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2012 year in review - buffet tripping

Discussion in 'Restaurants & Buffets' started by chef, Dec 26, 2012.

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  1. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

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    For what's its worth:

    I know this sounds like a broken record, but I’m still going with Wynn and Bellagio as the best* buffets in town.
    Yes, I agree, the Bellagio is beginning to look and act tired. However, the overall quality is still better than anything on the Strip and also ahead of the elite off-Strip joint, the M.
    The Wynn remains somewhat progressive in their offerings and its presentation is much more 21st century than the Bellagio.
    The only minor complaint is over-seasoned/salted/sauced items at both places. An hour or two later, I’m slaked with thirst, especially after doing the Wynn.
    The quality of crab legs on Vegas buffets continues to erode, but at least the Wynn and Bellagio has adequate size and will heat them for you. When Wynn has the large pre-split kings out, no place is better.
    For best value play on the Strip, the nod goes to the Bellagio. Show up at 3:00 and watch “Time to Say Goodbye” at the fountains and then head directly into the buffet to beat the 3:30 lunch/dinner cutoff. For $20 lunch price, you’ll actually be getting the dinner buffet.
    Speaking of values, my top 2012 value play for all of Vegas buffets is the Palms lunch for $7.99 (w/players card). This is one of the most underrated buffets in town and is a casual and laid back place to dine.
    The real selling points, though, is the chow – four different curries, a Lebanese (Maloof’s nationality) section similar to the middle-eastern spread at PH, usually a moist (a rarity on Vegas buffets) piece of fish, a small carving station, adequate Chinese, and a variety of hot sides, fresh fruits, salads and breads on par with most Strip places.
    As an organization, Stations continues to the No. 1 value destination. They really lowered their prices this past year. With the club card, you can eat at the lower-echelon places for $7.99 at dinner and $13.99 at RR and GVR.
    A few weeks ago, we even had a very good breakfast at Palace Station on a Saturday for $4.99. Compared to the $18.99 PH breakfast we had a few days later, we preferred Palace.
    However, I felt Sante Fe Station (which was always one of my darkhorse faves) and Sunset were slipping a bit. If you like chili and Tex-Mex, no better place than Texas Station. Our strategy is ignore all other items and go that route. It’s a fun eat.
    Getting back to the Strip, was very impressed with the Mirage and Paris. The eclectic Mirage may not be for everybody, but I love it. It’s lighter fare than Wynn and Bellagio and they have a good handle on seafood prep.
    Got an unexpected surprise after making a positive comment to the floor manager on how well-run the dining room was – she wrote up two buffets comps for a future visit. Best freebie of 2012.
    Some people say Paris has gone downhill. I disagree. I’m also one of those people who don’t get excited about thei breakfast. I go for lunch and appreciate the effort they make in having something other than standard Chinese, Mexican, BBQ, etc.
    Over the years, I’ve done most other Strip buffets, but generally avoid them because the value/price ratio isn’t up to snuff.
    Other than the aforementioned, the only other Strip buffets I tried in 2012 were Harrahs (twice) and the Riv.
    With a 2-1 coupon or even $5 off, Harrahs is a good deal for stopping in before 3:00 dinner and paying the lunch rate. However, they may have lost me as a customer because they recently stopped serving warm crab legs and the cold ones they offer are small and poor quality.
    Before I get badmouthed about eating at the Riv, allow me to explain. We were staying across the street at the LVH and wanted something close by and simple the night before running the marathon. With a twofer, the whole deal was palatable, though quite depressing.
    I actually think it is a toss up between the IP and Riv as worst buffet on the Strip, with Circus Circus also a candidate.
    Other random notes:
    We do Rio every year and it seems to be holding its own. No complaints about it; in fact. I thought it to be a tad improved from last year.
    The biggest surprise we encountered was at all places – Arizona’s Charlies on Decatur. By default we ended up their for lunch one day and were pleasantly met by prime rib, chili rellenos, fresh clams casino and a bunch of other stuff we never expected to see at a locals operation.
    Downtown buffets continue to do little to excite me and 2012 was no different. I know people get jacked up about MSS, but I don’t get it. Same with GN and Fremont. They are handy, though, and with the FSE coupon sheet, it’s a shame not to solicit MSS and Fremont.
    Did you know that Terribles is now offering an international buffet and one can eat there for as low as $3.99 for breakfast. I eyeballed it on the first day of its re-opening this month and wasn’t sure what to make of it.
    Finally, the big news of the year was the opening of the Bacchanal at Caesars. I did not have a chance to eat there, but did a walk-through earlier this month. Looking forward to knocking this off the buffet bucket list on an upcoming February visit.
    I will very curious to see how it stacks up against Wynn and Bellagio and have a feeling it will surpass them. There is certainly a different concept behind it.
    Will report back later. Hopefully, the price won’t be further jacked up. $50 for weekend dinner is steep and $45 at weekdays isn’t much of a bargain either.
    Another buffet visit in February will be to check at the Aria, after its remodel. As a hotel and casino, the Aria is starting to gain some traction and perhaps the buffet is on the same track.

