BRADLEY OGDEN – Awesome No Longer
What’s it like to be ELV?
Here’s an example:
You’ve had a stressful day (lunch, wine, more food, a chef interview, more wine, a digestivo or two, back to the office to harass the staff, a nap, answer a couple of e-mails….), then you get a call in the late afternoon from Vegas Uncork’d Executive Director Rob O’Keefe.
“Wanna meet for a quick one, John?”
“Sure. What do ya have in mind?”
“Uh…I dunno…what sounds good to you?”
“Uh, I dunno. (O’Keefe and ELV are surprisingly inarticulate about these things.) Someplace on The Strip I haven’t been in awhile…you know, to check up on how the kitchen’s performing….just to see if the place is still on its game.”
“Where haven’t you eaten lately?”
“Bradley Ogden‘s a joint I haven’t hit in months. Let’s go and grab one of those big, fat, flabby, over-oaked, Jessica Simpson-esque chardonnays you love. Ogden’s list is full of ’em.”
So we rolled in to BO, sat down for a drink, and started to catch up over what’s happening with Vegas’s biggest and best culinary event.
Everything was going fine until we were recognized and the food started showing up. We don’t wish to sound mean or ungrateful, but almost to a dish, our dinner was a disappointment.
If you look closely, the pictures tell the story.
A mixed green salad that was a hardly-dressed mass (and a mess) of barely-torn greens. The Caesar — an unholy insult to the original. (To be fair, they’ve been butchering the glorious Caesar salad since they opened this place. Here’s how it’s supposed to be made.)
But these just began our tale of woe.
From there we “progressed” to a slab of foie gras with huckleberry jam that tasted fine, but looked unappealingly thrown together. Then it was on to a white tuffle risotto that was the worst example we’ve had in a coon’s age. The fact that we barely touched it didn’t register with the staff at all (inexcusable in a restaurant of this pedigree). Besides being difficult to eat in the huge, elliptical bowl they serve it in, the lord’s porridge (as Piero Selvaggio refers to it) was a gummy, starchy disaster. Nor did it taste much of white truffles — leading ELV to suspect the little tubers being shaved atop it were from Spain, not Italy.
Of course you can’t see how badly that risotto tasted, nor can you tell how tough and undercooked the pork belly was. And the triple-searing given the Kobe only served to toughen this most delicate of meats. Aren’t chefs supposed to know these things?
Even the desserts were pedestrian — and not in the same league as fabulous finales all over town.
And this from one of our iconic chefs and restaurants…
One excuse might be that Executive Chef Todd Williams wasn’t in da house the night we dined there. But almost to a course, everything was a let down from the top shelf experience you are led to expect from the billing this place gets among Caesars’ many fine eateries.
And a Michelin one-star experience, it was not.
Readers of this website, and our followers on radio and TV, know that we’ve been big fans of BO since the day it opened. But if they’re serving poorly executed food to a known critic, heaven help the hoi polloi when they happen upon this place.
It was almost enough to drive yours truly to one of those blowsy, overblown chards O’Keefe is so fond of.
Instead, we let him pick up the tip and left it at that.
The whole idea was his after all, wasn’t it?
In Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino
3570 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109