Eating Out

The Chef’s Table at é by José Andrés – Las Vegas

I’ve been dragging my feet on my recap of é by José Andrés, but four months later is better than never right? Eight other trips, a job change, and 100s of meals later…here’s a throwback to December 2017!

é in Las Vegas was probably the most intimate dining experience I’ve had. You share a chef’s table with eight total diners in a private room tucked inside Jaleo at the Cosmopolitan. We shared our seating with five guys at a bachelor party and a solo diner. For a bachelor party, our dinner mates were ironically quiet!

When we arrived, we were initially seated at a high top in Jaleo with our fellow diners. They presented the first course at this time – edible branches made from liquified kalamata olives, presented like a centerpiece. My husband took the liberty to also order a plate of the best jamon –  jamón ibérico de bellota fermín and some pan de cristal con tomate. Excessive I know, but I indulged in it as well!

 é by José Andrés - Branches of the Desert - liquidfied kalmata olives turned into crackers
Branches of the Desert – liquidfied kalmata olives turned into crackers
 é by José Andrés - Pan de cristal con tomate - Jaleo
Pan de cristal con tomate – Jaleo
 é by José Andrés - Jamón ibérico de bellota Fermín
Jamón ibérico de bellota Fermín

After we finished our snack, we were led inside the é private dining room. The first thing I noticed was the interesting decor – one chef said it was like a snapshot inside Chef José Andrés mind. Note the creepy doll and some heels going up a ladder!

Decor inside é by José Andrés
Decor inside é by José Andrés
 é by José Andrés - Creepy baby head and other unique decor inside é by José Andrés
Creepy baby head and other unique decor inside é by José Andrés

Upon seating, we were given a hot towel in the mold of José’s hand. We kicked off the meal with some wine by the glass and watched the 22 course performance unfold over the next two hours. The first few dishes consisted of creative small bites resembling nature – a dew drop, a rose, and a smooth river stone.

 é by José Andrés - Morning Dew - white sangria, cava, gin
Morning Dew – white sangria, cava, gin
 é by José Andrés - Beet Rose - beet and manchego, walnut raisin wafer
Beet Rose – beet and manchego, walnut raisin wafer
 é by José Andrés - Spanish Pizza
Spanish Pizza – San Simon cheese, truffle, dried tomato. Stone – idiazabal cheese glazed in jamón ibérico fat and rosemary oil, served on river rocks

Next came some larger, but still appetizer-sized dishes. The “wonder bread” was actually made from an airy meringue.

 é by José Andrés - Wonder Bread - apple meringue with foie and pear filling
Wonder Bread – apple meringue with foie and pear filling
 é by José Andrés - Pan con Tomate - air bread, jamón ibérico
Pan con Tomate – air bread, jamón ibérico

The Uni dish was one of my favorites, as I love anything uni. Though the thick, crunchy base was a tad overwhelming to the delicate uni.

 é by José Andrés - Uni & Lardo
Uni & Lardo
 é by José Andrés - Edible Sangria
Edible Sangria – sangria slushie, compressed melon, sour cherry pearls, mint

The Asparragos Escabeche course was one of the more intricate and memorable ones. It was also one of my favorite tasting dishes! I loved the bright flavors and texture contrast.

 é by José Andrés - Asparragos Escabeche
Asparragos Escabeche – asparagus, lemon pith puree, egg yolk spheres, ossetra caviar
 é by José Andrés - Live scallop - hidden inside a truffle shell mold
Live scallop – hidden inside a truffle shell mold

The next crab dish was another highlight for me – the simple crab meat was enhanced with a rich vial of crab broth and some crunchy bread crumbs for contrast.

