The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2011

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Page 44 of 128

VEGAS At Comme Ça at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Sommelier Bruno Bonnet and Executive Chef Brian Howard con- vene in the wine room. Comme Ça I Come See THE FRENCH BRASSERIE SHINES IN LAS VEGAS by E. C. Gladstone magine a rustic brasserie transported from the French countryside to a modern skyscraper, and you'll conjure the unexpected delight of David Myers's Comme Ça, emerging as one of the best new restaurants in Las Vegas today. Surrounded by many daunting concepts not only up and down the Strip, but even in its home resort, The Cosmopolitan, Comme Ça combines simple ele- ments in unexpected ways to create an experience that sells low and delivers high. THE TASTING PANEL team is not easily impressed, but following our Rhône summit (see the story on page 74), Executive Chef Brian Howard and Sommelier Bruno Bonnet treated us to a meal that renewed our standards of inspired—and approachable—excellence. French brasserie food might not seem the sort of stuff upon which to build a revolution, but both Chef Myers (who trained with Charlie Trotter and Daniel Boulud) and Chef Howard share a vision where ingredients and execution alike surpass diners' expectations. Thus, our meal began with classic fresh steak tartare and rich roasted bone marrow (with addictive oxtail jam) but alongside those, a fanciful 44 / the tasting panel / october 201 1 amuse of lump crab and compressed melon, and foie gras three ways (even as ice cream). Heirloom tomato salad came out as nothing less than modern demi-molecular art, but mains of coq au vin, duck confit and beef Bourguignon were redolently reas- suring standards. Of course, since the original brasseries were the forerunners of today's brew pubs, beverages are given equal attention here. As chosen by Mark Mendoza and offered by Bonnet, wines are heavily French and Californian, but that doesn't preclude intriguing discoveries at all price points. Great attention is paid to cocktails as well, with a menu of vintage classics and modern market- ingredient mixology (try the notably complex Bloody Mary or the tequila/vermouth Sergio Leone). Beers here are just as carefully chosen, and mostly German/Belgian. "What we're trying to do is set a new tone for brasseries," Howard tells THE TASTING PANEL. "All over Europe, you see Michelin starred chefs shutting down their fine dining rooms and opening brasseries. But in America, I don't think anybody is really doing what we're doing in a brasserie." PHOTO: DEED DEBRUNO

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