Some restaurants are great because they make delicious recipes you’ve never had before. Bouchon Bistro Las Vegas is great because they do an extraordinarily good job making classic brunch food better than you’ve ever had it. It was one of the best brunches of my life.
The morning after Valentine’s Day, we drove down to the Venetian and took the elevators up to the Venezia Tower. Bouchon does not take reservations, so I was surprised we were seated almost immediately. But if we had had to wait, there was a comfortably furnished waiting area with comfy chairs and newspapers to read.
When they seated us at our table, they handed us the menus, and I got excited. Croissants, sourdough waffles, sticky buns, corned beef hash, oysters, cappuccinos, parfait, steak frites, orange juice, mussels, brioche bread pudding french toast. Nothing out of the ordinary, just all the best brunch foods. When I go to an expensive restaurant and I see classic dishes, I get very excited because it usually means that they are going to be really good.
Appetizer: Cappuccino and Pan au Chocolat
I had known the first thing I wanted since the night before: pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant) and cappuccino. If you have never tried it before, the chocolate in a chocolate croissant makes the cappuccino taste better in the same way a perfectly paired red wine makes a steak taste better.
I am always looking for a great croissant. The one I had at Bouchon was the first great croissant I’ve had in Las Vegas (surprisingly better than the ones from the Bouchon Bakery downstairs). Flaky, airy, and buttery with a delicious piece of chocolate in the center. It was a little big (a little too much croissant to chocolate), but tasted fantastic and awakened hidden flavors in my cappuccino.
At the top of the Bouchon menu is a very basic offering: Breakfast Américaine. I am a sucker for really good bacon and eggs, but I decided to get the Croque Madame, a play on the classic Croque Monsieur (ham and grilled cheese sandwich) with a fried egg. Layers of brioche, ham, a perfectly cook fried egg, and mornay sauce. Mmmmmm. Served with a side of french fries. Oh the french fries! Some of the best french fries of my life.
I love a good glass of orange juice. It’s one of my favorite things in life. One of my pet peeves is the new trend of calling orange juice from concentrate “fresh orange juice.” It sounds like “fresh-squeezed,” but it’s not. So, when I asked the waiter if the O.J. on the menu was fresh-squeezed, and he said, “No, it’s Naked Juice,” I was blown away. Even I would consider Naked Juice fresh-squeezed compared to the stuff from concentrate, but the fact is it was not squeezed that day. I got a glass, and it tasted pretty great.
If there was one thing, I would criticize, it was the service. I wish I was making this up. Shannon ordered one of the specials as an appetizer: raspberry benets. Shannon has never had benets, so when she heard that they were like donut holes, only better, she got excited. She ordered the benets but a few minutes later, our waiter came back to apologize, to say they were out. And as he’s saying this (I swear he had just finished telling us they were out, when…) another waiter slid past him to put Shannon’s benets down in front of her.
And then there was the O.J. It tasted great, but it was near impossible to get. When we first ordered, I asked for a cappuccino and an orange juice. Only the cappuccino came. So, I asked the waiter again for an orange juice. It never came. We were half-way through the main course, and the busboy came by to fill our water glasses. I asked him for an orange juice, and it came out almost immediately. Fire the waiter and promote the busboy!
One of the best brunches of my life
All in all, it was one of the best brunches of my life. Everything was so well done. We spent about $70, so it’s definitely a once in awhile thing, but I would recommend a morning at Bouchon to anyone who finds themself in Las Vegas.