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The Spice Market Buffet at Aladdin

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The Spice Market Buffet at Aladdin

BMAK | Nov 4, 2005 10:12 AM

This turned out to be very much a hit or miss experience. The line was pleasantly short at 10:30, which meant no more than a 10 minute wait. I was immediately put off by the waitress who seemed to care less about serving my table. Through the entire hour long meal, I believe she stopped by my table 3 times. As I usually do at a buffet, I took a slow, thorough scan of the entire spread. It looked and smelled fantastic. The variety and the apparent quality of the food were far better than that of the Bellagio. After poring over the buffet, I took a plate and started my initial selections. First, from the Mexican section, I had a small cheese quesadilla. It was well prepared, although most people would probably prefer more vegetables in the dish, I personally like the fact that it was simply tortilla and cheese. Second, from the Mediterranean section (granted it was improperly placed), I had the tandoori chicken. This was my favorite part of the meal. The tandoori was deliciously flavored, very spicy without being just heat. It was the only part of the plate to which I had seconds. I also had a small serving of the scrambled eggs with cheese and ham. I left half of it, as it had gotten cold and was not very cheesy. As a complement to the eggs, I also had a few strips of their bacon, which was very tasty, and cooked precisely to my personal preference: somewhat crispy, but not to the ‘potato chip’ point. Also the rosemary roasted potatoes were a great breakfast complement – very flavorful, though lukewarm at best. Lastly on this plate were the butter croissant and wedge of brie. As I’ve never had a particularly selective palate for pastries, I was quite satisfied with the croissant. As for the brie, it was a relatively cheap double-crème and tasted acceptably for a reasonably inexpensive buffet. To drink, I ordered (what else at a champagne brunch) a mimosa. This was a disappointment. The champagne was not even of sufficient quality for a mimosa – I pity the people who ordered it alone. Also, the orange juice tasted like it was the Minute Maid reject, while nicely pulpy, very sour with no natural tartness or sweetness remaining.

Onwards to my second plate. For this trip, I strayed from the breakfast foods a bit. As mentioned previously, I had a second helping of the tandoori chicken. I also had, while not the ideal complements, pork potstickers and a freshly made cheese omelet. The omelet was perfectly cooked, though without any additional spices and there were no herbs to add to the relatively bland cheddar blend, it was not the most flavorful concoction. The tandoori chicken was not nearly as good this time around, it seemed that it had gotten just a bit too charred to avoid being dried out and burnt-tasting. On the other hand, the potstickers were nicely cooked, fresh, and hot, although I was a bit disappointed to find that there was no ginger sauce to accompany them. I had to substitute a soy/chili pepper sauce blend instead.

On my third plate, I attempted a taste of the Caesar salad that I immediately discarded as it had become far too soggy to be palatable. In addition, I picked up a small dessert that looked delicious. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a coffee flavored item and I fear my distasteful rejection of it from my mouth was a bit uncouth. I was more careful on my next trip to the dessert station. The dessert specialty was a chocolate and raspberry crepe with flambé peaches. To this, I was not remotely impressed. The crepes were pre-cooked, and then sautéed and flambéed, with the peaches unceremoniously poured over at the end. This resulted in a slightly burnt flavor and peaches ranging from piping hot to fairly cool. I can see why the patron who received the dish before me proceeded to the soft-serve ice cream machine to top it off.

After these disasters, I tried for another dessert, this time a chocolate cake with chocolate sauce – after consulting with the chef to ensure that this choice did not contain coffee. In stark contrast to the previous two plates, this was a brilliant success. The cake was rich, moist, and delicious, though the chocolate sauce tasted like it came from the refrigerated section of the local grocery store – although somehow, it worked. This dessert was very satisfying, even though it didn’t leave me in chocolate heaven for a good solid minute after each bite.

Lastly, to finish off this meal, I couldn’t resist the thought of the vanilla frozen custard, topped with chantilly cream. While this was a nice finish to the meal, I was simply getting too full and left over half of it. In summary, this meal was worth going to, although I think that I will plan on skipping buffets for the rest of my stay in Las Vegas. Although the sound of the one at the Paris may just tempt me. If it does so, I do hope that it will remind me of my wonderful experience at Villa de Flora in Orlando.

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