Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Payard Patisserie and Bistro, Las Vegas Nevada

Tucked away in the corner of Caesars Palace it is no wonder that many people do not even realize Payard exists, let alone the fact that it serves up some of the most delectable breakfast items in Vegas. Known for his New York Outpost, Payard himself is rarely found at this location (unlike Jean-Philippe over at the Bellagio) but the shop, scene, and food are no less impressive.

Arriving in Vegas around 8am local time after a non-stop flight, I got checked in and made my way to Payard by 10:05 for breakfast. Though the all-you-can-eat continental buffet was still ongoing, I first stopped in the Patisserie to browse chocolate and dessert selections, and to pick up some candies for my mother and aunt. While everything was beautiful and the crepes appeared wonderful, the prices were decidedly even worse than Jean Phillipe and the selection less impressive. After making my purchase I made my way next door for breakfast.

Seating was readily available and the friendly attendant/waitress seated me near a window next to two rather crude foreign businessmen who preceded to discuss their sex lives quite loudly in public. Though the waitress once asked them to keep it down, it did not really help. So much for class.....thankfully they were easy to ignore as I watched the chef perform his craft at the wide open kitchen station in the middle of the restaurant.

Coffee was pretty standard fare and was served quickly and refilled mostly adequately (I was empty for a good 5 minutes between cups 2 and 3) despite there being multiple servers who appeared to be standing around chatting amongst themselves. For breakfast I opted for the Almond Croissant and the Payard Chocolate Waffles with Nutella and Caramelized Bananas.

Served first, the Croissant was heavenly with a buttery crisp crust surrounding a flawlessly fluffy center stuffed (and I mean jam packed) with almond compote. Sweet yet savory, this was and still is the best Croissant I've ever tasted in terms of texture and second best in terms of taste (sorry, the Almond Chocolate Croissant at Bouchon is a revelation.)

My second dish was the Waffles and all I can do is be amazed. Small yet incredibly decadent, the portion was just right.....any more and I'd have been overly full. The waffles were soft and fluffy (unlike the super-crisp chocolate waffles at Norma's NYC) while the Bananas were perfectly sweet and succulent. The Nutella was more than ample, as well. All said, a beautiful and tasty dish that I'd certainly recommend.

My only complaint aside from my co-diners and the coffee would be the fact that everything felt quite whole meal lasting a mere 40 minutes and check delivered without asking if there was anything else I wanted. My server only visited the table when delivering an item or to collect the bill and the to-go coffee I was promised was never delivered. All told, fantastic food in a so-so environment with so-so service. High prices, but absolutely worth it, and a breakfast that would be "best of" in many other cities.

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