Friday, September 26, 2008

Tableau, Las Vegas Nevada

Chatting on his Vertu in a strange language (something arabic I believe) I couldn’t help but notice my neighbor’s Constantin Patrimony series watch flashing in the sunlight of Tableau’s patio…clearly there was money around. When the waiter arrived to refill his water and asked if he could get the check the man pulled out a money clip, peeled off two $100 bills and said “that should cover it” before getting up and walking away…the man had ordered a fruit plate. Tucked away in the gardens and pools of the Wynn Tableau is both rich and beautiful in appearance, much like its patrons. Sure I didn’t expect low quality from Steve Wynn, but to say the clientele of Tableau was “well to do” would be a vast understatement.

Arriving at 7:45am I was greeted by the gorgeous lobby and the gracious hostess who asked whether I would prefer dining indoors or on the patio. As the patio was amply shaded and most of the patrons were outside I chose the patio and was subsequently offered a copy of the Wallstreet Journal, New York Times, or USA Today to browse. Seeing the headlines regarding the USC upset, I opted for the USA Today (clearly indicating my status compared to the rest of the diners who sat browsing the Times or Journal) and chose a wonderful table half sunny/half shaded with a great view of the pool and gardens. Water was filled and the menu was delivered while the waiter went to get my coffee.

Browsing the menu I was instantly captured by the pastry basket and the Peach pancakes, but not being hungry enough for both decided to ask the waiter what was available in the basket. Approximately 10 items were rattled off including an apricot tart, apple scone, and nectarine turnover. When I asked if pastries could be ordered individually it was explained that these were ‘petite’ pastries and if I wanted to try only one it would be free of charge. “A nectarine turnover and the peach pancakes, please.” “Certainly, sir.”

While I waited for my food I stood up and roamed the pools and gardens. Approximately 20 people were present at the time, all dressed either business casual or semi-formal and all dining on items ranging from the freshest appearing fruits to pastries to eggs and sausage that looked incredible. When I returned to my table (my tableau?) my coffee was waiting along with cream and sugar/spelda/equal. No nutrasweet was to be seen and when asked I was informed “Mr Wynn does not fancy nutrasweet.” Fair enough (for what it is worth, Alex also didn’t have Nutrasweet but noted they could obtain it immediately if I desired.)

After approximately 10 minutes a fantastic yet dainty nectarine turnover arrived fresh from the oven. Crispy, flaky, loaded with fresh nectarines it was the perfect opener to the meal and I’d have certainly enjoyed many more had I ordered the basket. Another 10 minutes and a laugh at the Trojans passed, my coffee was refilled once, and then my pancakes emerged from the kitchen.

Described in the menu as Ricotta Peach Pancakes with lime butter and organic maple syrup, nothing could’ve prepared me for these pancakes. Fluffy and light, airy yet moist, sweet yet savory and absolutely jammed with fresh skinned peaches, the dish was presented with a simple dusting of powdered sugar, a side-pitcher of warm syrup, and a dollop on the side that tasted like a fresh key lime dissolved in butter. Having tried Ricotta Pancakes only once before but any number of stellar pancakes in the past, this dish was a revolution and I truly sat and savored each bite. Sure, $14 for three pancakes is not a bargain, but $14 for breakfast bliss? That is a bargain.

When I finished my pancakes and resisted the urge to lick my plate clean my waiter arrived and asked if he could get me anything else. “Perhaps a coffee to go?” “….don’t twist my arm….how about another turnover too?” “Certainly, sir.” While I didn’t tip $185 like my neighbor, I certainly wish I could have.

On my way out everyone was very friendly, from the other waiters to the hostess, making each guest feel like their visit was truly valued. I was even invited to return for dinner, but when I told the hostess we had reservations for Alex that evening she noted “oh, excellent choice, perhaps some other time.” All told the meal was fantastic and on par with Bouchon in terms of quality, presentation, and service. Go early, sit on the patio, eat, smile, and enjoy the richness of the food and the clientele…even if you yourself aren’t rich…sometimes it’s fun to see how the upper crust lives.

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