Tuesday, February 5, 2008. BF and I were planning to head back to the Paris for another go at their breakfast buffet (more Nutella for me), but at the last minute we changed our minds and headed to the Bellagio to check out their breakfast buffet. We got there at 9:30ish and were seated right away. The place was half empty, but the buffet was bustling. The atmosphere here was a little dreary – much more generic looking than the Paris and more obviously “buffet”-like, if that makes sense. The waitress brought us fresh-squeezed OJ (nice touch) and coffee, then we descended on the buffet.
A quick perusal of the offerings revealed the usual selection of breakfast goods (scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, French toast, fresh-made pancakes, waffles, omelet bar), plus at least 4 different types of fried and roasted potatoes and…GRAVY! BF was thrilled. There was an extensive selection of cereals and yogurts and all the fixings you could possibly want (cold cereal, oatmeal, cream of wheat, fresh and cooked fruit toppings, granola, etc) and a large selection of pastries (including some slightly unusual offerings like pound cake and bread pudding). The more savory selections included smoked salmon and white fish with all the usual toppings plus some unusual ones (wasabi, red onion jam, a dill sauce, etc), an asian bar (curried duck at 9:30am, anyone?), a breakfast burrito bar, a few random meat dishes (roasted salmon, etc) and a pizza bar with both conventional and breakfast pizzas.
BF and I went our separate ways as usual – he hit the potatoes and gravy, I hit the smoked fish. I selected an onion bagel, a wheat roll and a croissant as possible vehicles for my salmon, plus some sausage and a chunk of beef tenderloin (which was just sort of randomly sitting next to the omelet station), and went back to dig in. Verdict? Smoked salmon good, smoked white fish BAD. Also, bagels REALLY BAD. Luckily the wheat roll was passable. Why on earth are bagels so bad here? Anyway, I ate my salmon with cream cheese and red onion jam (which was really tasty), my beef (which was dry) and then turned to the sausage. It looked just like the sausage we’d had at the Paris, so I was expecting it to BE the same. Uh, no. DISGUSTING. This is coming from a gal who never met a sausage she didn’t like – I mean, I like brown-n-serve. Not only was this bad, it didn’t taste like BREAKFAST sausage – it was sort of like the most horrible bratwurst ever. Yuck. I then turned to BF’s plate and poached a piece of bacon (decent), a bite of potatoes lyonnaise with gravy (very good – the potatoes were crispy and tender with lots of onion and the gravy was creamy with chunks of non-bratwurst sausage in it), and an ill-advised bite of scrambled eggs. EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW! What on earth! I don’t know for sure, but I would bet my paycheck that they use powdered eggs to make their scrambled eggs. UNACCEPTABLE. BF was also dismayed and had to go get more potatoes and gravy to console himself.
I headed back up and got some berries from the fruit bar, which was fairly extensive and looked to be of good quality. The berries I had were good, and BFs melon was fine as well. We also hit the pizza bar, which was surprisingly good – usually buffet pizza sucks, but they were making this fresh in an open oven right behind the buffet and it was very tasty – we had a bacon-basil slice and a pepperoni slice. There were several “breakfast” pizzas, but they all involved eggs and I was not touching any egg in that place with a 10 foot pole! I was considering pancakes or French toast, but the only syrup available was Aunt Jemima and I am a real maple snob. I did take a cheese blintz with strawberry sauce, but one bite showed me what a bad idea that was. BF had some French toast which he thought very good (they use a nice thick cut bread to make it).
Obviously, I wasn’t about to go hungry, but I still didn’t feel like I’d eaten anything satisfying, so I checked out the asian bar. Unfortunately, I think everyone felt it was a little early for asian because everything looked like it had been sitting for hours. I did take a sample of Singapore-style noodles, which were fine but nothing special. I returned to the smoked salmon, which was excellent, and then finished off my meal with a little ice cream (really bad soft serve) with caramel sauce (fine).
Bellagio versus Paris SMACKDOWN:
Ambiance: Paris, hands down. Neither one is as nice as a sit-down place, but at least the kitschy cuteness of the Paris helps you forget that you’re at a buffet.
Service: Tie. Both had polite and capable service.
Food: Paris. Not that everything at the Paris was amazing, but I wasn’t disgusted by anything I tasted there. Not so with the Bellagio. The breakdown:
Gravy: Bellagio (by default)
Breads: Neither. Someone needs to remedy the bread situation in Vegas, pronto.
French Toast: Tie (Bellagio was made with thicker bread, but was soggy in the middle)
Syrup/Toppings: Paris (both should be slapped for not offering real maple syrup, but at least the Paris had a few fruit sauces and whipped cream)
Smoked Salmon: Tie (although Bellagio had more interesting toppings)
Sweets: Paris (the crepe station alone beat anything the Bellagio had to offer. Their selections of pastries were probably equal, but the Paris had a number of things like flan and chocolate mousse that were missing at the Bellagio)
Non-breakfast savory items: Paris (the pizza was good at the Bellagio, but there was just SO much more at the Paris – carving stations, grilled meats, stews, etc)
Variety: Paris. Perhaps this is because we were at the champagne brunch at the Paris and it was just regular breakfast at the Bellagio, but there were many, many more interesting options at the Paris. Also, the non-breakfast options at the Paris were more palatable at breakfast time than the random asian station at the Bellagio.
If I hadn’t been to the Paris, I might have found the Bellagio acceptable, but I would probably not have returned because I know there has to be better out there. However, since I have been to the Paris, I would NOT return to the Bellagio under any circumstances. I wouldn’t mind searching out an even better breakfast buffet in Vegas, but the Paris is a solid choice, slightly cheaper than the Bellagio, and totally recommendable!