BRASSERIE PUCK – First Look

Brasserie Puck might be the most attractive WP location in town. It certainly has the most stunning bar — with cocktails to match (see: Newscasters Gone Wild! below). The menu is typically all over the map — spaghetti with braised veal cheeks sits cheek by jowl with scallops Provencal — but in keeping with Team Wolfgang’s hyper-tuned quality control, there’s nary a clinker in the bunch.

Well, maybe the tart flambee isn’t up to our Alsatian standards, but it’s a pretty good version just the same, as is the more-than-adequate pan roasted and crispy chicken. And some things are just fabulous: the smoked salmon terrine, tuna “burger,” aforementioned pasta with veal cheeks, and steak frites are flawless — as are all of 2009 Pastry Chef of the Year Kenny Magana’s desserts.

We can still taste the intensity of his lemon tarte, and our staff is still swooning over the chocolate cake — whose layers are divided by a dense, intense chocolate pudding. Yummmm!

As attractive as the design is, we can’t understand why they walled off one entire side of the restaurant — the side facing the Crystals promenade on the second floor. After all, the people watching at Spago in the Forum Shops has always been nonpareil, and BP is situated to be just as much fun — except now you just look at a wall, instead of the human highway passing by. (sigh.)

We suggest digging in to Chef Dustin Lewandowski’s roasted bone marrow, or superior steak tartare, as the best way to forget this egregious design faux pas.

BRASSERIE PUCK

At Crystals at City Center (that is neither a city, nor in the center of anything)

3720 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89109

702.590.9299

11 thoughts on “BRASSERIE PUCK – First Look

  1. Well done John, the pics are especially nice.

    I am a bit surprised by that wall blocking the view of Crystals foot traffic going by. Not surprised by the wall itself, just the fact that there actually was foot traffic in Crystals.

  2. I was thinking of stopping by to eat when I was at CityCenter on Saturday, but the layout did strike me as a little odd. This is one instance where an “open floor plan” would actually help! But I guess if the food really is this good, I’ll have to give it a try. And since my current fave brasserie (Daniel Boulud @ Wynn) will be closing in April, I’ll eventually need to find a new fave.

  3. I miss the days when all of Wolfgang’s restaurants in this city had great wines. Nowadays, The food remains great, but the wine list has suffered significantly. IMOHO, after Greg Harrington left as M.S. there, the wine list at all Wolfgang’s restaurants in this city have slowly deteriorated. However, I still will go check this restaurant out as that pasta with veal cheeks and that omelet looks interesting.

  4. John, please stop referring to CityCenter as neither a city, nor in the center of anything. Once was fine, twice…. Hmm Ok, now you’re just annoying. It was clever the first time, now you’re just sounding like an ass cause it’s become your signature reference for CityCenter. Other than that, I have to agree that BP passed up a great opportunity for people watching by inserting a wall. It doesn’t make sense, shows a lack of vision/creativity. Although, it does resemble some other bad decisions the company has continuosly made such as, selecting Matt Hurley for WP CUT and now Dustin Lewandowski for BP. The guy ran WP Bar & Grill, a completely different cuisine (a far cry from fine dining) and directed towards a completely different crowd. He’s accustomed to turn and burn methods instead of delicate methodical approaches accustomed to Brasseries. Apparently if you, John, kiss D.R.’s and T.K.’s ass enough you too could become executive chef at a WP restaurant. In my opinion, BP isnt even a Brasserie. The items on the menu sound nearly identical to those found at other Puck restaurants – Postrio and Spago. Pasta with veal cheeks (Postrio used to have a similar dish and I think Spago might still have this), pan roasted chicken (really, need I say more?), steak tartare (the picture is COMPLETLEY the same as the one Spago was serving 4 years ago, even plated the same), Alsatian Tarte Flambe (same dish at Spago for the past 4 years; plus, who better to make an Alsatian Tarte Flambe, than a person from Alsace? -Chef Klein at Spago), Tuna Burger (If someone’s craving fine dining are they really going to order a $30+ dollar burger? I know I wouldn’t), Steak Frites (ok, I can accept that, Steak and fries, hardly creative, but should be on the menu, the only new dishes I see are the bone marrow and smoked salmon terrine. The desserts sound almost as obnoxious as you CityCenter comment. Did you really name a guy that put lemon tarte and chocolate cake on his menu as pastry chef of the year? Every grandmother in Las Vegas could have been nominated for this award. Chocolate Cake,, really?? Did Brandy rufee your drink, cause you’re sounding a bit out of it for praising a guy that made a SIMPLE chocolate cake. Did he use an easy bake oven? I don’t know how WP expects to escape this recession by creating the same restaurants (besides cut, however Matt Hurley is still a no talent ass-clown) over and over with different names. TK drastic times call for drastic measures, the person in charge of the food (DR) has lost their touch. They clearly lack creativeness and are choosing to rest on their lorels. Why did they name it Brasserie Puck? It should have been named Spastrio. It’s a name more fitting to their cuisine. I understand by having a numerous restaurants by the same chef similarities are expected, but shouldn’t be to this extent. Their standards are going down the tubes along with my respect for John for suggesting people to go to a place like this. Shame on John for not pointing out these facts to everyone in his critique and shame on Wolfgang Puck execs for underestimating the intelligence of it’s customers. John, please tell me where I’m wrong. Steak Frites and bone marrow isn’t going to cut it, food should be exciting, innovative, and passionate. BP lacks all 3.

