How can you write about Vegas restaurants without including Bouchon? A totally valid e-comment, and a puzzle I'm happy to solve. With so many options on the Strip, so much buzz and hype, delicious experiences can slip through the cracks. But not this, the quintessential French bistro from the man himself, Thomas Keller. I should be ashamed.
- at Venetian, 414-6200
For locals, brunch at Bouchon needs to be perfect every time in order to make up for its pain-in-the-ass location off the Venetian's main lobby. Fighting through elevators filled with Sunday morning's checkout crowd can be painful, but once seated and cherry-picking through breads and pastries, we're back to perfect-ville. Baguette with butter, jam and Nutella, almond brioche and the heavenly strawberry croissant ... I don't think we need to order any real food. But we do. No one cares when I use my coffee spoon—the only utensil that doesn't have Nutella or jam on it — to scoop bright pink salmon rilletes onto crispy little toasts. Today's special: homemade truffle sausage over a wild mushroom and fig ragout. It's so good I'm angry this is my first time here.
I go overboard. Bouchon's chicken and waffles are not like the others, far from a quaint, gimmicky thrust at a soul food staple. It's a supreme dish, the fluffy bacon and chive waffle formidably savory against the best bird, roasted and crispy-skinned. Neither requires a bit of the sweetest maple syrup ever or the traditional sauce Chasseur served on the side. But there they are, so you should have some. Overboard.