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Andre's @ Monte Carlo 5/16 Full Review

Discussion in 'Restaurants & Buffets' started by JillyFromPhilly, Jun 4, 2012.

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  1. JillyFromPhilly

    JillyFromPhilly Tourist

    Oct 14, 2011
    Gwynedd Valley, PA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    In my opinion, Andre's at the Monte Carlo is a real forgotten gem of a restaurant - so forgotten that even we hadn't been there in years - but it really is one of the last bastions of the old-school model of a Vegas "gourmet room" that once thrived in every resort in town up until the 90's celebrity chef explosion - places like Hugo's Cellar, the Monte Carlo Room at the Desert Inn, and the Palace Court at Caesars, just to name a few - places where old-school formal French cuisine was served up in equally formal rooms by armies of tuxedoed maitre d's, sommeliers and servers. Places where the lighting was dim, the menu was predictable, the sauces were rich, and the banquettes were velvet & plush. Places that are fewer and further between in Vegas as each year goes by, as each new trend takes root, and as ever more celebrity chefs open places in town that they never actually cook at.

    The Andre's in the Monte Carlo today is actually the offshoot of a now sadly closed Vegas institution that was located downtown a few blocks off of glitter gulch. Back when I used to come to town with my parents in the 70's & 80's, every trip usually included at least one swing downtown to eat at Andre's - it was there that I was introduced to my first tastes of such [then] exotic fare as steak tartare and escargot - and up until it closed a few years back the wife & I still always used to try & make the trek downtown to the original Andre's on at least one of our trips to town each year. After it closed we tried out the newer version at the Monte Carlo once - and while not overwhelmed still enjoyed it enough that we vowed to return. On our latest trip, we finally did.

    The room has been modernized a bit by a renovation a few years ago - but the decor is still reminiscent of the great gourmet rooms of yore - still sporting healthy doses of crystal and that pale shade of blue that good formal French restaurants always used to be decorated in - albeit now somewhat contemporized to keep up with the strip's restaurant Joneses. However the service and menu still help take you back to another era - to be sure, this is not Joel Robuchon or Guy Savoy - you won't find anything so contemporary & cutting edge here. Instead, you will find the classics, done exceptionally well - and the classics is what we were there for, so the classics are what we ordered.

    Dinner started with an amuse of foie gras, after which I ordered the escargots & the wife chose the vichyssoise. For our main courses, I went with the Lobster Thermidor [the reason we were there was because I wanted a Lobster Thermidor - a dish that can be very hard to find anywhere anymore] while the wife went with the Dover Sole. It seemed like Andre's might've recently lightened them all up a bit for more contemporary tastes, but they still hit the mark with all the right richness & flavors that anyone who has eaten this style of French cuisine before would expect. We stayed classic for dessert as well and both went with the Grand Marnier souffle - man, did that bring me back to fancy dinner nights out with the 'rents when I was a kid, when every meal inevitably ended in a classic souffle.

    Afterwards, it was upstairs to Andre's cigar bar for some Cognac & Cigars - Yes, if you like a good stogie, you can order & enjoy one from a wide selection upstairs at Andre's Cigar bar - and really, if you're so inclined, is there any better topper to a grand old school meal? Even though I'd quit smoking cigarettes years ago, we decided to indulge [although it's just too bad you still can't get real Cubans in this country!] - and while we're also not big Cognac drinkers [I'm usually a Scotch man, the wife prefers Bourbon] we splurged & went with the Louis XIII - since I'm not a connoisseur, I figured that's supposed to be the best, right?

    So, is Andre's the best restaurant in Vegas? No. Is it even one of the best French restaurants in Vegas? Probably no as well. But if you're looking to capture both the food - and the mood - of Vegas dining from an era now almost completely gone by - Andre's is perhaps the best of the two or three places left on the strip you can still go and get it. So if that's an experience you've never had but always wanted to try, or one you had years ago but haven't had recently and might want to recapture again, you should probably do it soon - because who knows how long it will still be there before whatever the latest & greatest trend in Vegas's restaurant scene is comes along and closes the book on Andre's and this style of cuisine on the strip for good.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2012
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