Hubert Keller Takes Tapas to a New Level in Las Vegas
Chef Hubert Keller has done it again with Fleur, the new incarnation of his Mandalay Bay restaurant previously known as Fleur de Lys. We had dined at Fleur de Lys in Las Vegas several times, and we were always impressed with the classic décor, unique chef's table, immaculate service, and of course, the great French cuisine that only Keller could create. So we walked in curious about how the new small plates concept would work.
You first notice Fleur's casual tables and the lively bar with plasma TV's. As we walked past the tables near the bar guided by our hostess to our table in the main dining room we gazed upward to the chef's table overlooking the dining room surrounded by hundreds of bottles of wine. It brought back fond memories of Fleur de Lys. The décor in the main dining room features earth tones with lighting in the shape of trees, which gives guests a warm, inviting feeling.
“Fleur is about globally inspired tapas” stated General Manager Owen Deignan as he met us at our table and welcomed us. The word “global” inspired us so we put ourselves in the very capable hands of Chef Keller and his chef de cuisine, Steven Wolf.
Our first stop, as always, was perusing the extensive wine list. It features most of the trophy wines that you would expect from a venue such as Fleur, but it also offers a variety of wines from $ 60, up. We chose a Côtes du Rhône that we expected would pair well with whatever the chefs sent out.
We started our journey with a lovely hummus and baba ganoush flatbread that tantalized our palates with layers of exotic flavors that kept us on the edge of our seats to see what was next.
When our attentive server brought out the ahi tuna tacos, the dish was so pleasing to the eye we just wanted to stare at it. The expression “you eat with your eyes” could not be truer of this dish. The pepper provided just the right heat, and a nice avocado foam to cool things down made this a very balanced dish, and one of our favorites of the night. Following that, the salted cod fritters with Serrano and garlic romesco was put together very well.
We waited with anticipation to see where the chefs would take us for our next stop — a North African dish that is also popular in Northern Europe, merguez sausage served with saffron.
What would a restaurant that serves small plates be without sliders? Fleur does it as good as anyone with juicy Angus sliders with creamy blue cheese, onion, crispy bacon, and pear, which added nice contrast. We will come back just to enjoy this dish again.
After spending most of the night at Fleur dining our way around the world could we have room for anything else? Of course! It was time for the finale, and what a finale. A crème brulée trio featuring Earl Grey, orange, and cookie was a perfect lead-in to one of the best chocolate soufflés we have had. These dishes were decadent and delicious, and should not be missed.
General Manager Deignan had been speaking to us all night about some very special cocktails with quite a presentation so we had to indulge and were very glad we did. The passion fruit margarita — a combination of passion fruit, sea salt, and cayenne — made tableside in a cloud of liquid nitrogen. The result is a lovely cocktail with a consistency you can eat with a spoon.
Fleur has a few great specials to indulge in as well. For those who enjoy classic French wines, and a one-of-a-kind burger, Chef Keller offers his FleurBurger 5000: Wagyu beef, truffle, and foie gras, served with a bottle of 1995 Château Petrus. If the $5,000 pricetag is a little out of your range. Chef Keller's “In The Shower” mac and cheese made with lobster and brunoise vegetables, is a dish that he created on Top Chef Masters. It really shows off his creativity in layering flavors.
Chef Keller has captured what people are looking for these days. His artistry is now available and approachable for families, and many others who may not have been in a position to dine at Fleur de Lys in the past. More people should be exposed to and gain an appreciation for creative dishes from a chef like Hubert Keller. They can gain that knowledge and appreciation for innovative cuisine and exceptional service at Fleur.