The Weekend Gourmet: Las Vegas Date Night...Featuring Cocktails at House of Blues Foundation Room, Michael Jackson ONE, and Dinner at Le Cirque F

Friday, January 8, 2016

Las Vegas Date Night...Featuring Cocktails at House of Blues Foundation Room, Michael Jackson ONE, and Dinner at Le Cirque

Michael and I visited Las Vegas this Fall, where we enjoyed a fun double date evening with our cousins, who accompanied us on the trip. Our evening featured pre-show cocktails complete with stunning views of the Vegas Strip, a wildly entertaining Cirque du Soleil show, and one of the  best gourmet meals that we've ever enjoyed. There are date nights...and then there are truly memorable date nights like the one I'm going to share with you today! We had tickets to see Michael Jackson ONE at Mandalay Bay that evening, so we decided to arrive early and enjoy some pre-show cocktails at the exclusive House of Blues Foundation Room, located high atop Mandalay Bay. We were seated on the large outdoor patio area on a large cushioned couch, where we sipped craft cocktails -- including the classic French 75. As we enjoyed our cocktails, we enjoyed a breathtaking sunset view up the Las Vegas Strip.
Our date night was off to a fabulous start! After enjoying our cocktails, we made the quick walk over to the Michael Jackson ONE theater inside Mandalay Bay. We had to stop to snap a picture or two of Michael Jackson's signature black loafers and sequined socks, which are on prominent display just outside the show's gift shop. If you're a fan of Michael Jackson's music, Michael Jackson ONE is definitely a must-see show. Cirque du Soleil did a fantastic job with the choreography in this entertaining, high-energy show. Michael Jackson ONE features all of his biggest hits. The show features talented acrobats, amazing dancers, and lots of eye-popping visual effects (including a very realistic dancing Michael Jackson hologram)! From start to finish, we were enthralled with this excellent show. There's so much to see and experience that we're already looking forward to seeing Michael Jackson ONE again when we return to Las Vegas.
Photo provided by Cirque du Soleil
After the show, we made our way to Bellagio for a late dinner at Le Cirque, the AAA Five Diamond Las Vegas location of the New York French fine-dining restaurant. If you're looking for a truly unforgettable gourmet dining experience in Vegas, Le Cirque is definitely the place for you! Our table was located next to a large window and featured views of the famous Bellagio Fountains. Over the next two hours, we enjoyed a truly spectacular three-course dinner of expertly prepared food.

When we arrived, we were warmly welcomed and quickly shown to our large table in Le Cirque's colorful, whimsically decorated dining room. Our meal began with one of the most theatrical appetizer presentations that we've ever seen! Le Crabe et Caviar Osetra featured sweet Maryland Blue Crab, sublime Russian Osetra Caviar, and dramatic Ocean Water Smoke. The dish was brought to the table with the crab resting on top of small gray rocks in the bottom of the dish. When water was poured over the rocks, foggy smoke instantly appeared. What a fabulous experience...and such a fun surprise!
Underneath the thin layer of Osetra caviar was a layer of thinly sliced avocado. Under the avocado was a generous serving of a delicious crab salad. This stunning appetizer was everything an appetizer should be: beautiful, delicious, and totally indulgent! Up next was a trio of other appetizers from the Le Cirque menu. We enjoyed a delicious creamy tomato gazpacho, then we each sampled the Hamachi. It featured impeccably fresh Japanese Yellowtail Tuna, Hawaiian hearts of palm, creamy avocado puree, mandarins, cucumber, honey, and yuzu reduction. This bite-size appetizer was a perfect combination of flavors and textures.
The third appetizer was Carnaroli Risotto topped with Alba White Truffles. For truffle lovers, this is a decadent over-the-top truffle experience! The risotto was perfectly cooked, then served under a dome with a generous amount of shaved white truffle. When the dome was removed, the unmistakable scent of truffle filled the air. Michael proclaimed this risotto the best that he's ever eaten. We also tried the visually stunning Salade de Homard, which featured lobster, avocado mousse, seasonal vegetables, and a black truffle vinaigrette.
This signature Le Cirque dish was perfectly executed. The sweet poached lobster, creamy avocado mousse, and baby greens worked perfectly with the truffle-infused vinaigrette. We eat with the eyes first, and this salad was a treat for all of the senses! Up next was a quartet of seafood-centric main dishes. We enjoyed La Morue en Croute, which featured wild cod, ratatouille, Kalamata olives, and Yukon potato. Another standout entree we tried was Les Saint-Jacques. It featured pine nut-crusted diver scallops, trout roe, parsley coulis, glazed matsutake mushrooms, and a beurre noisette. Both dishes featured artistic plating and bold flavors. 
We also selected the delicate Filet de Loup de Mer, which included delicate Mediterranean sea bass that was covered in a paper-thin piece of potato. The fish was served on a bed of braised leeks with an intensely flavored pinot noir verjus. The only non-seafood entree we tried was L'Agneau du Colorado, which featured perfectly seared lamb chops, seasonal vegetables, and a rich sauce forestiere. We all agreed this was one of the best meals any of us had enjoyed anywhere. Then, a quartet of chef-selected desserts came to the table, sending this meal right into the stratosphere! Every dessert was a miniature work of art. Because we all wanted to have a little bit of every dessert, we each took a bite. Then, we passed our plates to the person at our right -- until we all enjoyed some of every delicious dessert! 
We started with the Le Vacherin a Deux. It had a crispy meringue outer layer and was filled with passion and coconut sorbet, exotic fruits, and a tangy tropical sauce. This fruit-based dessert was light and refreshing -- a perfect palate cleanser before sampling the other desserts. The second dessert we sampled was Le Parfait a la Framboise. This raspberry parfait featured a refreshing champagne gelee, lychee, and hibiscus consomme. I especially love tart raspberries, so this pink-hued dessert was a real winner with me. We also enjoyed Le Cirque's take on two classic French desserts: creme brulee and chocolate souffle. Both were perfectly executed and ultra creamy -- the perfect ending to an amazing dinner. Le Cirque had a one last surprise for us, though. They brought a platter of mignardises to the table for us to take back to our hotel, including mini macarons and other homemade sweets. Special little touches like this make a restaurant truly stand up. From start to finish, Le Cirque showed us that they are a destination restaurant that any foodie should put on their "must visit" list for any Las Vegas trip!

Disclosure: Foundation Room hosted us for complimentary cocktails, Cirque du Soleil provided us with discounted house seats, and Le Cirque hosted our dinner tasting to facilitate this post. All opinions expressed are solely mine, and all photographs are copyrighted by Michael K. Garcia. They may not be copied or otherwise used without prior permission.

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