The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2014

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Page 74 of 136

74  /  the tasting panel  /  december 2014 PREP C all me picky, call me weird: however you slice it, I admit that I have somewhat of a finicky fork. I don't eat red meat, am standoffish about shellfish and think offal is downright awful—but that doesn't mean I don't wine and dine with the best of them. So as a diner with a bit of a particular palate, I find myself taking pause before making reservations at the hottest new restaurant in town: Will I find something to eat here, and join in this culinary experience sweeping my city? Increasingly, the answer is yes, with chefs on a quest to find new ways to elevate niche cuisine, from vegan fine dining chefs to gourmet gluten-free bakeries; from hipster hotbeds to big name properties. But while niche cuisine is on the rise, sometimes, there's nothing better than a tried-and-true crowd pleaser, so this month, the Finicky Fork heads to Las Vegas, where one classic protein is returning to the spotlight in a big way: chicken. Relegated to second-class status in the realm of menus featuring either premium cuts of steak bigger than your head or 12 courses of caviar and foam, chicken is poised to make a comeback at some of Vegas's top eateries, with the goal of bringing food back to basics. "I strongly believe that a chicken dish is a great addition to the menu at high-end restaurants," says Wilfried Bergerhausen, Executive Chef at Bellagio, explaining that chicken is an excellent blank canvas when putting together a dish. "It allows chefs the opportunity to take an ordinary product and showcase their culinary skills to prepare it in a way guests have never seen before," he continues. Return of the Bird At Le Cirque, roasted chicken is served with asparagus and chanterelle mushrooms. IN LAS VEGAS, FINE DINING FLOCKS TO THE FEATHER by Rachel Burkons PHOTO COURTESTY OF LE CIRQUE

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