Dear Jeffrey Chodorow
Re: Mix, Las Vegas
February 22nd 2007
Dear Jeffrey Chodorow
A couple of days ago I watched the story unfold about you paying an estimated $40,000 for an Ad in the New York Times denouncing Frank Bruni's damning review of your new restaurant, Kobe Club. I see you are a man who believes the restaurateur should have the chance to publicly respond to the critic, in which case I hope you might understand that your paying customers deserve an equally public forum too.
At the end of last year I went to Las Vegas where I visited your restaurant, Mix. I could not have been more excited at the promise of this glamorous experience when I walked through the stunning bar with its incomparable vista of the strip into the futuristic white room where we sat down to eat.
Alain Ducasse's menu did not immediately appeal to me. I had difficulty choosing, not because there were too many options that made me curious, but because there were too few. Eventually I settled on a Cauliflower Soup, Wild Mushrooms and croutons ($21) which arrived with much pomp and ceremony. A deep white bowl bearing vegetables and croutons was placed in front of me by one server as a broth was ostentatiously poured from a spouted silver pot by another. After the theatrical wait staff had had bowed and made their exit I dug in my spoon. Waaah! Save an accidental gulp of sea water, this was the single most salty thing I have ever tried not to swallow. For the next ten or so minutes I sat, miserable, unsatisfied and peckish as my dining partner finished his Tender Potato Gnocci, fresh chanterelle and asparagus ($27). His was too salty, too, but not quite so much as to be inedible, like my dish, and as he was very hungry he suffered through it. No one should have to suffer through a small dish they are soon to pay $27 for.
After what seemed like eons, and after the Gnocchi were quite finished, our Waiter eventually noticed my predicament and asked if there was a problem. "The soup", I explained, "is so salty I can't eat it". My dining partner mentioned his dish had been too salty, too. The waiter made an apology and hurried my bowl off to the kitchen for its post mortem. When he came back, he had good news. He explained that the chef had tasted the soup and that I was quite right. Apparently my complaint caused them to discover that an entire vat of stock had been spoilt and since the stock was used in so many of their dishes apparently I had saved them from further embarrassment. "The chef will look after you", our waiter promised.
At this stage I will fast forward through our main courses. The Crispy Thai Snapper, fried rice, soy glaze ($39) and the Beef Filet Mignon, stuffed Piquillo, BBQ Marmalade, Pomme Pont-Neuf ($55) were decent enough but neither were as memorable or as satisfying as the perfect side dish of Elbow Pasta, Ham, Gruyere Cheese ($11).
What I really want to discuss with you, Mr Chodorow, is the notion of your chef 'looking after me' as a thank you for having helped avert a disaster in the kitchen by pointing out the error of their over salting. Instead of allowing me to choose my own dessert, or even giving us the opportunity to have a dessert each, the paltry way in which the chef chose to 'look after me' was by presenting us with one twelve dollar dessert of his choice to share. I was gutted. From the entire menu, the one item that had been causing my mouth to water at the future thought of enjoying it was the Coconut Ice Cream Lollipop with Caramel Sauce, seconded by a Maple Syrup Napoleon. I wanted and would have tried both. But oh, no, no, no. I was not permitted to have any
This review was a first impression.