Thursday, August 11, 2011

Review: é by José Andrés Las Vegas

So I sent out a tweet to a friend of mine in Calgary, the biggest foodie I know, and one whos opinion I trust. I simply asked if he could eat ANYWHERE  in Vegas where would he go. His first pick was é, but he doubted we would be able to get in. After searching the Internet to find out more about é I was obsessed...because I couldn't find anything about it. No website. No phone number. No information. The only thing I found was a review on Yelp with an email address

So off whet the requested and I waited for the reply. A few days later I got the notice, we were in for dinner. After filling out paperwork, sending in a deposit, and then receiving our golden tickets we were set to experience a dinner that is unlike any other. é is located in the Cosmopolitan Hotel & Casino in the back portion of Jaleo. It is so discrete the doorman didn't even know what I was talking about. They only have 2 seating per evening and each accommodates 8 people. We were lucky enough to have a party of 4 bail at the last minute, so it was just us, one other couple, 3 amazing chefs, and 2 servers that were hands on and a wealth of knowledge.

22 courses in all, come along with me as I share a few of my favorites (and yes, it will be picture overload). 
We can start with the first course, a Gin & Tonic. But not any G&T, this was made with nitrogen in front of us. There was white smoke filling the room as the concoction was whipped into a frozen delight.

Moving on to our second course of Beet Jewelry that was dusted with silver & gold. This girl likes things that sparkle so this was right up my ally. We were told to place it on our finger like a ring and to enjoy it that way, I may have admired mine for a bit longer than everyone else.

 Our third course was Spanish 'Clavel', an edible flower served on a mold of José Andrés hand. It was light, airy and sweet. Followed by Caramelized Pork Rinds that were amazing, seriously, I could have munched on those all night long.

Apple 'Brazo De Gitano', a savory sponge cake that I can't even describe, once it hit your lips it melted, filled with a blue cheese that lingered in your mouth and made you want more.

 Crispy Chicken Skin in Escabeche. At first I was not sure how I would like this dish with the chicken oysters...but oh yummy! Both Rob & I were licking our fingers after this one!

And to take a break and view more of the small space we were being entertained in, I asked about the corset since it was so striking. Stephanie informed us that there is a local artist in Las Vegas that called showgirls from the 1950's & 1960's and asked for some of their old outfits so they could be turned into sculptures. If only it could tell some stories from back in the day!

Next up was José Taco & Artichoke with Caviar, again, a delight filled with textures and surprises. The Artichoke may have very well been one of my favorite bites of the evening.

Bocata De 'Calamares', a traditional Spanish sandwich that is served with calamari. To mix things up José served this tiny fried brioche roll with uni and a runny, messy, lick your lips sauce. Stephanie told us his main concern was having the sandwich 'messy enough'. Well José, you succeeded, my napkin was put to good use. 

OK, so this was my favorite of the evening. The Ajo Blanco, the Spanish white version of gazpacho made with almonds. The textures in this dish played off of the temperatures of the different items as well. This was savored and loved.

All of the food is prepared in front of us with such precision, it was a highlight of the evening, watching the chefs create edible art for us dish after dish. Below the Lobster with Citrus & Jasmine was being put together. The Hubs thought he was being slick since he was cutting all of the lobster bites in half, making it last that much longer.

We did do the 'wine' pairings with our meal. It really helped to give us the full experience for the evening. And no, it was not all wine. There were pairings of sherry and beer included throughout the meal. I asked Stephanie for a list of the beverages and then I heard the 'clack clack clack clack' of the typewrite behind me. Another example of every detail being thought of.

Chickpea Stew with Ibérico Ham, or as I like to call it, the party in your mouth dish. When you placed a chickpea on your tongue and touched it to the roof of your mouth it would pop, a mini explosion of flavor. How was this done? I don't remember all the details but I know alge, a syringe, and steady hand were all used to make those little party balls happen.

 The catch of the day, for us it was Black Cod with Citrus Pearls and Black Garlic. It was light and flaky, the cool temperature of the citrus pearls were booming with flavor and brought the dish together taking it to the next level.

Rosemary Morels in Papillote, aka yummy bites baked in bags. Served in copper pans tied with a subtle gold ribbon, once cut open they were topped with foam before being gobbled up.

Secreto of Ibérico Pork, a 100% acorn fed pork that had a nutty flavor that was so tender your could cut it with a spoon. José has this meat flown in raw from Spain since keeping it as true to Spanish tradition as possible was key.

 Finally a couple of the deserts that we were treated to, and honestly, by this point we were stuffed but we had to eat what was put in front of us!! On the left is the Fizzy Paper, it was tart and not too sweet. On the right is the 25 second Bizcocho, dusted with silver and gold and filled with a yummy cream. Also on the plates was saffron infused chocolate & chocolate 'air'. So as you can see, there was a lot of food that we had the opportunity to sample & we left full, very very full.

At the end of the evening we had to get a group shot in the 'kitchen' area.

After dinner you are asked to sign a book and given a dinning number, I was 1346 & the Hubs was 1347. I can honestly say that this was one of the most amazing culinary experiences that I have ever had and I hope to be able to go back again when we return to Sin City. Yes, the $700 price tag doesn't work with all budgets but we opted for this rather than a show of some kind...but it turned out to be the best show of all! Thank you to all at é, you made our trip to Las Vegas even more memorable, hope to see you again soon! Mel xo

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