Sunday, February 3. So, BF and I started our 3.5 day trip to Vegas this morning with a trip to the Paris hotel to try their buffet. I searched the board up and down, and it seemed that the Chowhound consensus was that the Paris has an excellent breakfast, so our plan was to head straight there from the airport and get in around 10:15-10:30 for breakfast, and stay until brunch started at 11am, so that we could try the best of both (for the price of breakfast!). Unfortunately, our flight was a little late getting in, so we didn't get to the Paris until around 11:30, thwarting my sneaky plan. We debated going to the Bellagio or even Bally's instead, but decided to stick with the Paris.
After a brief wait (5 mins or so), we were ushered to a table and set loose on the buffet. Now, let me start by saying that I did not have exceptionally high expectations for this buffet. We’ve eaten at many a buffet, and I know that the quality of food is generally not as high as a regular sit-down restaurant would be. That said, the Paris was about as good as I expect any upscale buffet to be, both in food and atmosphere. The whole “Parisian village” theme is cute in a kitschy way, but the buffet is set up rather awkwardly, which creates some difficult traffic patterns. It’s a big and varied spread, and most everything looked fresh enough (not surprising considering that the restaurant was pretty crowded). The clientele was largely football fans (it is Super Bowl Sunday, after all), dressed very casually and behaving boorishly (as people are wont to do at buffets). Still, it was no better or worse than your average buffet experience.
Anyway, onto the food. I took a tour of the buffet before digging in, to determine where my calories would be best spent. The reviews I read and the website for the hotel led me to believe that I would find either fondue or Swiss raclette on the buffet, so I kept an eye out for those as I scoped the offerings. I found no melted cheese, but just about everything else under the sun was available. There were a couple of stations devoted to breakfast foods (eggs, sausage, bacon, ham, potatoes, made-to-order omelets, French toast, pancakes, etc), a crepe station, a carving station (beef, lamb and ham), a section with various pastas and breads, numerous hot vegetables, some hot seafood dishes, a Mediterranean-looking section that had stuffed grape leaves, tapenade, grilled vegetables and meats, a cold bar with crab legs, shrimp, smoked salmon, cheeses (lackluster selection) and salad makings, and of course a huge dessert bar with croissants, pastries, ice cream, etc etc.
Obviously, there was no way we could even make a dent, but we did manage to sample quite a bit of what was offered. What I didn’t try: the cold shrimp or crab legs. The quality was obviously low (peel-n-eat shrimp were visibly mushy), and I didn’t really feel like doing all that work for bad seafood. I didn’t even consider trying any of their hot vegetables or warm seafood entrees, because I could tell by looking that everything was overcooked (typical of buffets). I was too stuffed to try the carved meats, but they looked tasty and not overcooked. I skipped the grilled offerings at the Mediterranean section as well, because the meats looked too dry. I was very disappointed at the quality of the seafood and the lack of fondue.
BF stuck mostly to breakfast items, concentrating on sausage, fried and roasted potatoes, eggs, bacon, grilled ham, quiche, etc. He felt the bacon was sub-par, but that everything else was good, with the sausage being much better than your average buffet sausage links. I only had the sausage and the fried hash browns, and I agree that the sausage was delicious. The hash browns were tasty enough but a little mealy (most likely made with baking potatoes instead of a creamier potato). He also tried and enjoyed the beef bourguignon, roasted red potatoes and bacon mashed potatoes. I steered clear of the beef due to the fact that it looked like pot roast in brown gravy (I make a killer beef bourguignon myself, so I am possibly prejudiced). Can you tell BF likes potatoes?
I sampled a couple of the pasta dishes and was pleasantly surprised – they were nothing special, but I did enjoy a creamy pesto farfalle with sundried tomatoes and pine nuts. Instead of the shrimp and crab I had quite a bit of smoked salmon, which was good, and served with all the usual accoutrements (capers, cream cheese, red onion, lemon, etc). Unfortunately, their bread selection was dismal (I tried an herb roll, which was inoffensive but unmemorable, a piece of baguette which probably made every dead person in France turn over in their graves, and a bite of a dried cranberry roll which I mistook for sundried tomato – a grave error), so I had to stick to croissants, which were quite good. I also sampled a stuffed grape leaf (not good), some tapenade (fine, but tasted strongly of sundried tomato, which wasn’t what I was after). With all of this savory stuff under my belt, I moved on to sweets. BF had French toast (which he proclaimed good), but since they had only faux maple syrup, I had to look elsewhere. I sampled one of their pre-filled apple crepes with caramel sauce, which I would not recommend – the apple filling is clearly canned. Macaroons were similarly unimpressive (and the chocolate sauce I dipped it in was warmed-up Hershey's syrup - ick). As a non-sugar eater (when not in Vegas, that is!), I decided to try one of their sugar free desserts – a chocolate mousse that was actually excellent, considering that it was sugar free. The best thing by far, though, was the made-to-order crepe filled with fresh blueberries (which were very good considering the season and the only fresh fruit filling available), warm Nutella and topped with raspberry sauce (pleasantly tart) and whipped cream. Indulgent and luscious! I did have to cut away some of the crepe itself, though, because it was a little too thick and doughy for my taste. We also had several glasses of champagne (average quality).
All of that said, I enjoyed our brunch at the Paris and would certainly go back if I were in the mood to stuff myself on Nutella crepes! The $25 price tag for all that food and unlimited champagne didn’t seem exorbitant to me, but I am accustomed to NYC prices – people from lower cost of living areas may feel that $25 is excessive. Also, if I had been in the mood for crab and shrimp, I would have felt ripped off. As other posters have commented, the breakfast price is only $13 or so, which is very reasonable and would probably be hard to beat even at a sit down place. If I can get confirmation on the availability of fondue on non-weekend days, we may go back (I LOVE fondue). Hope that helps some of you who are seeking a good buffet!