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Southwest Buffet

The Buffet at Bellagio

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Restaurants & Bars

The Buffet at Bellagio

BMAK | Nov 4, 2005 10:10 AM

The line for the buffet was reasonably short – about 30 minutes to pay and another 15 to be seated. I’ve heard much worse stories of 2+ hour lines just to get in. The service was excellent; the waiter was prompt and friendly, but not overbearing or in the way. My first trip to the buffet, as always, included a long scan through the spread before choosing my first round. As I’m not much for seafood, the first trip consisted of prime rib, leg of lamb, sautéed green beans, and garlic pesto mashed potatoes. The prime rib was clearly the highlight of the plate, at least for me. It was cooked perfectly and melted in the mouth. The spice rub was a great accompaniment to the dish but did not overwhelm the flavor of the meat. The lamb, on the other hand, was cooked perfectly well, but did nothing for me in terms of flavor. The green beans were slightly undercooked (definitely better than overcooked anyway) but flavorful. The pesto with mashed potatoes was a beautiful combination, though I did not finish them – primarily because I wanted to save room for more food.

The second plate was much smaller. I tried two varieties of salmon, swordfish, and salmon sashimi. The swordfish was acceptable – good fish with a nice teriyaki accent from the asian section of the buffet. The two cooked varieties of salmon left much to be desired. They were mostly flavorless and very much overcooked. It would have been a much better use of my appetite to have more sushi instead. I have only recently discovered a taste for sushi, so I haven’t yet developed too strong of a palate for it; nonetheless, this was very good to my taste. It was the clear winner from my second plate.

On my third round, I hit the salad bar. The selection was not great. I have a strong liking for Caesar salad, so I went with the romaine hearts, Caesar dressing, croutons and parmesan. The dressing was very tasty – thick and very robust in flavor. The croutons were delicious as well, flavorful and with a very nice crunch. In addition to the salad, I sampled the cheeses. It suffices to say that I took no more than 1 bite of each of the cheeses. I believe I could find better cheese at the average supermarket for under $5 a pound.

Lastly, my dessert trip. Of all of the courses, this was by far, my favorite. I started out with a small piece of rich, dark chocolate cake, and a plate with two small tortes – one fruit, one chocolate. These were all delicious. Although the cake was a little dry on the outside portion, the inside was very rich and very dark – just the way I like it. The chocolate torte was equally tasty, dark and rich. The fruit was a nice contrast to the deep richness of the chocolate, sweet, but not too unnaturally so. On this trip I also had a small portion of crème brulee. It was done beautifully. I can’t deny that it was my favorite of the desserts, as I had to go back for two more of the small portions.

Despite the highlights of the meal, on the whole, I was rather disappointed. After reading rave reviews of this place on chowhound, I was expecting better. It was not worth the $27 plus tax and tip and I will not be returning.

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