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I told you that I would share with you about our Amazing dining experience at Mix on the top of Delano Hotel (Mandalay Bay property) in Las Vegas last Saturday night. Michelle and I had dined there previously and had a wonderful time. I emailed the Assistant General Manager, Olivier de Roany (whom we did not meet then) telling him that we enjoyed our experience. He promptly emailed me back asking me to inform him of the next time we’d like to come in because he would like to ‘host’ us. Not really sure what that meant but I assured him that we would.
In the meantime-about 3 months ago, I asked Olivier if he’d be willing to be interviewed for my book-GETTING TO WOW! First Class Restaurant Service. He said yes and so I did. Since that time-of hearing him describe his philosophy of what exceptional hospitality/restaurant service was all about, I had really been looking forward to the next opportunity for us to dine at Mix again. And so, with Michelle’s friend Lori visiting Vegas for her birthday-last weekend-it seemed like the perfect time to call Olivier and tell him we’d like to take him up on his invitation.
SETTING THE TONE “Every one knows that first impressions are key. The first 5 minutes are the most crucial in setting the tone for the entire dining experience.” Olivier De Roany
From the moment we checked in at the Host stand in front of the elevator-when the Hostess told us that we were “All Set” (even though I wasn’t sure what that meant) I will say it was the beginning of “GETTING TO WOW! MIX Style. Having just enjoyed a cocktail at RX Boiler Room-after taking the elevator to the 35th floor-the 3 of us decided a stop at the restroom would be in order. Why oh why-tmi-you say? Well, the reason I tell you this is that as we exited the restrooms and walked into the Mix Lounge (which one has to pass through to get to Mix Restaurant) there was Olivier standing in Mix Lounge talking with one of the hostesses. He greeted us with a sincere cheerfulness. Was he purposely there waiting there for us? Did the hostesses downstairs radio up to him to tell him that we were on our way up? I can’t say. All I know is that as Olivier escorted us into the dining room-every single staff member that we passed by smiled at us and gave some version of a cheerful “Hello or Welcome”. What a friendly staff I thought.
Upon entering the dining room, Olivier told us that he has “a nice table prepared for us”. I don’t know if there’s such a thing as a ‘not nice table’ in Mix. To say that Mix is an absolutely beautiful dining room is a hyperbolic understatement. It is gorgeous. With a stunning all-white decor- and a hand blown white bubble Murano glass chandelier as the hanging centerpiece it almost feels like one is inside a glass of champagne. Not a bad feeling to have.
Even though the entire dining room is beautiful, when we saw where we were being seated-(in one of only 3 pods in the entire place) we realized that-yes-Olivier did have “a nice table prepared for us”. We really started to feel special. The pod that we were seated at had a fantastic view of the Las Vegas Strip. Within seconds of being seated we were greeted by Scott-our server and Franco his assistant. While there were many others who assisted the team-these two gentlemen were the primary ones creating and executing this wonderful experience. Our dinner began with Scott offering us complimentary champagne from Alain Ducasse’ (the owner of Mix and a culinary legend) own private label. Or if we didn’t want champagne, Scott said he’d be happy to start our dinner with something else. “Yes, please bring on the champagne.” was our reply. We’re not even 5 minutes in and I know that this is going to be an Amazing dining experience.
Next, Scott gave us what I can only describe as guided tour of the menu. He so creatively described many of the dishes from the appetizers to the main entrees that he even almost made the duck sound delectable to me. Anyone who knows me knows that I only eat fish-no other animal protein. He carefully explained the lay out of the menu-one part was the traditional Alain Ducasse fare, another part a tasting menu and then the third section being a little more modern and contemporary versions.
