6. TWIST BY PIERRE GAGNAIRE
If Robuchon is the most elaborate and Savoy the most elegant of Las Vegas’ great restaurants, Gagnaire matches them with his restlessly creative cuisine, which can be by turns exhilarating, hyperdelicious, and downright baffling.
You don’t go to a Gagnaire restaurant looking for a traditional big-deal meal any more than you go to a progressive jazz concert expecting to hear “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain.”
One look at his scallop carpaccio with Campari-rum beet wurtz tells you that you’re in the hands of the enfant terrible of French cooking. The years haven’t dimmed Gagnaire’s incessant search for astounding edibles, and one taste of his Nebraska sirloin with escargot sauce and venison ice cream provides a window into the intellectual curiosity that drives his talent.
As crazy-good and creative as the food is, both the understocked bar and the absurdly priced (and small) wine list fall well below the standards set by the cuisine. To be fair, the wine list has gotten better in the past four years, and you no longer need a respirator and a cardiologist handy when you look at it. But, to be equally fair (to oenophiles), this is not the restaurant you go to in search of adventures in wine; it is the restaurant you go to in Las Vegas if you are a confirmed Francophile, with an open mind, who has a foodie’s passion for palate-expanding, pensive permutations on produce, proteins and perfection. (Please, pardon my palavering.)
Max Jacobson: “This isn’t just food you’ve never tasted before; it is food you have never imagined.”
Favorite Dishes: Seared John Dory With Beurre Noisette; Mushroom Broth “Zezette”; Roasted Venison Fillet; Nebraska Sirloin with Escargot Sauce; Foie Gras Degustation; Langoustine Five Ways; Grand Dessert Pierre Gagnaire; Basically everything on the friggin’ menu.
TWIST BY PIERRE GAGNAIRE
Mandarin Oriental at City Center