Proof Positive ELV Doesn’t Hate All Buffets (just most of them)
Yes….the rumors are true.
Yours truly appeared on KSNV Channel 3 (NBC) Friday morning and proclaimed (at the 29:19 mark of the above video) the Bacchanal Buffet our town’s best.
Yes, we said “best” of a breed of eateries we usually avoid like the plague.
Why do we avoid these places like LiLo does sobriety?
Because, if you didn’t know, the word buffet* stands for:
F – Fat
F – Folks
E – Eating
T– Too Much
…and aside from that acronym (which is all too true from what we’ve observed), they encourage waste and overeating — too things society should be condemning, not encouraging with football field-long counters brimming with a cornucopia of excess just there for the taking (and then throwing away).
The only excuse for buffets is their convenience and ease for our many foreign visitors who might not feel that comfortable parsing a written menu or dealing with a waitron and a language barrier — so on that level we give them a pass. Americans, however, should go to a proper restaurant, order and eat less, and enjoy their meal more.
But ELV (along with most critics) are swimming against the tide on this one, and since Vegas is the world capital of this form of dining, we thought it high time we actually visited a few.
What we discovered was — surprise surprise — the best hotels have the best buffets, and that dinner for two at most of them will set you back a cool Benjamin. Not exactly cheap (lunch is a better bargain if you want to stuff yourself), and far behind the price/value ratio of the food on Spring Mountain Road, where fifty bucks will feed two people in glorious, authentic, Asian style — minus the mountains of crab legs.
We also found that Caesars new Bacchanal Buffet is a buffet hater’s buffet — precisely because the food neither looks nor tastes like it comes from an industrial kitchen.
That’s no coincidence, because its two main chefs, Scott Green and Dyan Ng:
…are both classically trained and veterans of fine dining establishments (he of Alizé, she of Guy Savoy), so steamer trays of shitty lasagna and gummy cheesecake simply aren’t in their DNA.
Instead what they offer are hand-tooled goodies like fresh, flavor-infused honey from a comb:
…beautifully composed watermelon and feta salad:
….and individual soufflés made to order:
It also offers the beefcake-y Green and the cute-as-a-button Ng walking around, instead of the usual Local 226 matrons in hair nets….if you’re interested in such things.
Those looking for appetite stimulation will also find plenty to gawk at, as you’ll see from this panoply of palate-pleasing pics:
Does this mean I’m now a big buffet booster? Hardly. My objections still stand, but I’ve got to hand it to the Bacchanal for taking the cooking and service of this food to another level. At each of the nine cooking stations, you can watch all of the food being prepared; and made-to-order (not sitting around waiting to be shoveled) is the order of the day; they also encourage interaction with their cooks so you can discuss what you want and how they make it.
Of all of the stations I’ve visited (and I visited all of them) it was the Mexican that impressed me the most, with the Asian noodles (the ramen especially) in the back a close second. But there was no faulting the barbecue either (okay, Arthur Bryant’s has nothing to fear, but it’s plenty palatable), and those desserts are as good as any you’ll find on the Strip in a restaurant that isn’t named after a Frenchman….or maybe an Austrian….or an Egyptian.
So, have I put BB on my regular rotation of restaurants to be visited at least yearly to see how the quality control is going? Probably not. Three visits in two weeks is enough buffet food to satisfy a bloke like me for at least another ten years. But it’s good to know the food here is in such good hands, and that Dyan is always around to make me one of her intense, banana-vanilla soufflés (and to flirt shamelessly with) should my….er…uh….appetite need stimulating.
In Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino
3570 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109