensive caviar off the back of the hand, between the index finger and thumb so as to enjoy that pure unadulterated burst of the sea.
But it is also quite fun to put out many accompaniments and let your guests experiment with their own special pairings and combinations. Try fresh-shucked oysters with a dollop of crème fraîche topped with caviar. Or maybe a warm blini with butter, hard-cooked egg yolk and finely minced onion with caviar on top…
Perhaps 2021 will be a year to indulge and to allow oneself to enjoy life’s finer pleasures… and not wait for a special occasion?
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Ringing in a Dazzling and Delicious New Year!
British Cheese Toasts
Happy New Year Friends! May it be filled with dazzling and delicious dishes. And no shortage of exceptional adult beverages either. We are ringing in 2018 with a couple fabulous appetizers…pairing them with outstanding Champagne and Single Malt Scotch.
Champagne, smoked salmon, and caviar are an undisputed flavor trifecta. Here, premium smoked salmon is stuffed with a dollop of creme fraiche, then tied into an adorable bundle and topped with caviar. Toasted brioche is the perfect vehicle for serving these little beggar’s purses, although a knife and fork are required. Forever elegant NV Billecart-Salmon Rosé is totally enchanting, with flavors of sweet spice and wild strawberries, it continues to be the Champagne that should be married to smoked salmon. And not just because of the name.
Our second appetizer is designed to pair with Scotch Whisky. Rich salty cave-aged English cheddar heightens the sweet notes in the Scotch. Peppery arugula and pickled watermelon radish offer the perfect counterpoints. Talisker Single Malt is from Carbost, Scotland on the Isle of Skye, it’s full-flavored and wonderfully peaty, with compelling flavors and brisk scents of the seashore in every luscious sip.
Beggar’s Purse and British Cheese Toast Recipes
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Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with a Champagne Truffle Cream
Wilted Butter Lettuce and Generous Shaving of Pink-Veined Italian White Truffle
White truffles are very perishable and very delicate with an intense perfume reminiscent of earth, garlic, shallot and grana cheese. This gem arrived just a few days before our holiday party from my friends at Gourmet Attitude in NYC.
I wrapped the truffle in a paper towel and refrigerated it, in a large glass jar with fresh eggs. My house guests were treated to a special breakfast the morning after our party – poached eggs intensely flavored with truffle! The musky aromas penetrate through the egg shells, and after a simple 3 minute poaching… et voilà heavenly truffle eggs! The tip I learned from the truffle experts at Gourmet Attitude – to eschew standard wisdom and never store truffles in rice as it will dry them out. Store them with fresh eggs and extend the party into the next day.
Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with a Champagne Truffle Cream was the first course in our 5-course holiday dinner earlier this week. Champagne/Truffles/Scallops – a fantastic way to begin an elegant holiday feast.
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