Monday, December 13, 2010

Betting on Michelin Stars: Picasso at Bellagio

Yes, we're back! After a long hiatus, Betting on Michelin Stars has returned. And of course, it just makes sense to have our series on Vegas fine dining right here at Bite of Vegas!

In my debut review here, I want to share with you what may perhaps be the best meal I've had so far in my life... Or at least tied with Joel Robuchon! So now, I present you with Picasso. Bon appetit!

(And by the way, you can see photos from my fabulous experience here just below the review.)


I went into Picasso not quite knowing what to expect. There is occasional criticism over the "antiquated" menu, often challenged by praise of the quality of the ingredients and precision of the cooking. So once and for all, I had to try it all for myself.

So I did.

I started with a pomegranate martini. The martini was superb. I could taste the earthy tang and sweetness of the pomegranate. All in all, my cocktail was quite refreshing.
Then from here, it was onto the full menu degustation. Oh yes, I was all in for all five courses, plus amuse bouche and petit fours!

I began with the amuse, which was a luscious potato soup with potato "micro chips", alongside a skewer with quail egg and smoked salmon. The flavors were perfectly balanced here, despite all components being so rich. I was pleasantly surprised.

From there, it was onto the bread basket! And yes, I tried the baguette, the walnut raisin bread, and the olive loaf. All were fantastic! The walnut raisin bread was subtly sweet and soft, while the baguette had a crunchy crust and fluffy, soft texture inside. And the olive loaf was slightly fruity.

The official first course soon arrived, which was the Maine Lobster salad. The lobster's own natural sweetness shone through, and the apple champagne vinaigrette only enhanced this. The micro greens added a crisp component here, and the tartness and acidity of the cherry tomatoes helped in balancing the rich sweetness of the Maine Lobster.

Next were the pan seared scallops. These also had great natural sweetness, and the potato mousseline and jus de veau helped to balance this.

Following this was the sauteed steak of foie gras. I otherwise never eat foie gras for moral reasons, but last night I decided to make an exception for this dinner. And wow, now I understand why it's so appealing. When cooked well, it can be quite rich. And the poached pear and huckleberry jam added some fruity sweetness that went harmoniously with the foie gras.
The sauteed filet of turbot came next. It was done perfectly. It still tasted quite fresh and light, with only the hollandaise adding some richness and creamy heft to this and the beautifully done green asparagus.

Then finally, it was dessert time! I wanted to try the reserva cream sherry, and it went down beautifully. Yes, I admit I have quite the soft spot for sherry! And thankfully, it played well alongside the warm chocolate fondant and walnut ice cream I ordered. The fondant was essentially a molten chocolate cake, and the rich, smooth, not too sweet but still satisfying, chocolate flavor was just perfect. The ice cream added a surprising nutty note to this sweet treat.
Oh, but wait, I was not finished yet! Before I had to go, the petit fours arrived! I especially enjoyed the mini pumpkin pie and the mini chocolate bar, but all were beyond belief in "delicious factor".

All in all, my experience here was exquisite! The surroundings were breathtaking, especially with the fountains just outside. The service was impeccable and quite polite. And to my biggest surprise, Picasso did not feel anachronistic in any way. If anything, it was more timeless to me... Oh yes, and the paintings were pretty as well. ;-)

Style: Fine Haute Cuisine
Price: $$$$$
Open: Dinner

The Rating

Food: 5.0 (out of 5)
Service: 3.0 (out of 3)
Ambiance: 2.0 (out of 2)
Overall: 10.0 (out of 10)
Best of the Best! RUN, Don't Walk! :-D

Picasso (at Bellagio) on Urbanspoon

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