Wynn Las Vegas (last visit: May 2009).
When it opened, Tableau offered American cuisine by chef Mark LoRusso. It's off the beaten path, located next to the Tower Suite elevators, but is open to everyone for breakfast, lunch and dinner; brunch is served weekends. I've had dinner here once, lunch once, and breakfast three times.
In 2009, LoRusso moved to Botero at Encore. Shortly thereafter, dinner was no longer offered.
The dinner menu offers a wide choice of New American cooking. I'd call it fancy (e.g., Dover Sole is pan roasted, and served with crayfish and carrot risotto, and bouillabaisse), but it isn't flashy. Breakfast and lunch are much simpler, but with a few fancy touches. For example, scrambled eggs are available for breakfast, but they're served with short ribs, potato cakes and béarnaise sauce.
The room is quiet and formal. Tables are widely spaced, with long white table cloths and a single orchid in a bud vase, and sprays of Phalaenopsis orchids decorate the room. Soft music plays in the background. Service is efficient and attentive. When I first ate at Tableau, I thought the service was overly attentive, but this hasn't recurred. In general, service has been friendly and efficient. Sadly, my lunch at Tableau was an exception. When it was time for the check, my server disappeared. I waited and waited and waited, even looking for someone else to help, but with no success. I finally felt it necessary to go to the hostess, and ask what had happened. My server never returned; someone else brought the check.
During the day, large windows admit lots of sunlight, for a bright, airy, relaxed feel. Some tables overlook the pool area grounds; masses of blooming roses and other plants make for a nice display. Outdoor seating is available.
Dinner - Tasting Menu
This was my first meal at Tableau. As at many restaurants, the tasting menu is a good way to sample the best of what Tableau has to offer. I'm not much of a drinker, but decided to get the wine pairing as well.
Here's what I got:
- Prior to ordering, the chef sent out as an amuse bouche a small sample of cream of potato and chorizo soup. It was full of potato flavor, with a hint of chorizo. Finely chopped chives added crunch and flavor. Good.
- Osetra Caviar. Each of the three items had a small amount of caviar on top: (1) a shot glass of potato soup, with creme fraiche on top, was thick and rich, served cold; good-very good; (2) traditional garnish of creme fraiche, chopped hard boiled egg and chopped onion, all in a china spoon; very good+; (3) a scallop cooked on the medium side, had good flavor; very good. The sparkling wine was very good.
- Crab and Minestrone. A clear soup with basil, zucchini, firm white beans, and lots of crab. The soup had a lot of flavor, the zucchini was crunchy, the beans were firm, the crab was sweet and firm. Very good. The wine was tannic and strong; good to very good.
- Tasting of Foie Gras. A medium thick steak on creamed corn, with watercress and two mini-corn madelaines. The foie gras was seared on the outside, and had a good flavor, but wasn't as good as at Picasso or L'Atelier. Very good+. The wine was less sweet than usual because the foie gras was served on corn instead of the more traditional, sweeter, fruit; fair to good.
- This was this point at which I realized the generous wine pours were getting me drunk. I would drink only a fraction of each glass hereafter. However, it was too late. I would fall asleep several times. I think the server caught me once ("Sir? SIR?").
- Halibut. The fish was firm, cooked enough but still moist. Outstanding flavor. Accompanied by a small amount of lobster in a light sauce. Excellent. The wine was done "Burgundy style, fruit forward"; good to very good.
- Filet. On a base of creamy polenta (not a cake), with mushrooms; served rare. The steak was good, but nowhere near as good as at SW Steakhouse. Good to very good. The Rhone style wine was very tannic and strong; good.
- Camembert. Nutty, bitter. I'm not a Camembert fan, so I rate it Fair. The cantaloupe sorbet was interesting. The wine was sweet and strong; very good.
- Selection of Desserts: (1) Roasted banana ice cream had a strong banana flavor; very good. (2) Vanilla pot de creme was like pudding, but so much better; very good to excellent. (3) Chocolate soufflé was not in Picasso's league, but was still top notch; very good to excellent.
The timing of the courses was very good. Each wine was explained, with lots of information, but it was neither snobbish nor too technical. Overall, a very good meal indeed. Beware the generous wine pours!
My only lunch at Tableau was a Dungeness Crab Club Sandwich. In lots of little ways, it was executed very well. The sourdough bread - all three layers - was nicely toasted and had very good flavor. It was firm enough to hold up as a triple decker sandwich, but still soft enough to be easily bitten through. The crab meat was plentiful and tasty. In addition, there were avocado slices, sprouts, sun dried tomatoes, and bacon. Somehow or other, I was able to eat this sandwich without having the contents spill out all over the place. Spiced French fries were served on the side, and were pretty good. Well done!
My breakfasts were:
- Banana French Toast, made with raisin brioche and a layer of mashed bananas. The french toast was very good - crispy on the outside, soft inside. However, I thought the banana flavor was too strong, overpowering the rest. Chicken and apple sausage was surprisingly good. Two fat links had excellent flavor and texture. Grapefruit juice was sweet and very sour, as it should be.
- Banana Ricotta Pancakes with Walnut Honey Butter. They were light to medium in texture, with a moderate banana flavor. They were pretty good, but not special.
- Poached eggs and duck hash. This was actually part of the weekend brunch menu, but I ate early. The dish consisted of 2 poached eggs on top of a hash of shredded, slightly crisp duck meat, and fried finely diced potatoes. It was delicious. Note that it does not come with bread; that must be ordered separately.
- Kobe short ribs and eggs. Two very attractive stacks, each consisting of: a round, thick, fried and crunchy potato cake, greasy but good; shredded braised short ribs (very good flavor); gently cooked scrambled egg; a small amount of tangy béarnaise sauce. It's very, very rich, but excellent. My favorite breakfast at Tableau. If anything, it seems to have gotten better over time.
When I first ate dinner at Tableau, I knew I had just had a very good meal. The food wasn't flashy, but it was very good. Lunch was also very good. Breakfast was a harder sell. I think that part of the problem is that I'm very pedestrian in my tastes with respect to pancakes, French toast, and the like: keep 'em plain, just butter and a little syrup. I had a similar reaction to the highly praised French toast at Bouchon. As long as I stay away from sweet starchy breakfasts, I've been very happy with Tableau.
The tasting menu was $115, plus tax and tip. The wine pairing was an additional $80.
Lunch costs about $25 for an entree, plus drinks, tax and tip. Add another $15 for an appetizer.
Breakfast costs about $15 - $20 for an entree, plus drinks, tax and tip.
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