Bouchon

Everyone, it seems, has his favorite little neighborhood breakfast joint. There’s been bragging around the office about the coffee cake at the Cracked Egg; another faction is partial to omelets at the Original Pancake House. But for overall quality, variety, imagination and efficiency, Bouchon at the Venetian, Thomas Keller’s bistro, is in a class by itself.

First off, the smart décor by Adam Tihany—featuring tiles from France, Belle Époque brass fittings and a spacious outdoor patio—is sure to impress anyone but a determinately dour visitor. Then there is the fact that Bouchon makes its own sticky buns, almond croissants, epi and brioche for its matchless French toast. Butter is sourced from a farm in Vermont; it’s canary yellow, cream-scented and so good you want to say “I can’t believe it’s butter.” And the menu is chockablock with great breakfast dishes: eggs with boudin blanc, tempting quiches, a delicious salmon baguette that’s a French twist on an American bagel and lox. The coffee is excellent, and there is always fresh fruit, impeccably sourced. The one thing the bistro does not serve is pancakes. But there’s always hope.

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Kobe Meatballs in Lettuce Cups, Sushi Roku

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Kobe Meatballs in Lettuce Cups, Sushi Roku

A recent addition to the menu, this dish offers perfect spheres of rich, ground Kobe beef on skewers with caramelized onions and mustard soy truffle sauce, and are meant to be eaten with the accompanying butter lettuce leaves. The combination of intense beefiness with the crunch from the lettuce, sweetness of the onions and umami of the dipping sauce is a study in well-balanced flavors. $18, Sushi Roku, in the Forum Shops at Caesars, 733-7373.

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