Steve Benjamin

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon

Despite having what appears to be an American name, this friendly Parisian is as French as a Camembert wrapped in a tricolor. When Benjamin first came to the MGM Grand six years ago, his accent was as thick as the crème Anglaise served on desserts in his restaurant. Today, he’s lost much of the accent and speaks fluent English. He’s made Las Vegas his permanent home.

What makes him great? Simply that from day to day, year to year, the kitchen at L’Atelier is the most consistently excellent on the Strip. It’s virtually impossible to get a bad dish here, and that includes faithful and difficult reproductions of the dishes that made his boss so famous, such as his celebrated mashed potatoes, stuffed quail and papillotte of langoustine.

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Kobe Meatballs in Lettuce Cups, Sushi Roku

Dishing With Grace

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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