Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Mecca of Buffets: The Buffet at the Bellagio, Las Vegas

What's happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.  But I think that phrase is really designed for the amount of debauchery that occurs.  People go to Vegas for many reasons, bachelor and bachelorette parties, business expos, shows, clubs.  I don't think any of you would be surprised to know that I was extremely excited to see what the food scene had to offer.  Maybe it makes me sound like a 45-year-old man but I was really looking forward to trying one of their famous buffets.  I'm not normally one for buffets, but these were supposed to be different, especially the one at the Bellagio.  I love to travel; luckily I had a good excuse to be in Vegas - a romantic rendezvous never hurt the soul or the heart.  I came, I ate, I conquered.  Needless to say I spent three hours at the buffet.  If I'm going to do something, I am going to do it right.  In fact, we beat out three sets of seatings around us.  

To start with, this is an appropriate plate to arrange for yourself at the buffet.  It was my last plate of food, but this is how you do it right:

You know how you do it wrong?!  And I saw soooooooooooo many people doing this?  Get a giant plate of fruit or a salad.  You know what I have to say to that?  F*** you.  You come to the Buffet at the Bellagio and you eat fruit?!  Normally I'm not so judgemental (okay who am I kidding?) but seriously.  You have a ridiculous amount of good food options and you decide to eat like a bunny?!  I was so disappointed in so many people.  It got to a point where I was looking at people's plates, judging them for their selections and shaking my head.  I couldn't stand it.  Here are some of the stations you should avoid.  And it is not because they are bad.  Oh no.  It is very fresh don't get me wrong.  But seriously!  Salad and fruit?!?!  STOP IT!

If you come back to your table with these options you should be ashamed of yourself.  Here are some options you should consider.  And as a note, I went for brunch.  So, unfortunately, the giant crab legs I had heard so much about were only available during dinner service.  Oh well, guess I'll have to go back.

Griddle full of pancakes

Fluffy, delicious pancakes, perfect French toast, mini belgian waffles and red velevet waffles

Raspberry cheesecake and carrot cake

Spicy tuna wrap

Cheesecake with blueberries

Chocolate walnut brownies

Eclairs with chocolate filling and chocolate ganache glaze

Some other kind of pretty cheesecake (I guess cheesecake is a crowd pleaser considering how many different kinds there are)

Shrimp cocktail - fresh shrimp, cocktail sauce could use more zing

Breakfast sausage, apple blintzes and fruit sauces

Big ole pile of croissants

Chocolate croissants


Pork buns

Ponzu chicken with pineapple sauce 
Chinese broccoli, tofu pad thai and fried rice (all pretty bland)

Bagel and shmear station

Now, let me show you all the plates me and my man created over the course of three hours.

Plate 1:

Eggs benedict, apple blintz, chocolate croissant, breakfast sausage, thick-cut bacon
Sesame bagel with lox, tomato, dill tartar sauce, capers, lemon, two types of squid salad
The eggs benedict, like most of the food, was good.  Nothing really stood out as stellar but everything was adequate.   Think about the volume of food that is put out.  Some things are going to shine while others, although perfectly fine, are just, well, you know, nothing entirely exciting.  The apple blitz's pastry shell was soft and sweet as well as it's interior.  The apple filling was very sweet.  One was enough.  The chocolate croissant was more croissant than chocolate and I could not really taste the chocolate.  The best things on this plate were really the breakfast sausage and thick cut bacon.  The sausage was very juicy and well cooked and the bacon was everything I wanted in pork fat deliciousness.  

The second plate had highs and lows as well.  After assembling the bagel and lox, we really thought that the lox were made in house.  They were absolutely delicious and on par with some really great lox I've had in both Boston and New York.  Both squid salads were underwhelming, fresh, but boring.