    *haven’t tried Bacchanal yet
     
  2. JWBlue

    JWBlue VIP Whale

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    I would like to hear what chef has to say about the Aria buffet.
     
  3. SBTB

    SBTB Tourist

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    Last week we ate at Wicked Spoon, Bellagio and Bacchanal. ID have to say Wicked Spoon was by far the best to us. There were a number of times we bit in to something and looked at each other and said wow. We didn't have any wow moments at Bellagio or Bacchanal.

    I wish I would have known they would heat the crab legs at Bellagio. I had no idea and they were all but frozen.
     
  4. Eldon

    Eldon Low-Roller

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    My wife and I have done Sterling Brunch, Wicked Spoon, Mirage, Caesars Bacchanal, Bellagio and Wynn. We prefer Wicked Spoon unless we have 241's for Sterling.

    We also had several wow moments at WS. It's also super easy to enter from the SDX.
     
  5. bratkar

    bratkar Low-Roller

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    Not being a buffet person at all, last week seemed to be a week of buffets for us. We ate a The M Resort, Wynn (twice, once for early lunch and once for dinner, both comped for the slot tourney), and South Point.
    None were for breakfast.
    I was pretty impressed with The M Resort and really enjoyed the selection.
    Wynn of course knocked my socks off, impressed my husand just for the fact they had DEER at one of the carving stations for dinner. I was NOT impressed with the crab legs there. I'm not much for them already split, just seems like MORE work for less crab meat. Desserts were amazing. I agree about the salt, I hardly ever salt anything and I was dreaming of water for two days after eating at Wynn.
    South Point is pretty basic and gets the job done for a lower level one, My husband loves it, it's simple.
    There is nothing about being a FOODIE in my husband, give him beer and pizza and he's a happy man. (doesnt even have to be good pizza) Me on the other hand can be a total food snob at times. But now that I've gotten him to at least try the Wynn and The M Resort buffet, I'm hoping the next trip out to Vegas I can talk him into Wicked Spoon.

    Seems we've both learned not to over eat at a buffet and both did well to keep the over eating at bay.
     
  6. zamboni

    zamboni VIP Whale

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    If you go to Bachannal, I highly recommend the $10 front of the line upgrade, unless standing in lines is your thing.
     
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  7. Kimsa70

    Kimsa70 High-Roller

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    I'll be checking out the Aria buffet in February, too. I got an offer from them for 3 comp nights that includes 2 comped buffets, A DAY! Not sure I can eat that much, but I'm sure gonna try.:cheers:
     
  8. JWBlue

    JWBlue VIP Whale

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    A few years ago, we stayed at the MGM Grand and we were comped 3 buffets a day.

    We at at the buffet every day, for every meal, for seven straight days.

    Some of our friends thought we were crazy? Why? It was free decent food.
     
  9. rhino29

    rhino29 Tourist

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    Pretty sure I read somewhere that The Palms had enticed the buffet guy from M to revamp their buffet. He's certainly done a good job

    I reckon you'll love Bacchanal
     
  10. Louton25

    Louton25 Tourist

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    Absolute worst buffet I've managed to find on the strip is at the Flamingo. Had the misfortune of dining there on Thanksgiving.
    TERRIBLE!
    May well have ruined the excitement that comes along with Thanksgiving dinner for many years to come.
     
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