That name alone, associated with any restaurant, instantly brings respect and credibility. Chef Alain Ducasse is the second most decorated Michelin starred chef in the world with his 21 Michelin stars (only Joel Robuchon has more – 25 stars). I can personally attest to the quality of his art. We had an exquisite dinner at Alain Ducasse in London back in June 2015. It was beautiful, memorable, and all around flawless.
Alain Ducasse only has two restaurants in the U.S.: Benoit in New York City and the newly opened (in 2015) Rivea and Skyfall Lounge at the top floor of the Delano (formerly THE Hotel at Mandalay Bay) in Las Vegas.
We decided to treat a friend for dinner here, after she graciously offered to let us stay at her house for the weekend in Vegas (thanks Emily!).
The space at Rivea is absolutely stunning, with hundreds of glass bubbles surrounding diners in the main dining space.
The Skyfall Lounge is dramatic too, with a huge, spaceship-like orb hovering over the guests.
The outdoor deck holds breathtaking views of the city.
The name Rivea is a play off of the word “Riviera.” The wine list is influenced by the Loire Valley of Southern France, the wine region of Northern Italy, and the Central California coast, California’s “riviera.”
The food is influenced by the regions surrounding the French and Italian rivieras, most notably Provence and Italy. Fresh produce comes from California, yet the cuisine leans Mediterranean. There are many small plates on the menu, as well as pastas and a few larger entree-sized portions.
We started with traditional Italian breadsticks, which came with a delicious olive anchovy Parmesan dipping sauce.
Our first small plate was a Tomato & Basil Tigelle ($8). Tigelle is an ancient Italian flatbread that served as the perfect “pocket” in which to stuff roasted tomatoes, a thin slice of cheese, and fresh basil.
I loved the Roasted Panisse ($6), a generous portion of crispy fried chickpea flatbread which had tons of flavor. It sort of reminded me of a flattened falafel chip (yum!).
Another small plate we tried was the Octopus Salad ($12), which also included coco beans and confit sweet bell peppers in a mix of Mediterranean flavors.
Provencal Caponata ($10), which consisted of roasted eggplant, olives, capers, and pine nuts was recommended by the server, but it was our least favorite. It was very vinegary and too salty for my tastes.
On the other hand, the Potato Gnocchi ($12) was divine. Just imagine – soft, pillowy gnocchi tossed in butter with fresh black truffles. It was simple yet truly excellent.
We also enjoyed a Linguini with Butter and Black Périgord Truffles, which brought back memories of our recent trip to France and Italy (oh truffles, how I miss you!).
For my main dish, I ordered the Line-Caught Striped Bass, which came served with a minestrone reduction ($44). It was a solid dish. The flavors were enjoyable, and overall the dish was well executed.
My friend got the Roasted Duck Breast ($38), which came with roasted turnips in a bigarade (bitter orange) sauce. It was delicious, but the portion size was a bit small. My friend still felt a bit hungry after finishing her main dish, which only had three slices of duck breast (a tad expensive for $38!).
My favorite main dish was actually a special that day, a Pepper – Encrusted Bison Filet Mignon, which Bryan ordered. They did a phenomenal job of cooking the meat a beautiful medium rare. It was soft and tender yet also very flavorful and meaty. It was a pleasure to eat.
Finally for dessert, we couldn’t resist ordering the Zuccotto, a huge chocolate, hazelnut, semi-freddo, cream filled cake made with brandy that serves three to four people ($28).
This is just to show you how big it is . . . almost half the size of Bryan’s head!
The Zuccotto was delicious. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too sweet at all, and I found myself coming back for more of that delicious chocolatey, hazelnut, semi-freddo cream filled dessert. We couldn’t finish it, but brought it back home for a lovely dessert the following day (it keeps quite well since it’s a cold dessert).
It was a great dinner. We had stunning views of the Vegas below, right outside our window. The service was good, and we really enjoyed the food. The most memorable dish for me was, by far, the bison (which is surprising because I typically don’t love red meat). I really enjoyed some of the appetizers as well, like the chickpea crisps and truffle dishes.
In general, the quality is very good here, and the prices are on par with other nice restaurants on the Strip (note that some portions may be a bit small). I bet during great weather, it would be really fun to sit out on that rooftop patio!
And that ends the Vegas series! Don’t worry, I’ll be traveling to Vegas again soon, and plan on starting another series in a couple months. Stay tuned!
Rivea Alain Ducasse
Delano Las Vegas
3950 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Tel. +1 (702) 632 9500