Most Improved Restaurant

Twist

Twist’s surf and turf tartar  with vodka agar disc and  Tsar Nicoulai caviar. | Photo by Anthony Mair

Twist’s surf and turf tartar
with vodka agar disc and 
Tsar Nicoulai caviar. | Photo by Anthony Mair

French cuisine has come a long way in this country since the days of tinned foie gras, cream sauce and button mushrooms, and nowhere is this progress more in evidence than the Strip, where four three-star Michelin chefs have restaurants. We’ve been lavish in our praise of Robuchon, Savoy and Ducasse, but it’s time we gave the most original and creative of our chefs his due. Pierre Gagnaire is a culinary genius, and if there’s a downside, it’s a wild imagination. But that’s usually rescued by flawless technique. How many of us, for instance, would jump at a dish called salted cod loin on sardine gelée, accompanied by mushroom cream and French beans? Yet the dish is nothing short of a revelation. Gagnaire’s magic can take a banal ingredient, such as a chicken breast, and make it into an spectacular tour de force, by means of green apple, red bell pepper, golden raisin, spinach fondue and Diable (mustard) sauce. When Twist first opened, the menu seemed out of focus. Today, chef de cuisine Ryuki Kawasaki is firmly in charge, and the food here is better than ever. One caveat: Nothing here is rote. This is food you’ve never tasted and won’t find anywhere else. In the Mandarin Oriental. 590-8888.

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