Friday, July 15, 2011

Alain Ducasse: Franco-American Cuisine at Mix

With one-of-a-kind culinary creations and the city's best views of the Strip, Mix is at the pinnacle of style and height of indulgence. Located at the top of 'THE' hotel — an odd name I know — Mix is the vision of Alain Ducasse, one of the culinary world's most renowned chefs. 
Known for his intricate, flawless French cuisine, Alain Ducasse has won many Michelin stars from France to New York, and now at Mix in Las Vegas, where the setting is as much of the experience as the cuisine. 

Famed Chef Alain Ducasse

Designed by Patrick Jouin, Mix was named 'Best Restaurant' by the Travel + Leisure Design Awards 2006, and honoured with a Michelin Star on the prestigious guide's first Las Vegas visit in 2008. Mix received a Michelin Star again in 2009. It also received the coveted AAA Four Diamond Award two years in a row. Adorned in white and silver, Mix features a sweeping staircase, mid-century modern furniture and a stunning 24-foot chandelier of 15,000 hand-blown glass spheres — a halo of bubbles made from Murano glass. The design concept is based on Heaven — a large white dining room with a raised silver cloud (the private dining area) with raindrops falling from above (the handblown Murano glass orbs).

Mix's stunning Murano glass chandelier — the largest chandelier in the world 
until just a few months ago

The restaurant features contemporary and classic French and American dishes with global accents, as well as signature dishes from Alain Ducasse's restaurants in Paris and Monte Carlo. Signature dishes, original creations brought forth by executive chef Jason Arbusto and fine wines from a cellar 5000 bottles strong are served in this transparent showcase of a room. Having started with a glass of champagne at Bellagio before we arrived at Mix, I decided to try a glass of their signature French Rosé. The sommelier arrived at the table with the biggest bottle I'd ever seen — but then, I should have realized — it's Vegas. Everything is larger than life!

The biggest bottle of Rosé I've ever seen!

Alain Ducasse Shrimp Cocktail at Mix in Las Vegas

As we looked over the menu, we were presented with a warm and delicious amuse-bouche of Fennel Cream Soup in a small demi-tasse cup. We followed with one of Alain Ducasses's signature appetizers — Shrimp cocktail. Seems pretty standard, but not when Chef Ducasse adds his special touch. Combined with a horseradish custard and a spicy tomato syrup, the poached shrimp dance on the tongue combining a multitude of flavours, from sweet to spicy to umami — that flavour that makes you go "Hmmm". We followed with another American classic, New York Strip Steak with a side of Creamed Spinach. 

Creamy Spinach

My husband finished with a Baba au Rhum, an Alain Ducasse classic from his Monte Carlo restaurant. A small pitcher of rum and a bowl of rich cream arrive with the plated cake, allowing each guest to customize their own dessert. The final coup d'état — a tray of fresh baked Madeleines are brought to the table, still warm from the oven.

Alain Ducasse's deconstructed Baba au Rhum, with the rum and cream on the side

Fresh baked Madeleines

Feeling well fed and indulged

Adjacent to Mix, is their red themed lounge which is styled as Hell, a counterpoint to Mix's Heaven motif. Guests enter through a foreboding door with an oversized luminous X marking the entry! One of the most stylishly hip lounges in Vegas, Mix Lounge offers innovative cocktail concoctions, an stellar bar menu and a seductive blend of music spun by savvy DJs each and every night. Guests can reserve a table indoors, or step out onto the spectacular 64th-floor balcony and enjoy breathtaking views of the famed Las Vegas Strip.

The spectacular view of Luxor from the MIX Lounge

The luminous door from 'Heaven' to 'Hell'

MIX Lounge

Alain Ducasse Shrimp Cocktail
Serves 4

1 lb Shrimp (about 20)
6oz Horseradish Royale
4oz Spicy Tomato Syrup
1oz Candied lemon Zest
4 Dried Lemon Chips
4oz Mesclun Salad
2oz Pan De Mie Croutons
Verjus Vinaigrette
Salt & Pepper

For the poached shrimp: Peel and devein shrimp. Bring a court bouillon to a boil, add shrimp. When cooked and tender remove from liquid and cool.

Horseradish Royale:
32oz Heavy Cream
16oz Horseradish
44oz Creme Fraiche
8 Gelatin leaves
Salt & Pepper

Infuse heavy cream, horseradish, salt and pepper in a large pot over low heat. Pass through a fine chiniose. Bloom gelatin in cold water. Dissolve gelatin in the horseradish cream, combine with creme fraiche. Reserve.

Spicy Tomato Syrup:
6oz Sugar
3oz Olive Oil
32oz Tomatoes
1oz Garlic cloves
1oz Salt
1/2oz Black Pepper Mignonette
1/2oz Red Chili
3oz Red Wine Vinegar
2oz Basil

In a pan make melt together sugar and olive oil. Cook over medium heat until sugar has melted and a light caramel has formed, about 10 minutes. Deglaze with the vinegar. Cut tomatoes in half and add. Add remaining ingredients and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes. Pass through a fine chiniose and cool. Reserve.

Candied Lemon Zest:
8oz Lemon juice
8oz Sugar
8oz Lemon Zest (10 lemons)

Remove the zest from 10 lemons. Cut into 1 inch julienne; blanch one time in cold water. Combine lemon juice and sugar in a small pot; bring to a boil to make syrup. Add lemon zest and simmer until soft and translucent. Cool and reserve.

Dried Lemon Chips:
1 Lemon
Powdered Sugar

Freeze lemon; slice as thin as possible on a slicer. Place lemon slices on a non-stick baking sheet, sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 200°F for 45 minutes. Chips should be crisp and take no color. Reserve.

Pan de Mie Croutons:
Sliced sandwich bread
Clarified Butter

Remove crust from pan de mie. Cut into 1/8 inch croutons. Heat butter in a sauté pan, toast croutons until golden brown. Season with salt and reserve.

To Assemble: Set 1 1/2 oz Horseradish Royale in a bowl; leave to set 1 hour in the refrigerator. Place 1oz spicy tomato syrup on top of royale. Add shrimp, candied lemon zest, salt & pepper. Finish with mixed greens, croutons and dried lemon chip.