Refining Classic French Bistro Fare

Las Vegas Magazine |
Brock Radke |
Dec 1, 2017
Original Article: "Refining Classic French Bistro Fare"

Welcome to the Las Vegas Strip, land of unnecessary excellence. What does that mean exactly? Let me give you a beautifully composed, fresh and delicious example: Deep red tiles of perfectly seared, fennel-crusted ahi tuna, arranged delicately over a savory dish of tender cavatelli pasta, bright green pesto, roasted root vegetables and flakes of parmeggiano-reggiano cheese. It’s an ideal winter lunch or dinner, hearty yet lively and refreshing, and it’s a recent rotating special in Mon Ami Gabi at Paris.

With its perfect-for-people-watching patio, always-bustling bistro environment and precise, classic cuisine, Mon Ami Gabi seems like it would continue on as one of the most popular and beloved restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip without any extra effort. In every aspect, it’s the definition of a well-oiled restaurant machine.

But the drive here is strong to continue to evolve the experience and improve the menu, including the creation of new and different dishes. The restaurant’s motivating force is executive chef Vincent Pouessel, a veteran of award-winning kitchens who came to Mon Ami Gabi in the summer of 2016 after helping build Las Vegas restaurants by iconic chefs Charlie Palmer and Daniel Boulud into monuments. Mon Ami Gabi was one of the first restaurants Pouessel visited when he first moved to the United States from France more than 15 years ago, and the passionate chef is dedicated to making this favorite Strip spot the best it can be.

The weekend brunch/lunch session is still when this dining room—actually a collection of different, charming spaces—reaches its absolute zenith, when hungry visitors share ham and cheese crepes and steak frites while catching the best views of the Bellagio fountains. Indulge in a Provence l’orange sparkling brut cocktail, the perfect patio sipper, even if you eschew the basic egg for something lunchier like the classic frisée, poached egg and warm bacon salad, a Maine lobster roll on a brioche bun or trout almondine. On the other hand, the daily special on Saturdays and Sundays are crab cake Benedict and beef bourgignon Benedict, respectively, making brunch nearly impossible to pass on.

Dinner at Mon Ami Gabi is a lesser-recognized treat, but it’s a time for the kitchen to shine in a different way. Start with an appetizer of crispy duck confit with braised cabbage, bacon and gala apple, or a charcuterie and cheese platter to satisfy the whole table. Chilled seafood specialties from oysters to salmon rillettes are available, the perfect lead-in to one of the best and most rich versions of onion soup au gratin on the Strip. Choose one of six sauces and preparations for your steak frites, or opt for the chicken grand-mere with bacon, mushrooms and potato purée. Sea scallops with butternut squash and vadouvan butter is particularly appropriate in this cold season.

The only thing not up for discussion is dessert—at Mon Ami Gabi, it’s a must. The favorite profiteroles will get your attention, filled with vanilla ice cream and covered in chocolate ganache, but look into seasonal specialties so you don’t miss out on something spectacular, like the buttery, blissful apple tarte tatin. It’s so much better than it has to be.

Paris, 7 a.m.-11 p.m. Sun.-Thurs., 7 a.m.-midnight Fri.-Sat. 702.944.4224


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