It all begins with a ticket, an “é” ticket if you will. I was fortunate to book a seat at é to coincide with my trip to Las Vegas for a photo workshop. A week before my reservation, a gold ticket arrives in the mail admitting you to an evening of culinary delights. From there, the anticipation builds! (Warning, this post is long…)
Once you arrive, you are seated at a table in the front of Jaleo, Jose Andres larger restaurant inside the Cosmopolitan Resort. As you wait for the rest of the diners to arrive (é only seats 9 guests), centerpiece arrangements of black branches with flowers are placed into the middle of the table.
After the last guests arrived, you are informed that these branches are, in fact, the first bite of the evening! The branches are a rice cracker of sorts with edible flowers! After tasking the first dish, the 9 diners are escorted to a private room in the rear of Jaleo.
Your meal is prepared in the adjoining kitchen and plated in front of you by a staff of 6 chefs assisted by 2 additional staff who attend to beverages and plate changes. Molecular gastronomy heavily influences their riffs on traditional Spanish and Catalan dishes. For the next two plus hours, I was treated to no less than 22 dishes! But, to start is a warm towel wrapped around a bouquet garni of herbs served up in a ceramic hand that is molded from Chef Jose’s own hand as a personal welcome. The atmosphere is casual and the chefs are open to any questions throughout the meal. We were told the menu changes quarterly.
An edible sangria granite with liquid nitrogen frozen pearls of sour cherry, compressed watermelon, and mint. It was both delicious and a refreshing start to the journey.
A rose of beet and manchego cheese on a thin walnut raisin wafer dusted with beet powder.
A “stone” of idiazabal cheese half coated in a black glaze of jamon iberico fat and rosemary oil to resemble the black river rocks on which it is served. They warned us not to eat the all black ones…
Spanish Pizza Margarita
Individual “pizzas” made of a crispy cheese round topped with dabs of creamy San Simon cheese, freeze dried tomato, and micro basil.
Slices of truffle and strawberry with fois gras between two slices of apple meringue “bread”, a decadent play on a PB&J.
Pan Con Tomate
Air bread filled with tomato spuma and topped with a slice of jamon iberico. a liberal interpretation of the tomato bread of the Catalan tapas bars.
Literally a “shot” in Spanish, this version is a spherification of cava, a tiny cube of pear, and a mint leaf. A generous bubble that bursts in your mouth to offer a refreshing splash of flavor.
Uni & Lardo
Iberico lardo fried like a mini chicharron and paired with fresh uni. It is at once crunchy and luxurious.
Asparagus slices with Sasanian Royal Oseitra Caviar, liquid nitrogen frozen egg yolk, surrounded with escabeche air.
Txangurro a la Donostiarra
Dungeness crab with spanish soffrita, crab broth, and toasted panko flakes. As a lover of dungeness crab, this was a highlight of the meal!
Scallop carpaccio with truffle sauce and topped with truffle shavings.
Fois gras blended with burbot and served with nectarine slices and chicken jus.
Fluke over a chicken and pork picadillo.
A traditional Catalan steak dish, this was made from slices of New Zealand wagyu ribeye that was paraded before the diners before plating.
The dish traditionally pairs with mushroom and ours included chanterelles.
Cotton candy stuffed with fois gras and corn nuts!
Miel y Mato
Ricotta, honey gelee, brioche, and cheese snow.
Walnut cream, fresh cherry, walnut praline, liquid nitrogen frozen strawberry and cream, walnut milk shell.
Towers of flan with bitter caramel, orange syrup, and spanish snow.
Almond Tart and Cherry Bomb
The almond tart was intensely almond flavored and creamy. To eat the cherry bomb, you placed it into your mount and pulled the fuse out. It burst forth with a cherry liquid that was wonderful!
A frozen orange nougat, saffron chocolate (wow, that was good!), and a gin and tonic marshmallow.
The final dish was an interpretation of an After Eight mint. A bouquet of mint with dark chocolate leaves interspersed. A pair of tweezers was provided to harvest the chocolate leaves to be eaten with a mint leaf. A refreshing close to an unbelievable meal!