Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace

Since opening almost a year ago, the new buffet at Caesars Palace, the Bacchanal Buffet, has been rated the number one Las Vegas buffet by several top sources.  I can see why it gets this top rating, but in my opinion, it comes in third.

I first visited the Bacchanal Buffet the first week of January.  The wait for lunch was at least 2 hours long.  The line was wrapped around through a bunch of turnstiles and snaked out towards the door.  We waited a few minutes, realized there was no way we'd make it to the front of the line before dinner started and left to go have lunch at The Buffet at Wynn (my #1 favorite buffet) where the wait was only about a half hour.

We still wanted to try the Bacchanal Buffet during our January visit to Vegas, so we stopped there again around noon on a Friday, the day we were heading home.  The line was shorter but still long.  All the turnstiles were filled, but this time the line didn't go all the way to the door.  I think it took about an hour for us to get to the front of the line.

More recently, we visited Vegas close to the 1-year anniversary of the Bacchanal Buffet.  For better or worse, everything seemed the same as on my previous visit...except for the line (thankfully).  We probably waited about 10 minutes during lunch on a weekday.  That was certainly a welcome change.

The seating in the dining rooms is comfortable, and I like that different dining areas are decorated differently.  For example, one area is more metal and modern looking.  Another area is more wooden and rustic.  Even the chairs and tables are different in different areas.  It's kinda cool.  You could eat there multiple times, sit in different dining areas and feel like you're eating at different restaurants (although the food would be the same).

You really can't beat the variety on the buffet.  The only buffet I've seen with more variety was at Rio, but Rio is desperately lacking in quality and atmosphere.  Bacchanal has Chinese food, sushi, a salad bar, an amazing meat and cheese selection, pizza, pasta, Mexican food with a whole area devoted to different kinds of salsa, American comfort food, a carving station with the biggest selection of meats at any buffet, seafood and probably the biggest dessert area of any buffet I've seen.  I'm probably missing a few areas.  There's really a lot to take in.  I know they also have soup, juice, bread selection, the list goes on.

There's no question that this buffet has the best presentation of any buffet in Vegas.  First of all, you can watch the chefs prepare the food.  I believe they call these areas "live-action stations".  Also, many dishes are served on tiny individual serving-size plates.  It's adorable but not entirely practical.  All these little plates limit what you can carry on any one trip to the buffet.  Still, thumbs up for presentation.

So, why is this only my third favorite buffet?  Flavor, or lack of flavor.  Variety and presentation aren't very important if you don't love the taste of what you're eating.  I believe this is also the most (or one of the most) expensive buffets in Vegas.  For the price tag, you definitely want to enjoy your meal.

The slider is really the only thing that I crave after leaving this buffet.  It's perfectly cooked and combined with the bun and cheese, it tastes like butter.  The price of the buffet is a lot to pay just to eat sliders though.  Everything else is fine but not remarkable.  That doesn't mean that the other food isn't good, it's just not craveably addictably good like at my 2 favorite buffets...The Buffet at Wynn rating #1 and Wicked Spoon at The Cosmopolitan rating #2.

Besides the sliders, I was most impressed with the cheese selection.  This is the only buffet in Vegas where I saw brie and goat cheese.  They were amazing when spread on onion rolls or pretzel rolls.  The sea bass and salmon were pretty good.  The meatloaf is better at Wynn.  If you like heat, the spicy sausage at the carving station is good but greasy.  During dinner, they bring out meatballs, which are really good if you like them spicy (which I do).

As far as dessert, their gelato selection rivals Wicked Spoon.  The strawberry cheesecake flavor was delightful.  They also have my husband's favorite, creme brulee.  Honestly, this is the best creme brulee in Vegas.  They have both chocolate and vanilla.  I haven't seen chocolate creme brulee at any other buffet.  There's also a crepe station, but I prefer the crepes at Paris' Le Village Buffet.

In summary, the Bacchanal Buffet has unbeatable variety but the individual dishes are lacking in flavor.  Get out that salt and pepper; you're doing to need them, but make sure you try the sliders and the creme brulee.

Happy eating!

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