If you could have just one meal while visiting Las Vegas, then make a reservation at é by James Beard awarded chef José Andrés. But make sure you plan ahead, way ahead; this restaurant only seats eight people and only has two seatings a night! They only take reservations and correspond via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and it is quite the process, almost like filling out an application. But it is worth the process simply because there is no real comparison. This is a restaurant that is difficult to classify; it is like watching a dinner show, while eating dinner.
This incredibly small “restaurant” is actually tucked inside Jaleo another one of José Andrés’ offerings located in the Cosmopolitan Hotel. I will write more about Jaleo and their wonderful tapas and paella soon as we ended up spending the remainder of our evening sitting at their bar. Upon our arrival, the hostess ushered us to table where we joined the others who would be dining with us at é. Shortly afterwards, Brian, who I would consider to be our head waiter for the evening presented to us several beverage pairing, in which we chose a combination of choices including several wines, cocktails and even an amazing Spanish wheat beer.
Soon after that we were led down past the beautiful bar and incredible and huge paella pit, into through a doorway. The centrepiece of the intimate and private room is the Stage, the compact kitchen that they use to intricately finish assembling and plating the dishes. Attached to the Stage is a curved counter-height bar at which we are seated facing the Stage to enjoy our meal and watch “the show”. Although they don’t cook the dishes there, the closet comparison would be a Japanese teppanyaki restaurant, dinner and a show. The room is well decorated and lit, with shadows hiding the abundance of intricate details that may otherwise create a sensory overload if all engulfed in one moment. A pair of silver ladies shoes seeming to climb up a wavy ladder to an opening in the ceiling evoked memories of Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz; we definitely weren’t in Kansas anymore.
The evening featured nineteen dishes comprising of 23 different taste bites all paying homage to Spain; add to that ten Spanish beverages and all in all we enjoyed 33 different flavours that evening. The dishes were incredibly creative; the harmony of the elements of shape and colours was a sight to behold, and the orchestra of flavours and textures both pleased and excited my palate.
With timely precision each course was served to us all at the same time, a combined effort between the chefs and the servers. Our sous chef Cody Jeffs described and explained the preparation and often gastromolecular process of the offerings; it was like watching a cooking and chemistry class at the same time. There were even courses that were created using liquid nitrogen, which filled the Stage with an almost eerie fog, and fire which created a wonderful display.
The “show” was incredibly captivating, and the parade of dishes was soon complete. The whole dining experience took about two and a half hours, though it seemed so much shorter; how time flies when we are having fun. The environment and seating arrangement provided for both intimate and open conversations. We were seated with two couples, one of which was simply blown away with the whole experience, and a pair of siblings out celebrating a special occasion. Costs? The experience isn’t inexpensive, yet I felt that that value of high quality food, and a unique dining experience was worth the price of admission; truly a special experience to remember.
é Tasting Menu
The perfect way to start an epic dinner is with a drink. In this case we enjoyed nitrogen frozen orange blossom ice cube floating in a manzilla sherry. A delightfully refreshing start!
APPLE “BRAZO DE GITANO
An extremely delicate, light and airy apple flavoured meringue roll filled with a blue cheese filling.
NTRO ALMOND CUP
Liquid nitrogen frozen cup made from marcona almond purée posing as an egg shell, filled with an almond foam and topped with caviar. A one bite course that melts in your mouth.
2006 Imperial Gramona
Served in a porron, which is a traditional communal wine pitcher. Drinking from this vessel requires skill and practice. We should get a porron a few bottles of wine and practice.
A wafer cookie tube piped with “whipped cream” created with a blend of truffles and anchovies. Yes anchovies. Topped with a hazelnut cream stripe and basil flowers. I now love anchovies especially when prepared in this way. Amazing crunch!
Raw mussels slightly pickled topped with a savoury foam.
Priorat Natur “Vermut”
“Priorat Natur is the more wine-like of all Vermouths we have. Grapes from Priorat have been infused with indigenous herbs and aromatics. Bottling is done in small quantities at a time. Only 700 cases are made every year. The result is a fragrant and smooth vermouth, balanced on the palate, with just enough sweetness to compliment the accompanying bitter citrus.” – The Spanish Table
A snack. That is what a merienda is and in this case it was an interesting take on a ham and cheese sandwich. It reminded me of a hopia, a small Chinese meat filled pastry but with a European flavour. I love Ibérico ham! I was so happy that they were served in pairs.
CRISPY CHICKEN SKIN EN ESCABECHE
A delicate and tender, poached chicken oyster perched atop a piece of well-seasoned crispy chicken skin and topped with a savoury thyme foam. I loved these and wished for more, maybe another dozen please?
