Joël Robuchon at the Mansion

One of our many memorable meals at this palace of gastronomy included an appetizer as part of a 15-course degustation, or tasting menu. It was composed of a micro-thin, perfectly round pastry wafer, a thin layer of crème fraiche, and a blanket of round, thin shavings of black truffle. It was one of those creations one hesitates to eat, so as not to destroy it. The maitre d’ here said the dish took, incredibly, 18 minutes to plate. It’s that type of meticulousness that separates Robuchon from the rest.

The chef’s menus are seasonal, but look for dishes such as lobster en cocotte, an amazing langoustine ravioli topped with black caviar, and potato salad laced with truffle and foie gras shavings that your mother never made.

Well-known for labor-intensive and visually stunning dishes, and for his vast knowledge of food chemistry, Robuchon was voted Chef of the Century in a French poll. Are we even qualified to argue?

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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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