Aria Guest Chef Dinner

Bardot Brasserie Restaurant, Las Vegas, NV
Tasted Friday, November 22, 2019 by La Cave d'Argent with 118 views

Introduction

Few would argue that Las Vegas is one of the greatest dining destinations in the world, boasting numerous fabulous restaurants and a plethora of famous chefs. The Aria Resort and Casino periodically hosts dinners that highlight one or more such chefs. This particular event, done in collaboration with Remy Martin Louis XIII and Lalique, was held at Michael Mina's Bardot Brasserie. Diners were surrounded by artistic Lalique vases and Louis XIII bottles of varying sizes. The host chef was Bardot Brasserie's Joshua Smith, who has proven himself to be a culinary genius. On this evening he was to be joined by Christophe de Lellis, executive chef at Las Vegas' Michelin three-starred Joël Robuchon. What resulted was a multi-course masterpiece that the two chefs clearly had fun in preparing.

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Flight 1 - Fruits de Mer (1 Note)

The opening flight included two dishes that paired nicely with Taittinger nonvintage Brut. The first dish was a beautifully executed lobster consommé that was topped with cauliflower cream.

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This was delectable with the first dig of the spoon, but became even more delicious when the spoon was deep enough to reach the core of osetra caviar that lurked below.

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The second dish consisted of Santa Barbara sea urchin, prepared with sweet potato, charred honeynut squash and Eric Bordelet pear cider. This was visually stunning and intensely flavorsome.

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  • NV Taittinger Champagne Brut Réserve 89 Points

    France, Champagne

    Poured at a multi-course gourmet dinner, I was unable to ascertain any type of disgorgement identifier on the bottle from which I was served. Given the restaurant's active wine program, I suspect that it is what is currently on store shelves. Pale yellow and with a brisk medium-sized bead, it delivers aromas and flavors of honeycrisp apples, citrus, marzipan and toasted bread. Light-to-medium-bodied and racy, it stays solid in the middle and finishes with medium length. Drink now-2022.

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Flight 2 - Le Foie Gras (1 Note)

For this flight, the chefs prepared foie gras two different ways. Both were fantastic and nicely accompanied by the Champalou Vouvray.

Foie gras curls, served with potato carpaccio, white truffles and aged Parmesan:

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Grilled lobe of foie gras, prepared with Blenheim apricot piperade, panisse and byrhh gastrique:

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  • 2018 Champalou Vouvray Les Fondraux 90 Points

    France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Vouvray

    This off-dry Chenin Blanc is sourced from vines that average 45 years of age. Limpid and light golden, it delivers an attractive package of baked apples, pit fruits, lemon verbena and wet stones. Medium-bodied, softly oaked and with well-woven alcohol, it nicely balances its sweetness with the right amount of crisp acidity. Solid on the mid-palate and finishing with good length, this is a wine that can stand its ground when confronted with fat-laden dishes such as foie gras. Drink now-2023.

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Flight 3 - Le Potiron (1 Note)

Parisian gnocchis with violet chanterelles, black truffles, mimolette cheese and pumpkin velouté were beautifully paired with 2005 Daniel-Etienne Defaix Chablis Vaillons. This flight was an absolute knockout, served tableside by Chef Smith.

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  • 2005 Daniel-Etienne Defaix Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons 93 Points

    France, Burgundy, Chablis, Chablis 1er Cru

    Daniel-Etienne Defaix releases his Chablis offerings when he feels that they are ready, typically 10-15 years after the vintage. As such, his 2005 Vaillons is the current release. Although the wine sees only stainless steel, the prolonged lees aging gives it a degree of richness that stands out from the crowd. Medium golden in color, it delivers a gorgeous array of pit fruits, citrus, pears, honey and white flowers, backed up with fresh acidity and seamless alcohol. Dense and layered on the mid-palate, it proceeds to a lengthy finish that has good lift. This Chardonnay will age gracefully for many more years. Drink now-2029.

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Flight 4 - Surf & Turf (1 Note)

This flight began with the two chefs showcasing their large skillet of wood-grilled paella, served with frogs legs, seppia, langoustine and white truffles.

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We were subsequently served poulet aux ecrivisses (heritage chicken with crawfish mousse), prepared with sunchokes, purple Brussels sprouts and crawfish-cognac cream.

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Both dishes were exquisite and were able to stand up to the youthful tannins of the Cheron Vosne-Romanée.

  • 2014 Philippe Cheron Vosne-Romanée Les Barreaux 88 Points

    France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Vosne-Romanée

    This medium-to-deep ruby wine delivers a core of black and red cherry fruit that is augmented with baking spices, damp earth, cocoa and tobacco. Medium-bodied, tart and firmly tannic, it has good mid-palate density, nicely-woven alcohol (13%) and fairly well-integrated oak. The finish is lengthy but is borderline acerbic and laden with coarse tannins. Give this some time in the cellar to sort itself out. A higher score may be warranted in the future. Drink 2022-2029.

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Flight 5 - Le Veau (1 Note)

Pairing nicely with Bordeaux was a generous portion of veal Wellington, prepared with grilled matsutake mushrooms, salsify, Anson Mills white polenta and sauce blanquette.

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  • 2014 Château Laforge 89 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    Château Laforge's 2014 is a deep ruby blend of 92% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Franc. Flaunting aromas of earthy black cherries, raspberries, Asian spices and bay leaf, it follows with similar flavors on a medium-bodied palate that is framed with fresh acidity and grainy tannins. The wine's alcohol (listed as 13.5%) is nicely integrated and the oak is complimentary. Solid in the middle and medium in length on the back end, this is a well-made red that will benefit from a bit more time in the cellar. Drink 2022-2034.

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Flight 6 - Le Pomme (1 Note)

The dessert course consisted of an apple tarte tatin, prepared with calvados caramel, grey sea salt and vanilla bean ice cream. The Roûmieu-Lacoste partnered beautifully with this scrumptious dish.

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  • 2016 Château Roûmieu-Lacoste 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes

    Comprised of 100% Sémillon from vines averaging 45-50 years of age, Roûmieu-Lacoste's 2016 Sauternes is a medium golden elixir that injects a wonderful aliquot of fresh acidity to balance its sweet apricot, peach, toffee, butterscotch and baked apple flavors. With medium viscosity, unnoticeable alcohol, excellent mid-palate density and lengthy, pineapple-laced finish, it is a delicious "sticky" that should provide pleasure for many more years. Drink now-2046.

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Flight 7 - Louis XIII "Moment" (1 Note)

At the conclusion of the meal, diners were treated to a guided tasting of Louis XIII Cognac, conducted by Remy Martin's Louis XIII Ambassador, Guillaume Vallet. Served in optimal stemware, it proved to be an ethereal experience!

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  • NV Rémy Martin Grande Champagne Cognac Louis XIII 100 Points

    France, Cognac, Grande Champagne Cognac

    For my palate, this deep copper-colored potion is the standard by which anything else from Cognac should be judged. Powerfully intense yet so refined and smooth, it serves up layer after layer of complex fruit, floral and spice flavors. Plum, peach, sandalwood, hibiscus, jasmine, walnut, mandarin orange, clove and ginger describe only a fraction of what this brandy can deliver when carefully savored. Elegant in every sense of the word, it leaves a lingering taste and a memory that lasts forever. Masterfully blended, this is truly the epitome of luxury.

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Closing

Two gifted chefs, collaborating without boundaries, resulted in a multi-course culinary extravaganza that culminated with what many would consider to be the world's finest Cognac. This special evening will long be remembered!

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