Monday, June 20, 2011

Comme Ca - French Brasserie Perfection in Las Vegas

I am not a full-fledged Francophile, but I admit to loving French food and wine, dining in a bistro and a long, leisurely lunch.  Las Vegas is one of my favorite haunts, largely because it has become a mecca for foodies and shopaholics alike.  So I was cautiously optimistic that my luncheon desires could be satisfied by Chef David Myer at his Las Vegas outpost of Comme Ca.  Granted, everything in Las Vegas is on a large scale, so you are not likely to find a quaint 40-seat bistro.  But at least you can hope for a restaurant with some bistro flair and energy.  Perched above the strip, with one of the best views in Las Vegas, you start to wonder if there isn't a little Paris magic in Comme Ca.  After all, the Eiffel Tower is within view. 

David Myer is a Southern California based chef who, after working with Charlie Trotter, journeyed to France to study classic French technique at three Michelin-starred Les Crayeres.  After extensive training, David headed back to New York to work with Daniel Boulud at Daniel before moving west to Los Angeles.  In Los Angeles, he has made several "hot lists" in the travel and food publications for his restaurants Sona and Comme Ca, and most recently Pizzeria Ortica.

My Los Angeles excursions don't always put me near Comme Ca, but his Pizzeria Ortica in Costa Mesa has been a stop on numerous shopping excursions to South Coast Plaza.  After all, a girl needs a good meal after a day at Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s.  So being in Las Vegas, with his Comme Ca restaurant in the Cosmopolitan Hotel where I was staying, offered  the perfect opportunity to try David’s take on a French bistro without the frenzy of LA driving.

The restaurant’s atmosphere was inviting from the onset:  dark wood banquettes with red leather, black and white tile on the floor, an adult-looking bar that beckons you to come on in and take a seat, a raw bar stacked with exotic shellfish delicacies that seemingly called my name as I passed by . . .  Well, you get the picture.  This restaurant tantalized me from the moment I set eyes on it and Kate Spade sandals in it. 

We were seated at a table with a view of The Strip and a place mat that paid homage to Ernest Hemmingway.  How very droll!  Menus were brought to us by our server who looked a bit like Drew Lachey, with a sparkling personality to match.  When I asked what cocktails he recommended (I was in Las Vegas and, anyway, it was the cocktail hour somewhere), he responded “what is your drink of choice?” - i.e., gin, vodka, etc.  What a great question to ask before making a recommendation!  Based on my answer, we settled on the Gordon's Cup, a delightfully refreshing drink consisting of Plymouth Gin, muddled cucumbers, and cracked pepper.  For my dining companion, Drew suggested sparkling water, and a fine choice it was.  Effervescent with a piquant bouquet redolent of Indian Tonic Water.  But I digress.
Gordon's Cup - Refreshingly Cool!

The lunch menu offers a panoply of exciting choices to suit everyone in your party, and you may have a difficult time selecting just one item for each course. 
Salmon at it's best!!

We started our le dejeuner with an appetizer of House-Cured Salmon Tartare with chive crème fraiche, dill and crispy purple potatoes.   This was the most amazing cured salmon that I've tasted.  It was so fresh and full of flavor, with a slight burst of lemon with every bite.  The crème fraiche and crispy purple potato brought out the flavors of the salmon and with every bite a new layer of flavor emerged.  The last bite was fought over.
Fresh, crisp, and simply delicious!

For the first course, we selected the Soup de Jour, which was artichoke with truffle, and the Provence Country Salad.  The Provence Country Salad consisted of little gem butter and frisee lettuce with shaved radish, heirloom tomato, hearts of palm, bleu cheese and red wine vinaigrette.  Simple and delicious.
Truffle Love!!

The Artichoke with Truffle Soup was packed with flavor.  I still hold true to my love affair with truffles, and this was a perfect example why.  Artichoke soup on its own is fantastic, but when truffles are added it takes on another dimension and level of sophistication.  Not to mention the enticing aroma of truffles permeating one’s olfactory senses.  Your mouth is salivating before you even taste the dish.
Moules - Bistro Classic

For the second course, we selected Moules Frites and C.C.B.L.T.  The Moules Frites was a delicious, fragrant dish, the broth having just a hint of Pernod.  In my book, a French restaurant must be judged by its pommes frites.  They must be twice cooked so the outside is crisp and the inside tender.  They must never be oily or greasy and seasoning should be sparingly applied.  These pommes frites were perfectly cooked and seasoned and were served with a savoury house-made aioli.  Excellent in all respects but no match for the main attraction of the lunch--C.C. B.L.T. 
Frite Perfection

This dish consists of bacon, pork belly, romaine hearts, and tomato jam.  As you probably know by now, like Emeril I love pork in all its forms.  A BLT with bacon and pork belly equates to taste bud nirvana.  The bacon was crispy and the pork belly perfectly cooked.  The textures played with my senses.  The tomato jam so delicious to contrast the pork.  Crispy Romaine.  Still dreaming of that sandwich.  Drew paired this dish with a Miura Pinot Noir and that choice was truly “Bon.”
No words necessary, pork lovers heaven

Our server Drew (ok, his name is James) convinced us that our lunch would not be complete unless we tried the Profiteroles.  Boy, was he ever right; these were the best profiteroles I've had in ages. 
Profiterole Delight

Since we were having dessert, a digestive was in order, so I had the Hanky Panky Cocktail.  It is a combination of Campari, Fernet Branca, and Vermouth.  It was a great way to end the meal and put me in the right mood to win my fortune at the video poker machines downstairs in the casino.  Bon Appetit my friends.  
A Little Afternoon Hanky Panky

Comme Ca
The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

3708 Las Vegas Boulevard South

Las Vegas, NV 89109

David Myers Group

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