Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow.
We literally just walked into our apartment after a long drive back from Las Vegas and I just had to write about our awesome dinner last night.
For those of you who know us well, you know we love to eat. I hesitate to describe us as “foodies” because nowadays everyone is a “foodie”, but we do appreciate a good meal (ok, we also like comparing one 5 star restaurant to another because we have discerning taste buds like that but I’ll save you from that since this is a travel blog…).
Anyway, this past weekend Mr. T surprised me with reservations to e by Jose Andres, and I’m bringing it up here, because really, this place is a Las Vegas attraction — a hidden attraction, but an attraction no less!
First of all, this restaurant is the brainchild of José Andrés, a Spanish chef who creates the most innovative culinary dishes ever (he’s worked with Ferran Adrià of El Bulli fame so you know he’s bringing food to the next level). He’s got a bunch of other restaurants (my favorite is The Bazaar in Beverly Hills) scattered around the country, but e is arguably one of his most elusive restaurants to secure a seat. Don’t believe me? Go to e’s website. Go. I’ll still be here when you’re back.
Did you check it out? Did you notice how it’s even more barebones than a business card? They aren’t exactly advertising there.
There are only 8 seats each night and only 2 seatings a night (one at 5:30pm and another at 8:30pm). Getting a reservation requires you to email them 1 month in advance of the day you want to go and then pray that your reservation request is granted. Assuming it is, you fill out a contract to secure the reservation and then prior to the reservation date, you are mailed golden tickets for “admission”. It’s a lot of work for a meal… which is precisely why I’d prefer to think of the whole e experience as show that comes with a meal.
At our dinner, which was a special Valentine’s dinner (read: they hiked up the prices in celebration of the Hallmark holiday), we sat with 6 other guests around a semi-circle and watched as the chefs (there were 3 of them) prepared all of our 24 courses ever so meticulously. See why it’s like a show? In addition, we also got to chat with the chefs about any and everything. Where else can you get that up and close and personal with the chefs at such crème de la crème restaurants? Exactly. It also helps that each dish is mouth-wateringly delicious with flavor combinations and textures that you didn’t think were ever possible. Sigh. Imagine if Picasso paintings were turned to meals and Mozart symphonies could be had in your mouth and you’ll only begin to understand how this dining experience is in a class of its own. Now, add to that a casual atmosphere and down-to-earth waitstaff/chefs and you have e.
Anyway, the whole intimacy of the night coupled with the gastronomical adventure makes e, by Jose Andres, a must-see (or must-eat) Las Vegas attraction — assuming you have some money to burn (not gonna kid you here, obtaining the privilege of a coveted reservation is not cheap). But what is the point of living if you can’t celebrate it with “once in the lifetime” experiences like this, right?
I really wished I had some pictures from our meal to share, but the lighting was dim and since we weren’t allowed to use flash, our pictures came out grainy (I really need to get a new camera). Instead, I found this video from Jose’s company, Think Food Group, that gives you an idea of the type of innovative entrees you can expect from Jose Andres. Check out how they re-create an “egg” for this dish: