my first michelin star; michael mina, las vegas

by Stacy

As I mentioned last week, I spent a few days in Las Vegas with two friends. It was a combination birthday/bachelorette/oh-hey-let’s-go-to-Vegas party and we did our best to eat our way through town. We also caught two Cirque du Soleil shows which were spectacular, as is the point, and it was nice to see a show since I haven’t for a while! Though I did not come home a big winner on my first visit (I lost $3), we definitely hit the culinary jackpot.

First dinner was a tasting menu at Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood which was complex, sophisticated, and delicious. Bonus points go to Chef Rick for actually being there — we snagged him for a photo walking through the bar, and he stopped by our table later. We also accidentally toured the kitchen after being invited in due to an automatic sliding door incident. The next night was Hubert Keller’s Fleur de Lys which won points for its theatrical draperies and awe-inducing second-floor wine “cellar.” The food was great — classic, high-quality, just plain well-cooked. Here are photo collages of some of the food we ate at RM Seafood and Fleur de Lys.

My camera didn’t come with me on those two adventures, but I had it the last night for a pre-theatre prix fixe at Michael Mina, eponymous Michelin-star restaurant of the chef. Our table was conveniently located next to a window for fantastic natural light. Want to see what we ate? Of course you do!

amuse bouche at michael mina

Our amuse bouche was a spring pea velouté with goat cheese, caramelized shallot, and mint. Ma bouche was amused.

salad at michael mina soup at michael mina

I had a salad, correctly assuming that the rich potato soup with caramelized shallot, bacon, and shaved black truffles (photo on right) would be too rich with more courses on their way. The salad was really good with toasted pita chips for croutons. The other ladies moaned happily after every bite of soup (it was available without the bacon as it was vegetarian otherwise).

halibut at michael mina

For my main course I had a giant slab of halibut with asparagus and clams. It was beautifully done, but I did suffer a tiny pang of regret for not ordering the vegetarian entree offered as an alternative. My dish, while delicious, was not nearly as dramatic as my cohorts’ dinners. The signature dish of the restaurant is lobster pot pie.

lobster pot pie arrival at michael mina

First they wheel it out on a cart and slice the top crust off the copper pot. The crust is placed on the plate.

lobster pot pie, michael mina

Inside lurks a giant mass of deliciousness. The cooked 1.25-pound lobster is reassembled on the plate with potatoes, golden beets, and greens, then drowned in a lobster brandy sauce that should be illegal for being obscenely delicious.

plating the lobster

This is what it looks like from the side.

lobster at michael mina

And from the front, because it’s dramatic enough to warrant an entire series of photos.

lobster at michael mina

I was unintentionally sneaky because the lobster dish was so rich that neither of my dining companions could finish theirs, but felt it was hideously wrong to waste such wonderful food. Instead, they forced several bites upon me, enough that I was satiated but not overly full. They could not say the same.

Because we still had dessert on its way.

opera cake at michael mina

The “opera cake” is an almond sponge cake layered with ganache and topped with a bittersweet chocolate gelato. There were two of these at the table.

dessert at michael mina

This is the house specialty, a sassafrass root beer float with pecan chocolate chip cookies. It was quite lovely and a refreshing end to such a rich meal.

After such great service, creative food, and lack of dishes to wash, it was a little hard to come home. It was a fun trip, though, and a nice change! What’s the best meal you’ve eaten recently?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

evie May 6, 2010 at 7:11 pm

PINCHY! You were delicious. I did not eat for a whole 24 hours after that meal.


Amy @ Green Gardenista May 7, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Lobster I can take or leave, but how can I order that Sassafras Root Beer Shake to be delivered to my door! YUM!


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