Carlos VII “Amontillado”
“Light gold in color with hints of amber. Caramel nose with brown sugar, maple syrup and roasted nut flavors. Salty with good acidity and roasted nut flavors. Notes of honey roasted, salty Hazelnuts linger on the palate.” – Mad Wine
A cava sphere, gelled on the outside, liquid on the inside. Bursts in your mouth and releases the sparkling white sangria with flavours of mint and hints of melon. A perfect palate cleanser!
“FABES” CON JAMON
Their version of white beans and ham, in a rich clear broth.
Estrella Damm Imedit
A blend of wheat and barley malt makes this a full-bodied yet refreshing beer. So good we drank a few more bottles at Jaleo on our way out.
LOBSTER WITH CITRUS & JASMINE
A perfectly poached lobster and served on top of a rich sauce formed in the shape of an é; rich with flavours but not rich as in heavy. The use of foams seems to be the secret in maintaining flavours and essence without the density. This dish featured a Jasmine foam.
“KOKOTXAS” AL PIL-PIL
Being Asian we pretty much eat anything. Apparently so do Spaniards. This dish is made with cod jowl in a squid ink sauce.
2002 Vina Gravonia
“Bright yellow. Complex bouquet displays dried peach and pear, honey and chamomile, with vanilla and marzipan notes in the background. Smooth and fleshy on entry, then tighter in the mid-palate, offering spice-accented pit fruit and orange zest flavors and notes of vanilla bean and smoky herbs. A jolt of bright, bitter citrus fruit adds cut and definition to the smoky, clinging finish. Intriguing and sure to be very flexible with food.” – Stephen Tanzer | International Wine Cellar
WHOLE LOBE OF FOIE GRAS BAKED IN SALT
Although I wished that they had served the whole lobe, our cube of soft, rich foie gras was served on top of a dark chocolate smear with tiny cubes of candied grapefruit. Mmmm… chocolate foie gras.
East India Sherry
“Lustau East India is a carefully prepared blend of two fine quality mature wines; an aged dry Oloroso and an aged sweet Pedro Ximenez, made from sun dried grapes. Once blended the wine is returned to American oak casks to”"Mary”"together for a period of one year prior to bottling. This produces a much smoother and more complex wine with great depth of character.” – Lustau
SECRETO OF IBÉRICO PORK WITH SQUID
The secret is the ingredient, a cut of pork from behind the shoulder on the black-footed pig. Historically coveted by the butchers themselves. This combined with a squid including its tentacles was presented with a parsley foam.
2000 Dehesa La Granja
“A selected lot from this excellent harvest underwent malolactic fermentation and aging in new Alliers oak barriques, the dense and tannic structure (à la Cabernet) of Tempranillo from the Zamora region being particularly well matched to the sweet oak flavors.” – Classical Wines
TORTA PASCUALETE WITH COTTON CANDY
This is an interesting take on a cheese course. It begins with liquid nitrogen cooled goat cheese soup, the soup is topped with a compressed cotton candy wafer and finished with edible flowers. The firm yet light cotton candy wafer begins to dissolve as the cheese soup warms; an excellent combination of textures!
2008 Victoria by Jorge Ordóñez
“Brilliant yellow hue. Fresh and intense, with a mix of sensations of freshly peeled apple, orange peel, bee pollen and aromatic herbs. Concentrated, fat but refreshing. Long finish.” – Jorge Ordóñez & Co.
CRÉMA CATALANA EGG
A Spanish crème brûlée topped with an egg yolk, puffed rice and candied mandarin orange bits. Served with honey.
PAN CON CHOCOLATE
An interpretation of bread with chocolate, which combines coarse frozen chocolate powder, sweet bread, olive oil and salt. An excellent combination of textures and savoury yet sweet flavours.
Ron Cremaut “Burnt Rum”
Prepared with a spectacular display of blue-flamed fire to temper the spiced rum, then mixed with coffee.
A sweet bite-sized nugget made from egg yolk and perhaps milk.
25 SECOND BIZCOCHO
Really? They said that this quick dessert is prepared in a microwave. A light spongy almond cake with filled with a light sweet yogurt.
José’s Gin & Tonic
Chef José Andrés is known for his gin and tonic. This one combines Hendrick’s gin, fever tree, lime, lemon, juniper and kaffir. Loved it!
A collection of four small confections including a fizzy chocolate disc highlighted with the é logo.
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Executive Chef: José Andrés
Sous Chef: Cody Jeffs