Summerlin (last visit: May 2009).
Located in Summerlin, on the shore of (mini-) Lake Jacqueline, Marché Bacchus is part wine store and part restaurant. Browse through the bottles of wine, pick the ones you want, bring them to the restaurant, and there's only a 10% surcharge - ridiculously cheap by restaurant standards, where 200% markups are common.
Simple French bistro food, presumably designed to compliment the wines. At dinner, you might start with onion soup or a charcuterie platter. Entrées run to mussels, duck leg confit, rack of lamb and lobster pot pie.
This place is very informal. It's a bistro! The indoor dining room is small, with a friendly amount of noise. There are also tables outside, overlooking the lake. Service was friendly, informal and efficient.
This was one of those times when I didn't take notes, so detail will be lacking. Sorry!
Our group of four ate family style, so everyone got a taste of everything. Two of us have personal restaurant review web sites, and the other two are professionally involved with food and wine. This seems to have ironically led to few opinions being expressed; I think everyone was trying to avoid offense. In the paragraphs that follow, I try to divine their likes and dislikes, but don't rely too heavily on my telepathic abilities.
1. Onion Soup. The French classic. This disappoints more often than not. Either the cheese is too tough and chewy, or the soup is bland, or the soup is overly salty. This version was a pleasant surprise: enough good cheese to add flavor, nicely flavored broth, and not too much salt. At least one person must have agreed with me, as he ate the whole bowl of soup before we knew what was happening; we had to reorder to see what the fuss was about.
2. Charcuterie Platter. Paté, dry sausage, and I forget what else. The items I tried were good, and there were no leftovers.
3. Moules Marniere (mussels). A big bowl of mussels, served simply with wine, butter and garlic. I liked them a lot, finding the mussels sweet and juicy. However, no one else seemed to be eating them, so I'll take that as three thumbs down.
4. Isn't it terrible when one grows old? I can't clearly remember the fourth appetizer. I seem to recall tasty snails, but if I can't even be sure what I ate, how can I tell if I liked it?
1. Duck legs confit. Decent, but there was no crisp skin, and the meat wasn't as flavorful as preserved duck can be.
2. Rack of lamb. Very good; my favorite main course.
3. Pork chop. Good enough, but not memorable.
4. Lobster pot pie. Big pieces of lobster are certainly easy to like, and there were no leftovers, so I'd say that means general approval. However, compared to Michael Mina's version, I'd say it comes up short.
Dessert was crème brulee, the classic egg custard with a caramelized sugar shell on top. It was a pretty good version, the custard tasty and creamy, the sugar shell crunchy but not too hard or thick, with a nice caramel flavor.
My impression of the meal as a whole was that it was good, but that nothing was outstanding. I'm glad I went, but I wouldn't spend the time to drive from The Strip again.
The meal was somewhere around $50 or $60 per person, plus wine, tax and tip.
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