Scott exhibited the perfect combination of professionalism but not stuffy and a truly friendly nature. There was no culinary question that stumped him and he made excellent suggestions for each of us. We all trusted his guidance and the three of us were all thoroughly impressed and happy with our dinner choices. But oh wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Within a few minutes of the champagne we were greeted by Matt George, the Sommelier. He has thousands of bottles of wine to order, maintain and educate the staff on. What a great responsibility. After ascertaining the palate and wine preferences of my wife-Michelle, Lori and myself, he easily guided us to a nice bottle of Tobin James Zinfandel. It was the perfect complement to each of our entrees. Again, with such a friendly and helpful demeanor, Matt was so pleasant and his presence added to our evening.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL
Next came a refreshing amuse bouche. What looked to me like butterscotch pudding turned out to be a “lobster salad” with chopped cucumber, lobster and a cantaloupe foam (espuma). This was our first bite of food and it was scrumptious. And it did what an amuse is supposed to do-tantalize and prime the palate or the appetite. What made it even more amazing to me-is that from our short conversation when we were discussing the menu-I mentioned to Scott-I don’t eat meat and I really prefer to stay away from dairy-he took note and paid attention to details. So, when this amuse, that clearly looked like it had cream in it was placed in front of me, I was so pleasantly surprised that indeed it did not have dairy. Scott was in tune with his guests and what my/our needs were.
For our appetizer-aside from the Champagne, we shared a wonderful crab salad. I can’t remember all the ingredients-I do remember it had gnocchi (potato dumplings) in it that were the lightest and fluffiest I had ever tasted. I highly recommend it.
Our entrees were excellent. My wife had one of her favorites-Roasted Duck. She orders it quite often when we dine out and Chef Bruno Riou did not disappoint. He prepares his Roasted Duck with radishes and turnips with a black olive sauce. Michelle absolutely loved it. She commented that she especially enjoyed that it was more salty and savory whereas most of the time Duck is usually prepared sweet. Scott recommended the Cod Brandade for Lori which was prepared with lemon and capers and cooked with a brown butter sauce. I think from the picture you can see that Lori was in Cod heaven. And me? I enjoy lobster. So the Roasted Maine Lobster “Au Curry” had my name on it. It was served with coconut basmati rice and a very mild curry or tikka masala type sauce. The flavors were perfect for me and there was so much lobster. Lobster tail, lobster claw, lobster meat everywhere. Yum. There seemed to be so much care in the preparation of each dish. (Note-the pictures do not do justice to how amazing each dish was)
“Tasting a dish should be memorable. If nothing remains in the memory of the guest, then I have made a mistake.” Chef Alain Ducasse
If I may say, Chef Ducasse, you gave us great memories-No mistakes here.
Scott and his team, Franco, Alex and others whose names I did not catch did such a fantastic job of working together. The serving of the dishes, the timing of courses, the explanation of dishes, the clearing and table manicuring-everything was spot on. And yes they actually crumbed our table. Thank you. The whole dinner was a seamless production from beginning to end. No cues missed. And every member of the team seemed to care about our experience. Also, we noticed Olivier, Sebastien (General Manager) and other management staff walking by periodically to observe our enjoyment of the evening. Franco, in the middle of dinner asked to see my phone because he said he was going to take a picture for us. Well he didn’t take a picture of us. Instead, he went and stood directly under the Murano glass bubble chandelier and took pictures of it for us. See picture at the top of the page. What a really cool picture. And what a thoughtful gesture. Thanks Franco. Oh and he also introduced us to General Manager Sebastien and to Chef Bruno as we were leaving.
We concluded our dinner with two surprises- a funky, foamy, delicious pina colada and a nice dessert from the kitchen to celebrate Lori’s birthday. I don’t even remember what it was-something with chocolate in it. (I rarely eat dessert).
There is so much more that I can say about Mix Restaurant and even Mix Lounge. Like the view from the bathroom-when you are seated. Ahem. You must check it out.
But I will end by saying this…Wow! From the greeting and seating and setting the tone to the exquisite food and the decor and the ambiance to the amazing hospitality extended to us-truly here’s GETTING TO WOW!-They’ve really got it- THE PERFECT MIX.
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GETTING TO WOW! First Class Restaurant Service. Please let us know in your comments that you are interested in
Thank you and Cheers!!
Christoff J. Weihman
Las Vegas, NV