Saturday, June 21, 2008

Is It Too Late for Payard Vegas?

A few weeks ago, I was in Las Vegas for a conference...and one of the most memorable experiences of my life was at Payard Patisserie. Located in Caesar's Place, we experienced a five course dessert tasting menu...and every dish was perfect. Just a few days ago, I read this post on the LA Times blog:
A couple of months ago, I wrote a story on the latest round of restaurant openings in Vegas. The best bargain I found as part of that story was the elegant buffet breakfast at Payard Pâtisserie in Caesar’s Palace — $16 for coffee, fresh-squeezed juice, as many of the exquisite morning pastries as you can eat, plus cereals, yogurt parfaits and house-smoked salmon with all the fixings. However, it seems as if the management at Payard felt that petit dĂ©jeuner was too much of a bargain. A reader alerted me soon after that the price was now $22. OK, it was underpriced at $16, but isn’t that the definition of a bargain? Still, a $6 hike seems a bit steep. In another change, the bistro is no longer serving their dessert tasting at night, which is a real shame. I guess they never developed enough of an audience.

I was disappointed to hear that the dessert tasting menu was no longer being offered. In what must have been one of their last services, here are photos and descriptions of everything I was lucky enough to eat!

Our amuse...a soy and chocolate marinaded piece of fish, a chocolate polenta with duck, and a piece of thinly sliced beef (I don't remember what was inside!)

Poached Sickle Pear with Pomegranete, Cabrales Cheese and Szechuan Pepper Ice Cream...that was amazing ice cream!!

Warm Ricotta Tart with Citrus, Mint Salad, White Balsamic Vinegar...the mint salad was absolutely perfect. And on top? Baked Parmesan cheese!

Roasted Pear with Maple Syrup and Brown Butter Ice Cream. No need for any other was perfection.

Tiramisu My Way: Chocolate Mousse, Espresso Granita and Mascarpone Cream. This deconstructed tiramisu was surprisingly easy to eat (and share).

Coffee Eclair, Milk Chocolate Mouse and Flaky Sable. The Flaky Sable (essentially a crispy, thin, chocolate cookie) was amazing. I've got to learn how to make it.

Red Wine Tart with Sangria-Prune Ice Cream. The ice cream was a good. Inspiration for me and my new ice cream machine. Oh. And yes. There are a lot of glasses in the back. We had a different sparkling, moscato, or port paired with each one! :)

Devil's Food Cake, Cardamon Pot de Creme, Chocolate Pudding and Whipped Creme Fraiche. Can you see the 'devil's horns' shaped with thin chocolate? There were yummy rice krispy like rice puffs surrounding the cake.

Peanut Butter Napoleon with Milk Chocolate Rice Krispies. Not too peanut buttery, and not too rich. This was perfect.

The classic. Warm Hazelnut Chocolate Tart with Cocoa Nibs Tuile and Hazelnut Ice Cream. Amazing. Perfect.

This amazing truffle machine in the Payard patisserie has clocks around it that shows the time at all of his locations around the world...Tokyo, New York, Sao Paolo, etc.

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