I have been going to Marché Bacchus for years and I decided to finally write a review. I enjoyed the restaurant when it was owned by its founders, Agate and Gregoire, when I met the new owners, Jeff and Rhonda, interviewed their then-new (now departed to other climes) chef, Jean Paul Labadie, but through the years I have never written about my actual dining experiences there. I realized that when I read a couple of not-so-great reviews online and knew that they were the exception rather than the rule. The reviews were written by people who had had an unfortunate experience and who had broadcast their anomalous incident to the world.
My friend John Curtas of Eating Las Vegas fame told me in my early Vegas Wineaux blogging career, “don’t review a restaurant after only one visit.” Well, he’s a genuine restaurant critic with years of experience, and except for the occasional stellar or stinky incident, I have taken his advice to heart. I’m a wine person with interests in food, cooking, other adult beverages and less about restaurants. But I know what I like when I do patronize an establishment. While I rarely write about the mediocre, I always want people to know about the good, great, fun, and horrific experiences that I have. And just take it for what it’s worth – one person’s one-time experience.
I said all of that to say this: I’ve been going to Marché Bacchus for years (wait…didn’t I just write that? Oh well. Let’s call it emphasis) and love the place.
Those of you who have read this site know that one of my major pet peeves with restaurants is the extortion prices that they charge for wine. Now I’m not (necessarily) talking about the restaurants that have an actual wine program where the provenance of sometimes-rare wines has to be maintained. While it still irks me, I know that in more than a few of these restaurants, you’re not going to find these wines anywhere else – Aureole and B&B Ristorante come immediately to mind. These two restaurants have extensive wine lists and spend a lot of money to preserve sometimes-rare, sometimes-irreplaceable delicate wines. Whereas other places – I won’t mention names – charge like they’re the only ones who have wines they will permit you to purchase for too much money.
Marché Bacchus wine list is the restaurant. When you go there, you’ll see several long rows of wine, ranging from inexpensive Bordeaux from obscure chateaux to drool-worthy Sauternes. The best thing about this is that you’re able to choose your own wine- either from the wine boxes, the wine refrigerator, or the locked fridge with the “that’s how much?!?” wines. Or you can ask the Somm on duty for assistance in pairing a good wine with your meal. And whether you choose an obscure $15.00 Riesling or that $380.00 Chateauneuf-du-Pape, your corkage fee is ten bucks. Period. And the wine price is retail.
What does that ten bucks get you? Stellar table-side service from the very well-trained staff, glasses for each bottle of wine that you purchase, and a fabulous time. And you can afford to have more than one bottle of wine with your friends at dinner because the food is delicious and well-priced, too. Can’t say that about any of the equivalent restaurants on the Strip. And that’s why I will continue to call most restaurant wine prices extortion until somebody sits down and explains to me in detail why paying three times the retail of a mid-level wine is a good thing and will add to a satisfying dining experience.
After enjoying the wine tasting on Saturday, some friends and I stayed for lunch. Their wine tasting, by the way, is the best in town and they always taste – with actual tasting pours, so don’t expect to get a free buzz – great wines. As a Somm and Wine Specialist in training, it’s the one tasting that I will go out of my way to frequent.
We always have a blind tasting at these lunches and usually ask our waiter to pick out a wine for us, or we’ll ask the Somm. Our wines this week were 2011 Hermann Moser Grüner Veltliner, 2010 Petalos Bierzo (Spanish – tastes like a 70/30 Pinot Noir/Cab Sauv blend. Yummy), and 2010 Sans Liege The Offering (48% Grenache, 29% Syrah, 21% Mourvedre, 2% Viognier). Each wine was delicious and served blind as requested.
Gidget had the Soup du Jour which was a cold pea soup that she raved about. Joe had the burger (Wagyu) and side salad, and Tex had the Croque-monsieur, sans pain. I had the Plat du Jour which was chicken breasts on Fregula (a cous-cous like pasta), with a sauce of morel and oyster mushrooms and cipollini onions. I asked for extra bread in order to sop up the rest of the sauce since licking the plate would have been oh so gauche. The cost? Eighteen dollars. A steal.
For those of you who are locals and haven’t been to visit, well, you’re missing out. If you’re visiting Las Vegas and the costs of dining at the restaurants on the Strip scare you, then you must visit Marché Bacchus for the equivalent experience that will be kind to your wallet. The food is wonderful – in fact (how did I forget this?) - they have been awarded with several “Top Ten” mentions by top restaurant critics, their chefs have had accolades, the restaurant itself has been featured, etc. If you google Marché Bacchus, you’ll see that the little $$$$ indicating price is only $$ for Marché. Good to know if you want to eat very well on a budget.
So there you go. Take it from someone who has been there for all kinds of events- ranging from special Food Network events to receptions to lunch to wine club dinners – this is a great place to dine. You’ll experience the loveliness of the lakeside views and appreciate the fact that your wallet won’t whimper.