I have been going off and on to Las Vegas for years, more so nowadays to visit two of my children and five grandchildren that live there. Some more astute vacationers select their times to coincide with a show by a celebrity that they wish to see or a major event or a trade show, not I, I just pick a week that I can go and take my chances. One time we were there and there were basically just the “canned” shows which are great, we enjoy them, but to me Vegas is celebrity driven, at least for the shows. Oh to have seen Louis Prima and Keely Smith would have been great, but I am just a youngster I guess. One week the biggest name in town was Debbie Reynolds, so off we went to see her one woman show. My Bride and I were probably the youngest people there, but that was fine, as she gave a great show; she sang, she joked, she told stories, she showed photos and film clips of her life and her career and somehow the show seemed to end way too soon.
This was one of our “date” nights when we were out in Vegas. Most of the time we spend our time with our children and their families and make the most of the trip, but even we need a date to enjoy ourselves. We decided to have dinner at a legendary restaurant from Manhattan that has a second location in the Bellagio hotel called Le Cirque. Le Cirque has moved to bigger and better locations in Manhattan and at one time Daniel Boulud was their head chef; Le Cirque literally means the circus and I guess they like to have a little whimsy in the kitchen. The venue in the Bellagio is wonderful as you can see the great water fountain show from the back side, the main side being on The Strip. We were concerned about time constraints because we were going to see the show after dinner, so we settled on a pre-show menu, and there was nothing second class about this “rush” menu of three courses. My Bride started off with Escargot au Beurne d’Ail with Confit Tomato and Parma Prosciutto; while I enjoyed Tartare de Boeuf Wagyu Kobe with heirloom tomatoes and lotus chips. She then had Dos de Saumon Ecossais, wild Scottish salmon with potatoes mousseline and wild mushrooms; while I had Le Poulet Roti, roasted organic chicken with polenta. Then we both enjoyed coffee and a Bombe for dessert. There was nothing rushed or secondary about this menu, though one day if we have enough time, the chef’s tasting menu should be marvelous.
We had a wonderful bottle of wine that evening from one of the great wine dynasties in Italy, the Gaja family. A bottle of Gaja Barolo Sperss 1991 was our choice for the meal. The Gaja family has been making wines in Italy for over a hundred years and they have been fine tuning their craft continuously. They had made a Barolo wine and then they stopped for a while, because they only wanted to use grapes from their own properties and had stopped purchasing grapes from outside vineyards, then they had a chance to secure thirty acres or so in Barolo and this cru vineyard is called Sperss. This wine is made from the Nebbiolo varietal, which is the famed grape in the Piedmont, though in the late nineties Gaja changed their DOG designation for Sperss to Langhe, the lesser designation because they had started to blend some other varietals into their Barolo wine, which is not allowed for DOG Barolo. As I have only had the Barolo and not the Langhe, I cannot offer an opinion, though I am sure that if the Gaja name is on it, it is done perfectly no matter the designation.