Although he modestly says, “I’m just a good cook,” André Rochat has come a long way since he left his native France in 1965, arriving in Boston with nothing but $5, a bagful of knives and a head full of dreams.
Rochat ended up in Lake Tahoe, where he helped open Kings Castle (now the Hyatt Regency). In 1971 he followed a woman to Sin City. “The lady left,” he jokes. Rochat stayed. Now he has two award-winning restaurants there: his AAA Four Diamond restaurant Andre’s at the Monte Carlo and Alizé, located on the top floor of the Palms.
Featuring Las Vegas’ only cigar lounge inside a restaurant and one of the largest cognac and Armagnac collections in the country, Andre’s Restaurant & Lounge offers three private dining rooms that can accommodate up to 125 guests.
Meeting planners can select from one of three seasonal prix fixe menus at various price points, each which gives guests their choice of one of several mouth-watering entrées.
Unlike some celebrity chef restaurants, Rochat is usually on the premises giving his personal stamp of approval to each plate before it leaves the kitchen. “[The celebrity chef trend] is good in that it brought a lot of new talent to Las Vegas, a lot of new menus and venues, but it’s bad in that it’s usually only a name,” Rochat notes.
Despite the haute French fare and impressive collection of wine and spirits at Andre’s, (including cognac from the private collection of Jacques Hardy that dates back to 1777), Rochat says his eponymous restaurant is far from snooty.
“I don’t want people to be afraid that, since we’re a French restaurant, we have our nose in the air,” he says. “We’re very down to earth. Our prices are quite reasonable. We’re not any more expensive than a steakhouse and we also have some of the best steak in town.”