Possibly most of you readers are wondering, “Why do [I] want to eat at Bouchon Bistro when you do have two Bouchon Bakeries in New York City?” (The newest location at Rockefeller Center opened on May 10, 2011.) The simple answer is this: The NYC locations do not have a sit-down restaurant version like the one in Vegas, Yountville, CA or Beverly Hills, CA. The cafe portion of Bouchon Bakery in the Upper West Side looks and feels like a cafeteria with fairly high prices (the latter is expected because of Chef Keller’s prestige). I’m certainly not a fan of dining right underneath the glaringly huge Samsung sign. I don’t know about you but to spend that much, I’d rather eat at a nicer setting. It also helps that a lot of people generally agree (just search around Chowhound Las Vegas board and you’ll see a lot of praises about them) that Bouchon Bistro does serve very good to excellent food.
Back on Easter Sunday, I made plans to have two friends to meet me at The Venetian to have brunch at Bouchon Bistro. The Venetian is definitely European opulent in terms of how it’s decorated. After walking through long, arched corridors filled with colorful frescos on the ceilings, we found the entrance to the Venezia Towers that leads up to the elevators, taking us to Bouchon Bistro.
After walking through another ornate hallway/lobby of the Venezia Towers, we finally made it. Along with a couple of other parties since this is a popular brunch spot.
Greeted by two hostesses, we asked for a table of three seated outside because it’s simply gorgeous out. We’re told to wait five to ten minutes, as all their tables outside were occupied.
To kill some time, I’ve wandered around the indoor portion of the dining area. It looks like a French bistro but the attitude is American. The lounge right off the host stand was small with dark wood and yellow walls. One of the tables display Chef Keller’s books. Walking out toward the long zinc bar, several waiters on standby at the end of the bar for any necessary plate removal from diners’ tables. (Side note, if you ever eaten one of those almond financiers, given out on the tray pictured, it’s delicious. Moist, almond-y with a twinge of almond extract. I’d eat these by the dozen in a sitting, if I had the opportunity.)
Finally seated outside, adjacent to the fountain and soaking in the beautiful views, we ordered our food without thinking too hard, since we’re starving.
Started off with their hot cup of coffee ($3.50) and chilled half & half. Their brew is chocolate-y and rich. It’s great by itself since it has so much flavor and not bitter. What’s wonderful about this was the fact that unlimited refills.
The epi baguette was served toasty warm with chilled housemade strawberry jam and sweet butter. The baguette was excellent from the crisp crust with soft, flavorful crumb. The jam was viscous, fruity and not saccharine sweet. The butter was spreadable yet not too warm nor cold.
The Breakfast Américaine ($22) is arguably the best deal on the entire brunch menu. One would receive a plate of two eggs of any style, a small pile of properly cooked bacon (not too crisp and not rubbery), country sausage, pommes frites and toasted brioche; a pastry and a cup of coffee and a cup of fresh juice. The portion was not skimpy and it could arguably be the Platonic ideal for a breakfast plate. My friend’s cheese danish was crisp, flaky, and tender, and not too sweet from the lemon cream cheese filling. And the drinks were unlimited refills.
My other friend ordered oeuf & boudin blanc that comes with a croissant ($22). The croissant was fresh and has the wispy, crackly, buttery layers that is desired. The boudin blanc was pretty darn good and very moist, almost creamy. The eggs (oeufs) were cooked the way my friend wanted it.
As for myself, I craved fried food and gotten myself the Chicken & Waffles ($25); a large plate of a quarter of roast chicken and bacon and chive waffle, and it’s served with a side of Tahitian vanilla bean butter and sauce chasseur. The chicken was wonderfully moist and delectable. The bacon and chive waffle was moist and crisp on the edges. What struck me as intriguing was the sour tang, as I found out from our waiter that they do use a sourdough base in the batter. Basically, this waffle can be eaten the any way you want it. I just added a little bit of all the condiments and eat it in one bite. Sweet (Tahitian vanilla butter and syrup), savory (sauce chasseur, which is like a gravy but so much more depth of flavor from the mushrooms). Sounds odd but it worked for this waffle.
Overall, I enjoyed this brunch a lot. Service was brisk, professional yet friendly. The food was delicious and filling (I didn’t feel hungry when it was my dinner reservation) and the atmosphere make the money’s worth.
For more photos of this meal and of the Venetian, please scroll through my slideshow below:
Bouchon Bistro at The Venetian
3355 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Note: Reservations are not accepted for brunch.