Monday, October 5, 2009

Oyster Afternoon at Bouchon, Las Vegas

The Venetian
3355 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109-8941
(702) 414-6200

With the ladies spread in disparate corners for the daylight hours of our lovely little girls' weekend, I found myself with time on my hands. Following a good sweat in the gym of the Canyon Ranch Spa Club, I was only in the company of a decent appetite. Oysters on the half shell and champagne were calling me from all over Vegas, the loudest call being right down the hall from my room.

Thomas Keller's Bouchon is located in the labyrinthine Venezia Tower portion of the Venetian, and I found my way there relying on my infamous Native American sense of direction and equally innate desire for fizz.

During the late weekend afternoon, post-brunch and pre-dinner service, a small menu is offered.

Limited, with some of the usual suspects.  Raw bar, terrine de foie gras, salmon rilletes, marinated olives, quiche, tartine du jour (salade nicoise), and a croque madame.

Enjoying watching the staff close down parts of the restaurant and prep others, I pulled out a magazine and sipped at Lucien Albrecht Cremant d'Alsace.

The least expensive of the five bubbles offered by the glass, it was perfectly suitable and wonderful with the oysters. A smooth and vibrant taste, without a lot of sugar lingering on the back of the tongue.

I am more than a little in love with the long metal bar. My first visit to Bouchon left me dissatisfied.  D and I had been to Paris within the previous 6 months and Bouchon, while definitely French bistro in nature, lacked the grit of any neighborhood or popular bistro in Paris. It felt pre-fab, to an authentic French bistro what the Palm Islands of Dubai are to the Atafu atoll in Tokelau.

This trip I was less critical. Following one girly day of traveling, shopping, drinking and dining with more to come that evening, I was blissed out and everything made me happy. Or maybe Bouchon is just that charming.

Unable to resist a kusshi oyster, I nommed on half a dozen of these.

And while I enjoy oysters with simply a little lemon squeeze, the mignonette was carefully made not too acidic, and the cocktail sauce with just enough bite.

Kusshi are from British Columbia, and as noted in an earlier post, kusshi are made to mimic a kumamoto but tumbled during the growing cycle to deepen the cup of the shell.

Porny oyster perfection.

The charming barman and I chatted about oysters, those from B.C being his favorite. However, he had never tried the second B.C. oyster on offer, Deep Bay. Above is the one I tried. It is brinier than a kusshi, a little saltier. Kusshi, FTW.

Still hungry, I ordered the salmon rilletes. Smoked and fresh salmon in a little hinge-lid canning jar. Above my favorite barman of the afternoon lifts off the butter seal for me.

Served to be spread on crackers, or toasted bread.

It was beautiful, but I really ate most of it with a fork.

I could have been at Bouchon, Yountville. I was well taken care of, the staff went about their business with a hushed pleasantness.  Late in my meal I was brought back to shockingly entertaining Vegas reality when two swimsuit clad middle-agers approached the bar requesting a Long Island Ice Tea and a blended Bellini. My barman didn't bat an eye. Not a lot of swimsuit wearing 60 year olds in the wine country. Just saying.


ekd said...

I share your love for oysters. I wish there were two of me. That looks so delicious.

Anonymous said...

Those oysters look good. Unfortunately, we couldn't fit Bouchon in during our trip. But maybe Beverly Hills in a couple of months!

Food, she thought. said...


Your presence would have only made it more perfect. I ♥ you.


Maybe we should double date when Bouchon LA opens. I want a stab at the whole dinner menu again.