Though eating out on the Strip is expensive, there are a lot of well-respected chefs with restaurants located in hotels, so occasionally we splurge. Alas, the Frugal Foodie is not always frugal, but it would be a shame not give these restaurants the opportunity to impress us since they often expand our culinary horizons and give us great ideas for cooking at home. Sometimes the restaurants are unimpressive and we reluctantly hand over the credit card, but usually the price is the only deterrent for not eating on the Strip more often.
That being said, on Sunday we went to Thomas Keller's restaurant Bouchon for breakfast. We have yet to eat at The French Laundry, so Bouchon is the closest we can get to Keller's cooking. This is our third time eating at Bouchon, but our first time having breakfast. We figured this would be less expensive and better for the blog. We could have left the restaurant for under $35, including tip, had I not ordered a beautiful bellini ($12.50) and Ian not ordered a bottle of Stella Artois ($7), so we did try to be somewhat frugal by only ordering three small items to share. These three items were mostly delicious and we left satiated.
We ordered the smoked salmon with baguette ($16), a side of lyonnaise potatoes ($5), and a chocolate and almond croissant, which was the pastry special of the day ($4). The smoked salmon would have received my mother's seal of approval and the baguette was fresh and toasted to perfection, adding the perfect textural difference with it's addictive crunch. The chive cream cheese that accompanied it was very good, but we both agreed it would have been better whipped, in order to make it more spreadable. The tomatoes and onions were both fresh, however, I prefer my onions to be sliced razor thin for this preparation. When they are thin I find they cling better to the salmon and the bite isn't too powerful. The dish was impossible to eat gracefully as there was no real way to prepare the baguette without using your fingers, but I like playing with my food so I didn't mind. The lyonnaise potatoes were top notch, about a million times better than the version we had recently at the Golden Steer. The onions were well caramelized and the potatoes themselves must have been from an heirloom variety as their texture was silkier and more buttery than your typical supermarket taters. For $5 I would order these again, hands down. The croissant was flaky and chocolaty, but a bit overstuffed with the almond paste filling. Ian thought the croissant itself tasted a little stale, which I disagreed with. Considering that Ian hates baking and sweets (he wouldn't have passed Baking and Pastry in culinary school without my assistance) I wasn't swayed by his opinion and thought it was still very good, minus the excess filling. Next time I would order the more simple pain au chocolat instead.
As we glanced at our bill, which was still pretty hefty considering that we ordered some of the least expensive food items on the menu, we discussed how sad it is that in America you have to pay through the nose for what the French eat everyday at reasonable prices. I'm sure they would have a nice laugh if they saw the menu at Bouchon, but in our defense it still costs less than a plane ticket.
Today's Food Rating: 8
Today's Drink Rating: 8.5
Would we go back? YES, IF SOMEONE ELSE WAS TREATING
Chocolate Almond Croissant