Restaurants & Bars

Report on Bally's Sterling Brunch

JTinLA | Apr 28, 200509:34 PM

We arrived at Bally's Sterling Brunch at noon on April 24 without reservations and were seated in the second dining room (usually an upscale Chinese restaurant in the evening) in less than 20 minutes, having been served two glasses of Perrier Jouet Champagne while waiting. This secondary room was very pleasant (and far more calm than the main room, as described below) and the service was very attentive (keeping the champange and Evian, as well as fresh-squeezed OJ topped up at all times). The food was actually the high point of the experience -- of excellent quality and preparation given the limitations of a buffet. Even the broiled Maine lobster, although somewhat dry, was high quality and very sweet. Everything on the seafood display (oysters, clams, shrimp and crab) and the cold buffet was also excellent. The carved rack of lamb and beef tenderloin were a little past rare (my preferred stage) but also very good. We only tried a few of the prepared hot dishes, but the ones we sampled were well done. The desserts were not as varied as at the Bellagio, for instance, but were pretty spectacular. All that is good news, and yet my wife and I agreed we would not go back, simply because the setup for the Sterling Brunch is one of the worst we've ever experienced. The serving areas is jammed into one end of the very narrow Steakhouse Restaurant. Tables are crammed in, and service people hoisting huge trays of dirty dishes jockey in the narrow aisles around patrons going to or from the buffet (the space between tables is barely adequate to handle the diner traffic to and from the service area, let alone the army of very efficient service people). It's a madhouse, and reminded me of dollar beer night at the college pub -- not the relaxing atmosphere we're looking for when we're spending $125 for two for brunch. We won't be returning to the Sterling Brunch unless Bally's can figure out a way to transfer all the great things about it to a setting that enhances rather than detracts from the experience for us. And I'm really going to miss that never-ending glass of Perrier Jouet.

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