  5. John,
    I thought of a couple more phrases you could use in the future.
    Planet Hollywood (neither a planet or in Hollywood)
    Treasure Island (not an Island or a treasure)
    Four Seasons (in a city that only has two seasons).

  6. Josh-you are a clever boy, and I, too, haven’t found the menu at BP as exciting as I’d hoped. But it’s still good food, and you just come across like a disgruntled ex-employee to me, a reader who doesn’t know you. Max

  7. josh, you really trying to expose the inside. Obvious ex employee.
    Maybe youre to passionate for Vegas, which is a good thing. Move on. Buts its the same shit everywhere.. I would suggest leaving the industry or opening your own place to fail.
    Regradless of these restaurants running standard menus at 20% FC, it is what it is. But before you start bad mouthing chefs in town by name on some shitty ass blog, why not commend them for the years they put forth with the company and managing hacks like yourself.
    Call it how you want to see it, but the guys you are talking shit are doing something with themselves and moving up in their personal lives…and all the guys that work for WP bust their fucking ass, alot more than other kitchens around town.

    And also, rather than just talk about all the inside garbage, also consider all the charity events WP does for the community and lowered its prices for locals. Very localy oreintated restaurant group, “for vegas”, which is few.

    its time to grow josh…

  8. I think Hermit said it best. “People who can cook, do and those who can not write about it”. There are of course a few exceptions to this rule – Ruhlman and Bourdain. I think these guys were born to write and cook second. As for Josh, I’m trying to find something positive about your comment, but I’m having a lot of difficulty. I’m not going to stoop to your level and bash you for being so bitter, but all I can say is that you come across very passionate; angry, but passionate. Do you honestly think these Chefs were chosen to lead these places by sucking up? Sounds like this may of happened in your past and you’re taking it out on everybody else. Wolfgang didn’t become successful by making bad decisions, so chill out and pop a zoloft. If these chefs are bad their true colors will come out, you can’t hide bad food. I’ve eaten at all the Puck restaurants -except Lupo, maybe on my next trip to Vegas – and I happen to really enjoy their food and I look forward to eating at their new place. Who cares if the food at one restaurant is at another, and I too, like John, love chocolate cake. Who doesn’t? It’s not the most innovative dish, but I bet it’s the best chocolate cake you’ve ever had. So, do yourself a favor and redirect that passion towards something positive. Maybe develop you’re own blog or write a book and put your money where your mouth is. Remember, treat people like you care to be treated. How would you feel if you were in these chefs shoes and read your comment?

  9. I know I’m behind the times, but when (and why) did Brasserie Puck become WP Pizzeria & Cucina? I know the general public prefers Italian over French food, but this change seems to have taken place in record time.

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