Last night, I had the pleasure of having what can only be described as the best meal of my life. Period. Hands down. No debate. No discussion.
It also happened to be the most expensive meal I’ve ever had, so its a damn good thing it was the best.
We had reservations at 6pm for Picasso at the Bellagio. AAA rates restaurants on a five diamond scale and there are only a handful of restaurants in the world which merit a five diamond rating. There are none in Minnesota or Wisconsin. New York City has three. Vegas has four. Picasso has been awarded five diamond for six years running. This is the first and only time I’ve ever eaten at a restaurant of this quality level. It is also ranked as the 10th best hotel restaurant in the US by Zagut’s.
The ‘gimick’ at Picasso is that the walls of the restaurant have actual paintings by Picasso hanging on them. That’s pretty impressive. We didn’t sit near any Picasso’s however. Given our early reservation (6pm) we got a seat out on the patio and were able to get a front and center view of the Bellagio water fountains all evening. (The shows are every half hour).
The first thing that struck me was that they had a sommelier and a 90 page wine list. Picking a wine was like reading the phone book. I’ve never had a master sommelier at a table before and it was a real education. His name was Desi Echavarrie. He had a really in-depth knowledge of everything on the wine list. Who grew it, where it grew, the vine types, the soil, everything. Picking a wine from a list that large is really a crap shoot. On his recommendation, I went with a 50-50 Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon blend from Argentina. It was very good and the price was reasonable given where we were dining. (I saw one bottle on the menu for over $8,0000. For that much, a bottle of wine better take me out for breakfast in the morning)
The menu consisted of two tasting menus. That’s it. You could pick the right or left hand side of the menu. There were some options for entrees, but that’s it. One of the courses consisted of foie gras. I had never had foie gras before and had always wanted to try it. It was amazing. I anxiously await the foie gras flavored Doritos.
You can’t eat at a place like Picasso every month or even every year, but it is worth doing at some point in your life, just to say you did it.