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Cuisine: French

Review by Sarah Lee Marks

Gourmet dining with a view from the top of the Palms Casino & Hotel

Alize' is the most luxurious restaurant in Andre' Rochat's Gastronomy Group, which consists of Andres' downtown on 6th St. and Andres'at the Monte Carlo. Located on the top of the Palms Casino, an elevator whisks you to the 55th floor where you're deposited into a short hallway displaying a collection of cognac and brandy dating back two hundred years. Sipping from these bottles will set you back several hundred dollars.

We started our evening at the bar where raspberry, strawberry and chocolatini's are individually crafted from Andre's own brand of infused vodka. (16.)

The hallway/bar opened into a single dining room boasting a magnificent view of the Red Rock mountains and Strip. In the center of the restaurant is a grey-smoked glass wine room that cleverly divides the space, offering a bit of privacy for larger parties. My collection of female gourmands agreed to share bites when faced with a menu offering too many fine choices to be ignored.

Andre's Foie Gras Terrine appetizer delivered the truly rich decadence we love about Foie Gras cut with the biiter sweet Orange and Grand Marnier Marmalade. (26) and the Smoked Scottish Salmon bather in Sour Cream and Chive Blinis atop a Green Asparagus Salad, Egg Mousse and Caviar Lemon Vinaigrette (21) edged out the Kobe Beef Carpaccio with Roma Tomato Confiture,and White Truffle Oil on a grilled Baguette (23). We chose from the cold appetizer selections, probably due to the 105-degree typical August temperature. However, the hot appetizer choices included Breaded Portabello Mushroom Stuffed with Sautéed Beef and Caramelized Vidalia Onions, Spinach with Parmesan Cream Sauce and Garlic Chips (22), Scallop "BLT" Pan Seared Diver Scallops on Toasted Brioche and Romaine Lettuce with Avocado Mousse, Coriander Macerated Tomatoes and Applewood Smoked Bacon Vinaigrette (24). Any combination of these appetizers would make a small plates dinner festival.

Salads ran the gamut but my personal favroite was the delightful blend of tart citrus, sweet pear and sharp Roquefort, in the Phyllo Wrapped, Baked Anjou Pear and Roquefort Cheese salad (26), where none of these characters over-powered the other. (16) The Mélange of Summer and Herb Field Greens with Fried Feta Cheese, Shaved Hearts of Palm, Toasted Almonds and a "Minus 8" and Mission Fig Vinaigrette (13) delivered a lighter fare for those making room for their main course and the death by dessert menu. There are alot of interesting cheese and nut combinations incorporated in the menu but Chef Jacques Van Staden (Rising Star of LV award winner) will gladly make alterations to suit your dietary needs. The service was a continous sweeping movement of plates, delivering palette cleansing lemon zest sorbet decorated with fresh mint leaf, without the hint of interrupting the constant conversation.

Our entrées rallied from the delightfully moist Sautéed Muscovy Duck Breast with Pan Roasted Baby Artichokes, Pink Radishes, Spinach and Toasted Almonds, Duck Confit, Creamed Spring Onion and Cherry Reduction (34) to a huge cut of Grilled Prime Rib Eye Steak with a Scallion and Gruyère Cheese Potato Cake, Mushroom "Marrow," Red Onion Marmalade

and Horseradish Beef Jus (45). The Duo of Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb with Sweet Carrot Purée, Green Peas, Caramelized Pearl Onions and Roasted Leg of Lamb Shaved Thin with Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette and Pinot Noir Sauce (50) rivaled the 8oz Pepper Crusted Filet Mignon with Wild Mushroom and Potato Croquette, Fried Green Tomato and Cognac Cream Sauce (43). From the sea we devoured a 2lb. Live Maine Lobster steamed in New England fashion (58), Ahi Tuna Seared Medium Rare with Sautéed Foie Gras (40) and a Sautéed Chilean Sea Bass with a Baby Fennel Purée, Wilted Spinach and Caramelized Citrus Fruit, Pink Grapefruit Emulsion, Candied Ginger and Pistachios (36). I was surprised to see the Chilean Sea bass on the menu given its widely noted status on the endangered species list.

A table full of culinary professionals can lead to dissention in the wine department, leaving the sommelier to suggest a Syrah (85) which complimented all our dinners.

Chef Tammy Alana, executive pastry chef for the company treated us to a dazzling selection of her favorites including her award-winning Peanut Butter and Jelle' frittes served in a martini glass. Chocolate Fondant with Caramelized Bananas and Creamy Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (12), Chocolate and Grand Marnier Soufflé (12) my five star choice, and Homemade Graham Cracker and Toasted Marshmallow Topped with a Warm Mocha Brownie and Served with Chilled Espresso Tiramisu (12). Chocolate isn't the only food group on the Andre'desert pyramid but they are the best of the best. The wonderful ambience and relaxed pace allowed us to enjoy watching the sun set into a backdrop of neon night lights. Be it large parties or romantic tables of two, Alize' is a must-do experience. Our bill was a very reasonable $125.00 per person including the cocktail, wine with dinner and tip.

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