Bardot Brasserie continues a reign of excellence
Restaurateur Michael Mina is somewhat of a mogul, with a mini-empire spanning the country from Miami to San Francisco and across the Pacific to Honolulu. Here in Las Vegas, he has a quartet of venues, including the nationally recognized Bardot Brasserie at Aria, where he transports diners to Paris with the help of executive chef Joshua Smith, under whose watch classics are elevated rather than eschewed.
Smith’s attention to detail is notable from the start. Prime steak tartare hinting of salinity is topped with a deep orange egg yolk, drenching the raw meat with a complementary creaminess; a dollop of sauce verte (green sauce) contributes even more color and flavor, while house-made waffle fries serve as an unorthodox, yet tasty, method of delivery. Equally as delicious, the port wine gelée layered atop the savory foie gras parfait contributes a sweet contrast to the velvety, buttery liver. Escargots Bardot, a riff on traditional escargot, cocoons the gastropods in puff pastries resembling snail shells with a dollop of chartreuse butter atop rather than the traditional garlic butter preparation. Duck a l’orange is another modern take, serving smoky, wood-grilled duck wings with a sharp and creamy blood orange sauce Maltaise, an offspring of the staple hollandaise sauce.
In case you’re looking to dine healthy (or at least healthier), then order the frisée aux lardons serving peppery greens tossed with a sharp sherry vinaigrette and crunchy bacon lardons delivering hints of smoke—finished with a poached egg, this salad could practically be a delicious breakfast replacement. In the entrées, the heritage chicken rôti (French for roast) delivers a well-seasoned, crisp-skinned exterior which reveals juicy fowl.
A wee bit more carnivorous is the grass-fed New York Strip, lightly seasoned and charred to allow the meat to express itself. Top the cut with buttery Maine lobster to create the ultimate surf and turf, but don’t forget a side of the unforgettable macaroni and cheese. Surprising even veteran diners, the macaroni and mimolette gratiné serves the eponymous pasta standing at attention, as if saluting Smith and his crack staff in what appears to be a showcase in modern ingenuity. Or maybe it’s simply magic. But either way, the dish is a delight to look at, but even better to eat, as creamy béchamel blends with the nutty mimolette, elevating the staple.
If you have room, a comically oversized chocolate macaron is fun dessert to share, while the sweet apple tarte tatin is more modest. But don’t finish your evening without exploring the recently introduced chartreuse cart, serving the storied French liqueur tableside. Made by Carthusian monks since 1737, the fragrant digestif is aged with a multitude of herbs, plants and flowers, delivering complex herbal notes.
Bardot’s selection of green and yellow varieties—the green is higher proof and more alcohol forward—includes rarities dating back to the late ’60s. As if Smith’s cuisine weren’t enough to coerce you into a visit, you can partake of liquor older than you. And doesn’t that intrigue you?
Aria, 5-10:30 p.m. daily, brunch 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat.-Sun. 877.230.2742