Pretty much since my first trip to Vegas, dining at Mom Ami Gabi has been on my must-do list. I’ve routinely talked about going there for this special occasion or that special occasion, but some other plan always ended up panning out instead. I personally love French food and the chance to possibly enjoy it while sitting outside watching the Bellagio fountains was a dream. I was able to have this dream come true a few weeks ago when our friend Melanie was in town for work, also during the same week as her birthday.
Our original plan was to have drinks and appetizers and move on to another place for dinner and/or dessert. I made a reservation on OpenTable.com and we arrived around 5:45 on a Tuesday. At that time, it was relatively empty and a wait for a table outside was only 30 minutes so we decided to grab drinks at the bar. Not even five minutes later, as my drink was finished being poured, our buzzer buzzed and we were on our way outside! The weather was perfect and we had a good view of the fountains. I was a happy girl!
For our wine selections, I personally wanted to go with something I haven’t had before. I ordered the 2008 Sancerre from Domaine Roger Moreux which the menu described as a white with expansive aromas of melon and citrus fruits. At first, it was a tad too sour for me, but as it warmed up it really was fruity and crisp. The Husband ordered the 2009 Hob Nob Pinot Noir which he loved. The menu described it has a medium-bodied red with soft tannins and a smooth, rich texture.
The patio is packed to the brim with tables and red umbrellas. We felt quite lucky to get a table out there.
As we perused the menu, we were brought a baguette, some butter, and a slaw (I believe it had radish and fennel among other things, but that’s a guess from the picture). Knowing that we were ordering an appetizer that would go wonderfully with the baguette, we held off until it arrived.
The appetizer we went with was the Baked Cheese. It was AMAZING – yum! The cheese was warm and gooey and blended well with the tomato sauce. Our only complaint is that there wasn’t enough bread to soak it up with (that piece of bread on the plate was all that was given and our mini baguette was quickly gone as well).
After enjoying this appetizer, the gorgeous weather, and the views of the Strip and Bellagio fountains, we had a discussion about whether to stay for dinner or head somewhere else. Based on our mouths watering at the menu, the gorgeous weather, and our luck at being outside we decided to stay And I immediately ordered a French Onion Soup – one of my favorites.
Melanie and the Husband decided to share two other appetizers: the Warm Brie which came with black pepper honey, hazelnuts, and bread…
…and the Hand Cut-Gufrette Potato Chips with artichoke dipping sauce. Both were good, but the Husband was thrown off with the chips at first as they were cold. However, they were specificially on the “cold hors d’oeuvres” portion of the menu. They were good!
We also ordered a bottle of the Nob Hill instead of a handful of more glasses. I joined them on this round.
My only shot of the fountains…
All three of us went with Steak Frites and were blown away by our orders. Now, I’ve been to many French restaurants, both in the U.S. and in France, and in my memory, I’ve never enjoyed this dish more. My order was the Steak Bernaise which simply came with a Bernaise sauce on the side. You probably can’t tell from the picture, but the frites were cut thinly and tended to curl around themselves. They were a perfect level of crispy while the meat was perfectly tender and flavorful. A definite must have again!
The Husband ordered the Steak Roquefort which had a blue cheese sauce in the middle of the dish. Other than that, it was the same as my dish.
Because it was her birthday, Melanie went all out and got the Filet Mignon which was highly recommended by our server. And now, it’s highly recommend by Melanie!
As the evening wore on, and we saw how busy the restaurant was, we wrapped up to head out for a walk along the Strip. We were full with happy tummies and slightly tipsy heads. We’d gone in with reasonable expectations and were blown away by the food and atmosphere. There’s definitely a reason that it’s listed as Number 1 on Las Vegas’s Urbanspoon. When we left though we were amazed to see how crowded it was. Our recommendation to all of you is to get there early! Even with reservations, at 8pm on a Tuesday it appeared to be at least an hour wait.
One of the things that was interesting to watch while we dined was this man dressed and painted in white. He posed with folks for money and since the Husband was entertained we decided to tip him. They got a “complimentary” photo out of it.
We then continued on up the Strip to the Venetian and watched the Mirage volcano show (see the fire/lava in the background?) (which I mistakenly said originally was at TI – oops! you’d expect to see a volcano at an island, though, right? )before heading back south for some dessert at the Sugar Factory.
Overall, it was a great evening celebrating our good friend’s birthday. I’m glad to have been able to check Mon Ami Gabi off my list and look forward to dining there again, either here or back “home” in DC one day.
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