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Peking Duck at JASMINE

Dining rooms don’t get much more gorgeous than Jasmine in the Bellagio. We’re told the space was originally planned for Le Cirque, but somehow it ended up as a greatest-gourmet-hits-of-southern-China spot, surrounded by windows on three sides and jutting into the Bellagio fountains, giving diners a superb view of the water show.

Equally superb is the food, and the service, all held together by Hong Kong native Chef Phillip Lo — one of the few executive chefs remaining at the hotel from when it opened twelve years ago. Twelve years ago? It seems like only a few, but as ELV always says: Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

The restaurant also features some of the most stunning china, flatware and opulent decor you will ever see in an American Chinese eatery. Correction: It probably has the most stunning decor and place settings of any Chinese restaurant in America. Of course, ELV, as well-traveled as he is, hasn’t eaten in every Chinese restaurant in the United States…but we have eaten in a lot of the famous ones on both coasts, and have never been in a prettier, more well-appointed one. So we’ll go with our proclamation of it as the most beautiful restaurant of its type in America until someone proves us wrong.

Equally dazzling is the eighty-buck duck. Peking duck to be precise. For two, served hand carved at your table, wrapped in tissue-thin pancakes with a schmear of hoisin sauce for good measure. (ELV considers hoisin sauce the secret weapon of Chinese cuisine. It is so delicious it would make even tar paper taste good.)

Peking duck traditionally consists of two courses: first the roasted, carved fowl inserted into the aforementioned pancakes or steamed buns (we at ELV love the pancakes because they allow more of the duck flavor to shine through, un-obscured by bread), followed by minced meat in lettuce cups or a more traditional tofu-duck soup — made with the bones of your duck and heavy with the aromas of the wacked quacker and five-spice powder, and given a subtle, bitter edge by mustard greens.

Before we lost ourselves in all that ducky deliciousness, we were also blown away by Lo’s amusing little cured salmon amuse, and his meaty-yet-light-and-lobstery lobster dumplings. His stir-fried green beans in XO sauce were also so good, it was the only time in recent memory that found ELV fighting The Food Gal® for the last legume.

FYI: Jasmine’s isn’t the only duck soup ELV and his staff love….

…and like the movie, this one was good to the last drop.

JASMINE

In the Bellagio Hotel and Casino

3600 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89109

702.693.8166

http://www.bellagio.com/restaurants/jasmine.aspx

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One Response to Peking Duck at JASMINE

  • It would appear from the pictures that you got the traditional three courses no matter what was said. The skin with a sauce similar to hoisin and pancakes, the meat diced and spiced on lettuce and the soup. It certainly is not Cantonese. It’s obviously Mandarin as a royal dish of Beijing.

    My original trip to Beijing (and Tibet) in 83 was well before China understood how to handle Westerners. I made a special effort to eat the the best Peking duck restaurant in the city. It gave me a baseline of old school Chinese cooking to compare against. Things are very different these days. The duck at Jasmine looks better than what China was making in those days.

    I’ve never associated hoisin as part of Cantonese. I think of fish and more white sauces there. The dark sauces seem to be more northern.

    Anyway, thanks for the write-up. It looks really good.

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