Back to Las Vegas for dinner at Joel Robuchon

Trip Start Mar 02, 2011
Trip End Oct 14, 2011

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Where I stayed
Circus Circus Hotel & Casino Las Vegas
Read my review - 1/5 stars

Flag of United States  , Nevada
Wednesday, July 6, 2011

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I got up early in Fairbanks. I quietly snuck out of the hotel at 6:00am and caught a cab to the airport. Check-in didn't go as smoothly as it normally does. I wasn't allowed to take my backpack as carry-on. I removed my camera and gave the backpack to them to check. I was upgraded to first class for the first flight. I think the person who checked me in felt bad for taking my backpack. It was strange walking around an airport nearly empty-handed.

I flew back to Las Vegas with relatively brief stops in Anchorage and Seattle. The flights were uneventful. When I arrived in Las Vegas it was 100F (38C) at 7:00pm. I found my car and drove to Circus Circus. The line for check-in was huge. It took me 50 minutes to get my room key. I quickly shaved off the nearly two weeks of beard I had grown in Alaska, changed clothes and headed for my 9:00 reservation at Joel Robuchon.

I arrived a bit late for my reservation but they didn't seem to mind. The dining room was possibly a bit over-decorated but this is Las Vegas so I guess that's to be expected.  They seated me and brought me a menu. Now, this is far from the first expensive restaurant I've visited on this trip but I still experienced a bit of sticker-shock. The 11-course tasting menu is $395, $100 more than their closest competitor and that included service, which the $395 does not. It also contained a number of meat and fish courses. When I mentioned to my waiter that I was vegetarian he brought me the vegetarian tasting menu.  I ordered the vegetarian tasting menu with a couple minor changes.

Unlike most of the better restaurants I've visited, they didn't bring any amuse bouche. Instead, they started off by bringing a bread cart to my table. I picked out a few pieces, which they then took to warm. The warmed bread arrived before my first course. I didn't want the bread to get cold so I ate it. I wasn't sure that was a good idea with 11 courses still to come.

I ordered an iced tea. They didn't bring any sweeteners. When I asked for them they brought me a selection of diet sweeteners. I got more specific and asked for sugar, which they brought in a little bowl. Unlike most of the better restaurants, they didn't offer any simple syrup.  This was probably the biggest lapse in service.

The courses soon started to arrive and they came quite quickly and regularly. Dinner was over in just about two hours. The food was quite good. The dishes seemed a little simpler than that offered at many of the restaurants I've been visiting but everything was still quite tasty.  Service was very good.

Then they brought the bill.  The sticker-shock wasn't over.  At Per Se, previously the most expensive restaurant on this trip, my iced tea was included in the standard cost.  At other restaurants I've been charged $4 or $5 and refills have been included.  But here, not only was the iced tea the most expensive I've had at $7 but I was charged for a refill.  I found $14 for iced tea to be outrageous.  This brought the total with tax and tip to over $520.  Now I must say that the atmosphere, service and food were all good but I can't say you're getting value for your money at that price.

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