Twist by Pierre Gagnaire is the only American restaurant by the French chef and some think it is controversial that he chose to open in Vegas instead of somewhere like New York.
Twist serves classic French cuisine with a contemporary edge and is located on level 23 of the Mandarin Oriental hotel. This suited us perfectly for a first night in Vegas dinner as after a long day I definitely didn’t want to have to go anywhere except for four floors up in the elevator.
Hanging in front of the entrance to Twist are pretty butterflies, and above them is the wine cellar.
When dining at a so called celebrity chef’s restaurant you don’t normally expect to see said chef. They are normally off doing other stuff, especially if they have multiple restaurants. So you can imagine my surprise when we walked into Twist to see a distinguished looking gentleman dressed in chef whites standing at the bar area. Hello Chef Gagnaire!
Yes, the man himself was in town for two weeks cooking a degustation menu based on the signatures dishes from his other outposts. He came around to each of the tables to say bonjour, but I was too shy to ask for a photo.
After that excitement we settled into our corner window table. The decor was elegant but a bit funky with the hanging globes.
The wine list is on an iPad.
We started with a half bottle of Krug.
A selection of yummy snacks were brought out, as well as bread (amazing) and butter.
We each got our own bread and this was replenished during the meal.
I find the menu at Twist confusing, I can’t work out what is a la carte and what is part of the degustation so instead of having to try and work it out we selected to do the degustation and just let them bring the food out.
I did not take photos of the menu as they have a menu online but it has changed since we dined at Twist in August. But I emailed the restaurant and they kindly sent me a copy of the menu we had, however I still can’t work out what some of the dishes are!
We gave the staff our dietary requirements (no seafood for me and no cream for J) and sat back ready to enjoy. While Chef Gagnaire was on the floor the service we received was so exceptional that J claimed it was the best restaurant service he has ever had. Unfortunately it went downhill after that.
This is J’s first course.
This is mine, which was the soubise onion, squid with parsley, tomato-farci gratin, tomato gelee, sorbet and soup.
This was actually the second version of this dish. The first, as suggested by the menu description, had squid and squid ink on it. We told them no seafood and they prepared a different dish for me to J’s seafood dish but still put seafood on it. For a restaurant of this calibre I find this pretty poor.
And when they brought out the second rendition there was no apology or explanation, just another recitation of what the dish was.
The dish itself was really really good and by far my favourite of the night. It was basically a tomato stuffed with curried basmati rice on grilled cheesy asparagus, and the rice was to die for. Please someone get me a bowl of this stuff right now!
It came with this tomato sorbet thing, which didn’t really work with the rest of the dish.
We had finished our champagne and moved onto a half bottle of white wine from Oregon, which I recall being exceptionally good.
This was J’s next dish.
Look creamy to you? Again, despite giving the staff our dietary requirements, which really, compared to some people, aren’t that complicated, J was given a dish with cream in it. He couldn’t be bothered hassling the wait staff again so solved the problem himself by pulling the other elements out of the bowl onto the side and letting the cream drain off back into the bowl. Classy huh? But better than him being sick.
This was my next dish, no idea what it was.
Pretty sure this one was the grilled miso pork dish.
I think this one was duck…
For some reason we got different desserts. This was mine, the white truffle pain perdu vanilla ice cream.
Yes, those light brown discs on top are white truffles! Hello! Never thought I would get to try these and I definitely liked them better than the black variety.
J’s dessert was a bit blurry.
I think it might have been the green tea-milk gelee, sesame-nougatine ice cream soudachi granite, sake and salted plum but I am not sure.
So while I have not been able to remember and describe the dishes in all their finery I can say that apart from the snacks and my basmati rice tomato nothing was outstanding, it was all a bit average. Which was disappointing. We were really ready for a knock-out meal and we didn’t get it. I admit that the service stuff ups may have influenced our opinion but I wouldn’t go back to Twist again and I would recommend other restaurants before this one.