J. and I both realized we needed a vacation. But we were tired of shuttling back and forth between Phoenix and Orange County.
So, we decided to meet up in Las Vegas since it was dirt cheap to go to and we could save our money for some (hopefully) wonderful meals. We were able to snag cheap Southwest airfares and a killer deal at the Signature at MGM Grand and met up this past Saturday. After renting the car and being giddy about being in Las Vegas, we wanted to start our tour of Nevada’s largest city in a typical Vegas way: by tackling a buffet.
We had discussed our options and we narrowed it down to two options: Wynn or Bellagio. Since we both love the look and feel of the Bellagio, we headed there and looked like we owned the place as we stepped out of our Mazda G6 at the valet station and strutted into the main reception area sporting Hawaiian shirts and shorts. No Botox though.
As we passed the enticing slot machines and people hoping beyond hope to get a Blackjack, we got in line at the Buffet and waited as the people in front of us inched forward to their chance at gluttony. We, of course, were there strictly for scientific purposes.
When we arrived at the front of the line, we were directed to a cashier who took our $25.00 each and offered us unlimited champagne for an extra $5.00. We declined because the real drinking is to be done poolside or at the craps tables in Vegas. A very kind and polite woman directed us to the secondary line where J. and I waited until they asked for a party of two to be seated. I raised a hand and moments later, J. and I were at our table setting up shop and getting ready to hit the buffet.
The interior of the space was large and tastefully decorated. There cream colored walls and occasional artwork gave a comfortable feel. The tables, however, were pretty close together and it was hard to get fully relaxed even though the chair were very kind to our bodies.
J. took off for the buffet with me in tow and we marveled at the spread. A large seafood and sushi station loomed in the center of the space and a bar was available for those who didn’t want the champagne but had to have a Mimosa or a Bloody Mary. I broke away from J.’s lead and found myself at the breakfast/brunch items. I started with the scrambled eggs that were a bit wet for my taste. Next was the bacon, then the Eggs Benedict, the Singapore Noodles, Pepperoni Pizza, the Shrimp Spring Roll, the Polenta with Gorgonzola, the Roasted Red Potatoes and the Rice Pilaf.
My impressions of the food were favorable. There were clearly more hits than misses. The bacon was top notch as were the Shrimp Spring Roll and the Singapore Noodles. The scrambled eggs were decent and the Eggs Benedict had an outstanding Hollandaise sauce. Sadly, the English Muffin was created during the Churchill administration. The pizza was really quite good, although the warming table and lamps had made the crust a bit soggy. The two winners for me were the Roasted Red Potatoes which were perfectly cooked, and the Polenta with Gorgonzola that was fantastic. The big loser, however, was the Rice Pilaf. It never should have seen the light of day. Tasteless, undercooked, and a general mess.
J. made the rounds and discovered the Duck in Green Curry Sauce, the peeled shrimp, the Japanese Soba Noodle Salad, the cut-to-order Pepper Bacon, the Seaweed Salad, and an egg dish that we both didn’t recognize. J. felt the duck was good, but the sauce was more like a gravy that made the dish exceptionally heavy. He liked the shrimp, but was disappointed that there were no crab legs available as that had been played up by all the websites and the like. He found the Soba Noodle Salad interesting, but not stellar and had the Seaweed Salad just to say he had tried the experience. The egg dish was standard and not memorable, but J. was in love with the cut-to-order bacon. It looked wonderful.
My second attack of the Bellagio Buffet had me going right for the desserts. That is the strong point of the Bellagio Buffet. The dessert selection was incredible with a large portion being sugar free. Everything looked beautiful and I couldn’t shy away from the chocolate dishes save the apricot pastry that was calling my name. In the end, I selected the Chocolate-filled Croissant, the Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Cheesecake and something J. and I called the Chocolate Explosion Thingy. The apricot pastry was amazingly tart, buttery and delicious. The Chocolate-filled Croissant was very good. The chocolate didn’t dominate the pastry, but gave it a semi-sweet edge. The Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Cheesecake was delicious. The Chocolate Explosion Thingy had a great taste, but it was so exceptionally sweet and rich, we were afraid it would melt the enamel off our teeth. One bite was plenty. Still, the desserts didn’t disappoint overall and between my first plate and the feast of rich, buttery desserts, I was done.
J’s second feast included sausage, a bagel sandwich consisting of lox, red onion and onion jam, Sweet and Sour Chicken, the Polenta and more cut-to-order bacon. He also had some of the prime rib and the roasted lamb. The sandwich was a hit because of the quality of the ingredients and the sausage was very good. Like me, J. loved, loved, loved the polenta. He found the Sweet and Sour Chicken ordinary. Of course, he still raved about the bacon. While J. did like the prime rib and lamb, he was a bit miffed at the person handling the carving station. After getting his prime rib, he topped it with some horseradish sauce and then asked for some lamb. That was plunked down right atop the prime rib with the sauce. It was sloppy and J. felt the flavor of the accompaniments to the lamb were lost. Still, he was pleased overall. After finishing up his plate and nibbling on pastries on my plate, J. surrendered and we allowed our food to digest.
Our server was great all the way around. We ordered two Diet Cokes and two waters and the glasses were kept refilled the entire time. We had no complaints and people working the buffet were friendly and helpful, sans the carving person.
As we made our way out, we discussed the experience. Overall, we were happy. We could have done much worse at a buffet (just thinking about the buffet at Circus Circus makes me cringe), and the Bellagio Buffet had enough uncommon dishes and higher than normal quality to make us feel like it was worth the $25.00 a pop. It certainly wasn’t the best meal of our trip, but it started off our vacation on a high note.
We walked down the shopping area of the Bellagio and came across Hermes:
I walked in and fell in love with a tie, but not the $300 price tag.
We then ventured outside and saw this:
Buffets, Hermes, and Donny and Marie.
Yup, we were in Vegas.
3600 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Hours: Breakfast: Monday – Friday 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., Lunch: Monday – Friday 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Dinner: Sunday – Thursday 4:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., Gourmet dinner: Friday & Saturday 4:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., Champagne brunch: Saturday & Sunday 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Notes: Lines can be long at prime meal times.
Alcohol: Full bar.
Additional photos can be found at www.feastinginphoenix.com
3600 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV