“P” Is For Pretentious

The worst French food on The Strip?

Mon dieu! Or better yet, Quel horreur!

The Payard Patisserie & Bistro at Caesar’s Palace might look French, but the Lamb Shank is about as far from a gigot as Clark County is from the Normandy. Was it pre-cooked and forgotten in a freezer Mid-Atlantic? Did some vampire wander in off the Strip and suck out all the taste? And what about the accompanying quince? It conjured apple mush from school cafeterias of yore, proving that once the flavor’s gone, the grim fact of texture is the only thing left to ruminate.

The salade de chèvre chaud wasn’t much better, though its gustatory affronteries were of a different order. Imagine my surprise when the cheese had reversed roles with the bread: instead of a thick round of goat cheese kissed by the broiler on a thin slice of buttered toast, I was served a sort of melted goat-cheese spread lumped on a brick of bread.

Even the salad itself—hold the fruit flavor, please—was drowning in a thick and creamy sauce. No vegetable taste was allowed to fight its way to the surface, let alone come up for air.

I would, at this point, discuss the wines, but there were no French wines. Given my disappointment on various fronts, I didn’t have the courage to try the desserts. They looked like proper French pastries though, judging from the pretty colored photographs on the menu. And that’s why most people go to Payard’s—for their desert take-out.

Luckily, they usually steer clear of the bistro….


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