When an event begins with a dinner at Guy Savoy, and ends with a lunch at Joel Robuchon, honestly, how bad could it be? Nonetheless, I came away with an empty feeling at Vegas Uncork’d ’11, in spite of it being the most hyped food event of the year in our humble burg. The Grand Tasting, on Friday felt less attended in the waning hours than past events, and the rganizers had the gall to charge $200 for admission — an all-time high. What’s more, my Eating Las Vegas event, in spite of the good crowd of nearly 60, and the lively discussion, was a disappointment. Why was that so? Because our book, Eating Las Vegas, reluctantly purchased at the last minute, was not distributed to the attendees as promised. Somebody, in short, goofed. And your intrepid auteurs, Mancini, Curtas and myself, left with egg on our faces. The weekend did get off to a bang-up start, at least for me.
The meal at Savoy was hosted by the new Bon Appetit Editor-In-Chief, Adam Rapoport, and featured a classic, take-no-chances menu. Savoy himself expedited in the kitchen, over dishes such as lobster in a cold steam, roasted turbot with morels and asparagus, his justly celebrated artichoke and black truffle soup, and a perfect rack of veal paired with the hit wine of the evening, a 1998 Chateau L’Arrosee from St. Emilion. Yep, life is hell. The next night was the Grand Tasting, scaled down from past years, and in the culinary sense, less impressive. Chefs representing Caesars Palace, MGM Resorts, Wynn Las Vegas and The Cosmopolitan were the bulwarks, with exceptions such Zach Allen from Venetian/Palazzo, and a barbecue guy called Texas Pete stuck in for drill.
For more on Vegas Uncork’d, you can read Max Jabson’s thoughts on UnicaWorld.