Bardot Brasserie & the Cocktails You Can Eat
Every Bastille Day, I faithfully weave something French into my agenda. Last year, Josh surprised me with a baguette and some cheeses. The year before he and I stuffed ourselves with crêpes. The year before that, I made Croque Madames. Yes, it is all food-centric, but if quality food tradition with loved ones isn’t a French thing, then I hereby surrender my Francophile card. Regardless, this Bastille Day would be slightly different. I’d be spending it in Las Vegas, an oasis for fine dining, and even more so, a diamond mine for French fare. The opportunities for a great French meal extend toward infinity, which made compiling a list of places to try a downright nightmare. Six days and approximately twenty restaurants. Yet, after many hours of deliberation, menu comparison, and hair-pulling, I found one deserving of my precious limited time: Bardot Brasserie.
Located in the Aria, Bardot Brasserie is the child of renowned chef, Michael Mina, who boasts several other famed restaurants throughout the United States. Offering a slightly modernized interpretation of French brasserie classics, such Coquilles St. Jacques and Duck Wings À L’Orange, Bardot is self-described as a ”nod to Hemingway’s Paris.” Sold. I knew I had to experience it for myself as a Bastille Day treat. If I can’t be at the Eiffel Tower to watch the fireworks live, then I’m at least going to hunker somewhere, have some escargot, and watch the festivities on the internet.
Did I experience a moveable feast at Bardot Brasserie? No. Not in the conventional sense. A happy discovery was made, and it did not involve escargot this time around. Unbeknownst to me, the restaurant was celebrating Bastille Day itself with festive decorations and authentic French music, which included an accordion. Does it get any better than an accordion? I would generally say no, but…
It got better.
As a special Bastille Day guest, Bardot Brasserie hosted renowned Los Angeles cocktail chef, Matthew Biancaniello, who created a cocktail menu specific to the celebration based on his new book, Eat Your Drink: Culinary Cocktails. Biancaniello’s farm-to-glass philosophy pushes the flavor boundaries with unusual organic ingredient combinations that deeply arouse the senses:
- Roquette: Tanqueray 10 Gin, Lime, Agave, Wild Arugula
- The Last Tango: Bulldog Gin, Aged Balsamic, Strawberries, Wheatgrass-infused Saint Germain Foam
- Smoked Tomato: Smoked Tomato-infused Cap Rock Vodka, Cherry Tomatoes, Lovage, Ghost Pepper Salt
- Italian Greyhound: Aperol & Campari, Lime, Agave, Fresh Passion fruit
Generally, I rarely stray from a gin and tonic as a preferred cocktail. It’s simple. It’s refreshing. C’est parfait! However, when an exceptional drink presents itself, I feel morally obligated to oblige. Many of these concoctions had a complicated and savory flavor. The Roquette offered peppery notes from the arugula, which took a few sips to genuinely appreciate. The subtle aroma from the cornflowers gifted the faintest hint of sweetness. It was delightfully peculiar. My favorite was The Last Tango, because frankly I never thought I would enjoy drinking balsamic. Although, since that drink is gin-based, it had to be destined for greatness.
My time at Bardot Brasserie was spent ‘eating’ drinks, which blossomed a new appreciation for mixology. I couldn’t help but feel completely French sitting at the bar, engaging in great conversation, and savoring a few exquisite cocktails that were artful and meticulously crafted. The servers were passionate in making recommendations and explaining their creations. Biancaniello himself took time to chat with guests to ensure that the beverages were perfect. The French have profound respect for gastronomy and the camaraderie it encourages among friends and families. Having that ideology in mind as I sipped on these intricate concoctions, I realized the experience was indeed the perfect way to celebrate a French national holiday.
I eagerly await my next trip to Bardot Brasserie. Cheers! Santé!
À la prochaine!