Onto the next plates:

Pork gyuza, ponzu chicken skewer, tofu pad Thai and red velvet waffles with vanilla cream sauce
Man plate of meat and more protein

First round of bottomless champagne

I have to say, my Asian-inspired plate was pretty disappointing.  The pork bun was very soft. I think they typically have a little bit more of a crust on them. And the filling was okay.  The skewer had a gelatinous texture to the sauce and the pork gyoza was a little too pink in the center for my liking.  And to be honest, the pad Thai was dry and I could not find a single piece of tofu in it.  Normally I would have to explain why I was eating a red velvet waffle alongside Asian-inspired food but I'm at a buffet.  Anything goes.  The waffle was very good.  A little dense and cakey; I could see where they were going.  The vanilla cream sauce really brought it together.  

On my man's man plate of meat, meat and protein, I think he got everything he wanted in that plate.  Crispy bacon, two fresh eggs made at the omelette station (perfectly over medium), an amazing piece of prime rib from a carving station, a breakfast sausage and a biscuit.  I think this plate really highlights what was done really well at brunch.  It also says a little something about the stations.  Go to the stations.  Get food from the chefs who make items ready to order.  Some items just don't hold that well under the heat lamps, and that is something to keep in mind.  Perhaps the fattier items hold better, like the bacon and sausage.  Eggs and items prone to drying out, not so much.  

Now, let's talk about the bottomless champagne.  Get the champagne (it's actually prosecco).  It's an extra $10 a person and so worth it.  I definitely had at least five glasses.  Do it!

Plate 3:

Seafood-inspired plate with lox, shrimp cocktail, bluefin tuna, smoked trout, and another white fish from Hawaii

Hearty bread, dill tartar sauce, red onion and lox

More prime rib, eggs, pesto mashed potatoes, fresh bread
This round of seafood had highs and lows as well.  As I made my way through the food I am definitely learning that it is probably a good idea to avoid things that can dry out under a heat lamp.  For example, the bluefin tuna and other white fish were were very dry.  I discovered that I do not enjoy smoked trout, although I believe this is just a personal preference, and the lox was again really delicious.  I could eat the lox all day.  The shrimp cocktail was also very fresh and the cocktail sauce could use some horseradish to kick it up a notch.  

The next plate had more prime rib (as you are seeing we went back for things we really enjoyed).  Also, the pesto mashed potatoes were kind of ridiculously good.  A good concept executed really well.  

Plate 4:

No holds barred throwdown of flan, coffee tiramisu, chocolate walnut brownies, chocolate eclair, strawberries, carrot cake and more prosecco

Blueberry muffin, waffle, pancake, cheese blintz, French toast
This is how you end a buffet sitting.  The flan was really my favorite dessert item.  I've had a lot of flan and this was just wonderful.  It tasted like someone's grandmother was making it in the back.  Truly delicious.  The coffee tiramisu was really nice too.  I wasn't a huge fan of the brownie, I don't like nuts in my chocolate.  The eclair was a nice surprise seeing as it had a chocolate filling and the carrot cake was nice too.  See the strawberries on my plate?  This is the only acceptable way, in my opinion, to be eating fruit at a buffet.  It cleanses the palate and adds something to the experience.  I'm not at a buffet to eat healthy.  Please.

It may seem strange to be ending the meal with a plate full of breakfast but it really is just a different take on sweets.  I preferred to get traditional desserts while my man dove head first into the realm of breakfast sweets.  It was a beautiful plate I must say.  The muffin was gone before I even got to try it and to be honest, there isn't much either of us could complain about on this plate.  Sweet, fluffy and fresh.  The perfect end to a well spaced meal-a-thon.

I would absolutely recommend this buffet to anyone wanting to experience a Vegas buffet.  Aside from the food, our server was incredible.  Our glasses were always filled with prosecco or coffee and he was very attentive to all our needs.  I am definitely going to return to the Bellagio Buffet, but next time, for dinner.  Those crab legs have my name all over them!

The Buffet on Urbanspoon


  1. Wooohoooo!!! As I'm sitting here eating my green rabbit food, lol......

  2. Lol! Hopefully you got to try some of the stations too. Wouldn't it be ironic if they served rabbit...