Fountains Brunch at Jasmine - http://endoedibles.com/?p=19575
Approximately 70 items sampled; tax+tip+coffee = $75.
Coming off a truly unexpected experience at Wicked Spoon just one week prior and with a long holiday weekend at my disposal it was with high hopes that I waltzed through the Bellagio conservatory en route to a meal nearly four years overdue on my expansive ‘to-do’ list – a Sunday afternoon at the upscale Cantonese restaurant Jasmine for “Fountains Brunch.” Considered by many to be one of the best buffets in the city and housed in a breathtaking room where floor-to-ceiling windows joyously exploit the twice-hourly water-dance outside it was to the left of the ornately decorated space that I found myself sat and with lightly roasted coffee adding $4.50 to the base $58 my meal began, a tableside pastry tower presented from my server whose interactions would otherwise prove perfunctory at best. Small in size but diverse in selections with steamer tables, chilled sections, prep-to-order, and a whole room of desserts it was with Asian options that I began and with sliced to order Peking Duck on warm bao the star of the show both dim sum and crab soup would show equally well while congee proved mealy and flavorless leading me to overlook the noodle station in favor of things more unique. Focused next on cold tables it was in exotic ingredients and iced shellfish that Jasmine hoped to justify its pricetag and although the King Crab was fine while foie gras pastry proved addicting the sushi, cheeses, charcuterie, and salads were rather pedestrian – a toothsome muesli better fitting as dessert a rare exception to the rule. Moving through more “American” selections including a decadent pot pie, two delicious benedicts, and casserole-style French Toast imbued with banana and Nutella while quickly discarding flaccid waffles and dried out breakfast breads it was finally in sweets that nearly everything excelled – a well culled selection from which I nearly sampled the gamut – a Jean Phillipe’s gelato station, perfect puffs of choux, and DIY fondue all receiving repeat visits with Asian pastries decidedly conspicuous in their absence. Undoubtedly a special space but maligned by service faux-pas necessitating requests for refills plus clean utensils suffice it to say that although ‘luxe’ in many ways a brunch at Jasmine does not come cheap and while some items shined none but the duck was on par with Wing-Lei’s Chinese New Year while neither service nor selection were equal to Wicked Spoon which rings in at nearly half the price after tax, tip, and drinks.