A couple of weeks ago my siblings and I were in Las Vegas to surprise our Mom for her 70th birthday. Mom and Dad love going to Vegas; it’s like Disneyland to them.
For the celebratory birthday dinner, we had a reservation at Thomas Keller’s French bistro Bouchon. Now, traditional French country cuisine is not exactly known for vegan fare, so I was a little apprehensive about the whole thing. So much so that I had packed a Clif Bar in my backpack just in case I needed something else to eat as I was flying home right after dinner.
To ensure that everyone enjoyed their meal on this happy occasion, my sister must have told the Bouchon people at least three times that there will be a vegan in our party. I thought I would have to remind them again but after we were seated, our waiter beat me to the punch and asked who was the vegan? And then proceeded to ask what I could and could not eat.
The meal started off with warm, crusty, French bread shaped to look like a wheat stalk and sparkling or flat Evian bottled water. I won’t bore you with the details of what the rest of my family ate. I had a beet salad without the cheese. Normally I don’t like beets but I figured it’s the world-renowned Thomas Keller, of all the times to really try beets, this would be it. The beets were delicious and that’s saying a lot from a former beet hater.
My main course was whatever the chef was willing to put together for me; it’s pictured above. A plate of vegetables exquisitely arranged, it was very tasty. But the portion seemed a little on the small side for just being vegetables. Hello, just because I’m a vegan doesn’t mean I’m on a diet. Oh sure, I see you piling on the pommes frites (french fries) with the steak entree like there’s no tomorrow. But you’re stingy with the veggies? And it’s not just Bouchon, other fine dining restaurants are the same – delicious, expertly cooked vegetables, just not very much of it and not exactly cheap.
For dessert, everyone else had the birthday dessert plate – an assortment of miniature cakes, ice cream and cookies with a candle. I asked about the sorbet but the waiter said it had a little cream in it but he offered a bowl of fresh berries instead. Good enough for me.
Overall, a great experience for everyone – the decor was beautiful, the ambience was relaxed and the service was impeccable. It may sound like I’m complaining a little but I’m not. I’m happy and grateful that I was able to enjoy a nice dinner with my family at a famous restaurant. As it turned out, between the bread, salad, vegetables and berries, it was just the right amount of food. I didn’t even eat the peanuts on the flight home and that Clif Bar is still in the backpack.