Bouchon evokes essence of France in American West
By Brock Radke
Photos by Beverly Poppe
When renowned American chef Thomas Keller brought his Napa Valley dining institution Bouchon to the Strip as one of the signature restaurants at the vast Venetian resort, the game was changed in Vegas, forever. Located in the quiet Venezia Tower, just off The Venetian’s grand lobby, Bouchon remains the standard bearer for classic French bistro fare in the desert, as well as the home of one of the Strip’s most popular brunches.
Let’s begin there, with the perfect late morning meal. First, a rich cup of coffee to accompany the quite necessary selections from the bakery: a lemon tart, a strawberry croissant, some flaky, buttery layers of viennoiserie, melt-in-your-mouth macarons or the humble yet awe-inspiring baguette with butter and jam. Eating at Bouchon means enjoying the simple things, and a meal can be made solely of these beautiful breads and sweet treats. (But you may want to consider a side of crisp bacon or country sausage—you know, to balance things out.)
Then, on to a glass of crisp champagne and the main brunch attractions, like fresh-made oeuf and boudin blanc (white sausage) with scrambled eggs, the decadent croque-madame (toasted ham and cheese, fried egg and mornay sauce on brioche), the daily quiche or Bouchon’s version of chicken and waffles. This is the most perfectly roasted chicken in town, juicy and rich, served with a bacon-chive waffle with vanilla bean butter and sauce chasseur.
Brunch is so good, you may be tempted to return for dinner. In the evening hours, the restaurant’s bustling brasserie atmosphere turns serene, and the menu’s bistro standards are impossible to ignore. Stick to your favorites and discover a new definition for “comfort food.” Open with a selection of shrimp, oysters, lobster or caviar from the long oyster bar at the restaurant’s entry. Duck-leg confit served over a matignon of root vegetables and green lentils is an utterly satisfying dish—decadent, tender meat balanced with a savory sample from the garden. Escargot, red wine-braised Burgundy snails, is served with puff pastry. Again, the roast chicken takes a simple dish to a new level, and steak frites is particularly succulent, a seared flatiron steak coated in caramelized shallots and herbed butter avalanched by a mountain of fries. On the lighter side, pan-roasted Idaho trout amandine comes with haricot vert in a supple beurre noisette, and Maine mussels are steamed with Pernod, fennel, smoked bacon and tomato oil.
It doesn’t matter if you’re indulging in brunch or dinner—dessert is a must. Classic profiteroles are a favorite, delicate pastry shells enclosing rich vanilla ice cream and kissed with chocolate sauce. There’s always a pot de crème option, infused custard with flavors changing regularly. For a truly ethereal closer, experience île flottante, a cloud of sweet meringue floating in a swirl of vanilla crème anglaise with almonds and salted caramel. This dessert is but one example of the transcendent dining experience at Bouchon.
breakfast 7 a.m.-1p.m. Mon.-Fri., brunch 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat.-Sun., oyster bar 3-10 p.m. daily, dinner 5-10 p.m. daily. 702.414.6200