Robb Report Nov ’09: Last Bastion of Smoke
Last Bastion of Smoke
The Cigar Lounge at Andre’s Restaurant
THREE YEARS AGO, the state of Nevada dealt Las Vegas what many consider to be a losing hand. The Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act outlawed smoking in restaurants, and profits from tableside sales or Cognacs and cigars have since dissipated with the smoke. Gone is the pleasure of an after-dinner robust over a sniffer of Hennessy Paradis—except, that is, at the one Las Vegas eatery that carries on the ritual legally.
Andre’s Restaurant & Lounge, the recently remodeled Michelin one-star establishment at the Monte Carlo Resort & Casino, has preserved the tradition of the postprandial smoke in its upstairs Cigar Lounge. Here, proprietor and chef André Rochat maintains a separate ventilation-and-air-filtration system, allowing for discrete atmospheres in his smoker’s sanctuary and downstairs restaurant. After dinner, patrons may adjourn to this inviting space, which is accessible by private elevator or an inconspicuous winding stairway. Rochat has stocked the built-in humidor and bar with as much careful consideration and attention to detail as he lavishes on his menus. Behind the humidor’s double glass doors is a collection of more than 40 different types of premium cigars, including such hand-rolled treasures as Fuente Fuente OpusX, Ashton VSG, and the Padrón 6000 maduro. Knowledgeable staff provide cigar service with cedar spills.
The bar offers rum and Armagnac pairings with selected smokes, and customized cigar pairings with Cognac or port can be arranged. Just outside the lounge’s entrance, Rochat’s cellar proffers an assortment or uncommon sipping experiences. The Cognac list alone subsumes nine pages of the menu and contains the largest selection of Hardy Cognacs outside the family’s collection, including one of the last four bottles of Hardy Vintage Réserve 1777 in the world. (Benedict Hardy, granddaughter of the Cognac house’s founder, Antoine Hardy, owns the other three.) Vintage ports begin with the 1966 Sandeman and the oldest Madeira on hand. More than 130 Cognacs and 21 ports are available by glass.
The terrace, situated next to the Cigar Lounge, has seating with a view of Rochat’s 1,900-bottle wine cellar; of course, smoking is not permitted at these dining tables. However, after dessert, guests need only take a few steps to reach one of the rarest rarities to be found at any indoor dining establishment on the Strip: an ashtray.
—RICHARD CARLTON HACKER
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