Unlike a good number of New Yorkers, I’m not opposed to buffets. They’re a rare breed here and I love me a little outer borough East Buffet every now and then. That’s why I was so excited to let my inner glutton loose while on mini-vacation. I’d heard about the decadence of the Bellagio’s brunch (and my mom raved about a seafood spread at Mandalay Bay) and was looking forward to it until the reality of Las Vegas set in. I didn’t have second thoughts about stuffing myself silly, but after surveying the scene in our hotel, impatience and xenophobia set it. There was no way I was going to be able to stomach waiting in one-hour-plus lines with 90% of these folks, bless their hearts.
I then remembered hearing about great breakfasts at Bouchon. It certainly sounded like a civilized option but making it to The Venetian before the 10:30am cut off was anything but. On Google Maps it only looked like three blocks from our hotel. We hadn’t walked the strip yet so we had no concept of distance and obstacles. It turned out that the supposed three blocks was going to take more than the twenty minutes we had remaining.
Illogically, the sidewalks are completely un-pedestrian-friendly—they’re congested as hell with slow moving bodies and touts and inexplicably detour and meander. It was like we were in theAmazing Race and we were in Bankgok, minus the sweltering heat, sputtering tuk tuks and stray dogs. We plodded on quickly as possible but I wasn’t wearing sensible shoes and human barricades kept blocking our way. I started feeling frazzled, desperate and insanely cranky. I started lagging and nay saying, James and I began yelling at each other, I was all, “just go on without me.” We would’ve gotten creamed on Amazing Race. But I wasn’t going to be kept from a meal filled with much needed serenity and fresh squeezed juice so I tried to stay positive and ignore the blisters forming on my pinkie toes.
After running through the mall, casino, then hotel like we were actually after a million dollar prize, we arrived disheveled at 10:35am and were informed that we’d be the last people seated for breakfast. Phew.
I’ve never eaten at the French Laundry or Per Se or have any particular Napa Valley fetish, and it’s not like Thomas Keller is shirring your eggs or whatever at this bistro offshoot but it did feel like a place to be if you’re in Las Vegas and even vaguely about food (the woman we were seated next to at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon later that evening had also been to Bouchon that same morning. It’s like some demented foodie trail. I do draw the line at photographing kitchens). It was a wise choice, though. After I settled down and our food arrived, I felt pretty good about our quality over quantity last minute move.
I always have trouble deciding between sweet or savory at breakfast. After some thought, I figured I didn’t have to pick one or the other and chose the french toast, which is a custardy, brioche bread pudding creation, with a side of bacon in an adorable baby cast iron skillet. I never order sides so this was a breakthrough (I shared the fried pork, ok?). I should've gone totally wild and gotten the french fries too–it seemed like everyone else was doing just that. James tried a crabmeat omelet special and also did the sweet-savory extra by getting a cheese Danish. Naively, I was imagining some sad Entenmann’s pastry but this was flaky and perfect.
Everything was spot-on, and why shouldn’t it have been? Not eating seconds or thirds for breakfast enabled me to think it was a good idea to go nuts with tacos just a few hours later. I couldn’t do away with unnecessary gorging, altogether.
Bouchon * 3355 Las Vegas Blvd S., Las Vegas, NV