Eating out / Food / Friends / Las Vegas / travel / USA

The Penultimate Buffet

Ahhhh …. buffet food … buffet restaurants go hand in hand with hotels and casinos and it is no surprise that buffets in Vegas are rumoured to be legendary. My bestie Shirlz met us in Vegas to join in the ‘Naughty Forty Magical Mystery Tour’ and guided us down the Strip to Bacchanal Buffet in Caesars Palace. She believed it was probably the best buffet on the strip (and the largest) at this moment in time.

It wasn’t cheap at around US$40 per adult but it quite possibly had the largest selection of freshly prepared cuisine I have ever seen in a buffet or smorgasbord anywhere in the world.  Almost every style of cuisine was represented – Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Mexican, Indian, British, American, … fried, steamed, grilled, roasted … seafoods, meats, salads, veges, noodles, pasta, and a mind-boggling selection of desserts.

The sheer volume of food being produced by this single restaurant was phenomenal and surprisingly of a reasonable quality despite the mass production. I don’t believe anyone could possibly eat everything from each section of this buffet in one sitting (although scarily enough we did see several individuals giving it a good try!!).

For me, I strategically chose those dishes I particularly wanted to try while trying to leave enough room to also indulge in a few desserts. I skipped the Asian cuisine and instead tried some of the meats and seafoods, salads and Mexican. Is there such a thing as too much choice? I discovered there sure is. I struggled to choose food not because it looked disgusting but because there was so much variety to choose from!

Then I went to the dessert bar and my dilemma multiplied. The dessert area was larger than several of the little restaurants I frequent in Hong Kong (admittedly they only seat 20 people but still!) The selection was simply awesome. Artesian ice cream, pastries and cakes galore plus the traditional dessert buffet fare. Just looking at the delights in front of me I am sure I gained 5 kg!

There was a lot of great food and equally not so great. Not so much because of the cooking but purely I didn’t enjoy the taste on my palate. It was a fascinating experience both gastronomically and culturally. The freshly cooked meats were a real highlight for me. There was ample selection and a range of rare through to well done options to choose from. Similarly most of the seafood (except the chowder) were delicious. The fried food was ok, however I have to say I didn’t enjoy the onion rings (and admittedly I am not a huge fried food person in any case … but as frying is an art form in the US I HAD to try it). The tarts and artesian ice cream were divine. The disappointment for me was the red velvet cake. It lacked flavour, instead tasting heavily of the red colouring and oil, and the cream cheese filling did nothing to complement the flavours which I have to admit shocked me as I thought red velvet was an American classic.

People were as bemused watching me photograph my friends food and my food as I was watching them eat their plates piled to the sky with food. As a side note here I’ll just mention that photographing food is a national pastime in Hong Kong and how cruel would it be for me to talk about eating at a ginormous American buffet without indulging your occipital lobes with some of the delights we experienced?

I didn’t even get close to trying 1/4 of the food on display in either the savoury or dessert areas. Spoilt for choice is definitely how I would describe this place. All three of us rolled out of the restaurant over-stuffed, but content. I’m not a huge fan of buffets because of the over-eating component, however as a once off and a real Vegas experience it was well worth the pleasure and pain.

Key Lime Tart

We came, we saw, we ate and we admitted defeat but our palates got a delicious workout.

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