Friday, May 9, 2014

Bakery Review: Bouchon Bakery, Las Vegas, NV

Bouchon Bakery - visited April 28, 2014
As is my norm when I'm traveling, I look up bakeries wherever I go in case there are any I want to visit like I did with Carlo's Bakery. When I was in Vegas a couple of weeks ago, I was beyond thrilled to discover there were several Bouchon bakeries precisely where we were already going: the Venetian, Palazzo and Grand Canal Shoppes. Bouchon is Thomas Keller's bakery, he of French Laundry fame. I'd never been to one but there are a line of Bouchon mixes sold at Williams Sonoma. They're very high end (meaning expensive) and I've given them as gifts to fellow bakers but I've never tried the real thing.

The Venetian boasts several locations for Bouchon and after much walking around, we finally found one of them, tucked away by the Venetian Theater. This one was more like a kiosk than an enclosed bakery but it still had a decent selection.
Thomas Keller is known for breads but my sweet tooth is known for more dessert-type, well, desserts. He's also known for aesthetically pleasing offerings of the finest ingredients and a high price tag. Having just come from Carlo's Bakery, I was incapable of sticker shock and, in comparison, Bouchon's prices were almost cheap.
I went with the "Oh Oh", a clever play on a Hoho: a cream-filled chocolate cake roll covered in ganache. I know I don't like cream-filled desserts but it was cute and I succumbed out of childhood nostalgia. Not that I was particularly crazy about hohos when I was a kid. I just remembered my parents never bought that stuff when I was little but I really, really wanted them to.

I also had to get the Bouchon since it was the namesake of the bakery. A bouchon is a small brownie baked in the shape of a small, compact cylinder. A friend had given me Thomas Keller's Bouchon baking book and I've been meaning to make that recipe. Now seemed like the perfect chance to try the real thing firsthand so when I do make the recipe myself, I know what to compare it to. Bonus that it was the cheapest thing there at $1.95, a steal I thought at the time.
The Bouchon
I didn't eat it until we go back to my sister's. Okay, I have to confess, I wasn't impressed. It was just a chewy, bite-size brownie. I'm not sure what I expected but it wasn't "hey, I can make this" and "what's the fuss all about?" Again, for a non-baker wanting to spend a couple of dollars, the bouchon is a viable choice. For me, with my jaded taste buds and brownie snobbery, it wasn't anything special. Sorry.
The Bouchon
I might've been better off trying more of the breads and pastry products. I bought my mom the raisin snail and she had it for breakfast the next morning. Both she and my sister thought it was good. I tried a small bite and it was nice and flaky. I'm not sure I would've been able to tell it apart from any other flaky pastry sold without Thomas Keller's name attached to it. I guess my expectations were just too high.
Raisin Snail
On the bright side, the Oh Oh was rather nice. Turns out I didn't care much for the chocolate covering but the cake roll inside was soft and moist and I didn't even mind the cream filling. You can tell Bouchon uses the good chocolate.

I'm glad I tried Bouchon Bakery but once again, I think either my expectations were too high or it was overrated or some combination of both. There's also the possibility that I've confirmed (again) that I really am a dessert snob.

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