 é by José Andrés - Txangurro a la Donostiarra - dungeness crab, bread crumbs, and a vial of crab broth
Txangurro a la Donostiarra – dungeness crab, bread crumbs, and a vial of crab broth
 é by José Andrés - Foie Royal - foie gras mousse, almond milk, orange, truffle, chicken jus
Foie Royal – foie gras mousse, almond milk, orange, truffle, chicken jus

The next two courses were more substantial mains, though still quite small in portion. The fish over a bed of chicken course was pretty to look at but uncomfortably salty for my taste.

é by José Andrés - Platija - fluke over chicken picadillo
Platija – fluke over chicken picadillo

The wagyu beef cheek course was my favorite of the savory dishes. The gnocchi had a surprising texture that reminded me of popping boba! The chanterelles were so delightful, and the beef cheek was nicely tender.

é by José Andrés - Fricando
Fricando – wagyu beef cheek, popping gnocchi, chanterelles, pine nut. That gnocchi was like popping boba!!

Next came the progression of desserts, starting off with an “empanada” made from cotton candy. We asked what they did with the extra cotton candy, and a chef actually brought out a large bowl for us to share.

 é by José Andrés - Empanada - pressed cotton candy, foie, corn nuts
Empanada – pressed cotton candy, foie, corn nuts
 é by José Andrés - Extra cotton candy from the Empanada course
Extra cotton candy from the Empanada course

Next came three beautifully plated desserts, all of which my sweet tooth loved – great presentation, layers of flavor, and texture contrast. The modern take on Intxaursaltsa (walnut, raspberry, hazelnut) was especially enjoyable.

 é by José Andrés - Miel y Mato
Miel y Mato – frozen powdered cheese, ricotta, honey gelee, brown butter crouton
 é by José Andrés - Intxaursaltsa - walnut cream, walnut praline, hazelnut,
Intxaursaltsa – walnut cream, walnut praline, hazelnut, raspberry, liquid nitrogen strawberry
 é by José Andrés - Catalan Egg
Catalan Egg – candied yolk, vanilla custard, orange, dark caramel

But wait there’s more! We ended the meal with a few courses of mignardises.

 é by José Andrés - Cherry Bomb - chocolate shell, liquid cherry. Turron Tart, marcona almond
Cherry Bomb – chocolate shell, liquid cherry. Turron Tart, marcona almond
 é by José Andrés - Frozen creamsicle, salted saffron chocolate, gin and tonic marshmallow
Frozen creamsicle, salted saffron chocolate, gin and tonic marshmallow
é by José Andrés - After 8 - Dark chocolate, mint leaves
After 8 – Dark chocolate, mint leaves
é by José Andrés - The Menu, December 2017
The Menu, December 2017

Overall, I thought the chef’s table at é was a good experience but quite robotic with no real standout dishes. Perhaps the presentation was so intricate that the chefs had to focus on plating at the cost of diner interaction. It was missing the level of engagement that we experienced at the modern chef’s counter at The Bazaar by José Andrés in LA. My favorite chef’s table service to date was at Playground 2.0 in Orange County – a winning combination of exceptional approachability, enthusiasm, and education.

After our 22 bite-sized dishes, we weren’t hungry, but we were craving something more hearty, like the paella from Jaleo. We put ourselves in the server’s hands, and she surprised us with the Paella Mixta on the house. As we sat at the Jaleo bar and dug into the paella, this hit the spot unlike anything else from é. As intricate and fun as é was to watch, it was missing soul, which the paella had. Sometimes simpler is better.

Paella Mixta being cooked
Paella Mixta being cooked
Paella Mixta – ibérico ribs, butifarra sausage, chicken and green beans

1 thought on “The Chef’s Table at é by José Andrés – Las Vegas

  1. […] é by José Andrés, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA – This restaurant is within Jaleo at the Cosmopolitan. A nine-seater, you reserve tickets well in advance and sit in a private dining room with a view of the chefs preparing each dish. While the setting and presentation (it was like a show watching the intricate plating and molecular gastronomy) were absolutely fantastic, the flavors themselves weren’t memorable enough to make my top three. My full blog recap here. […]

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