The ubiquitous buffet has gone haute
cuisine in the past few years. No
longer a quantity-over-quality experience, Las Vegas newest buffets
are measured by their number of action stations, a la minute
preparation, eye-pleasing presentation and superior quality. The
following feasts are the best-of-breed in the citys newest (or
newly redone) upscale buffets.
Around the World at Red Rock: Off the Strip but definitely
in the running, the Feast Around the World is Station Casinos entry
in the upscale buffet wars. Like sister property Green Valley
Ranch, Red Rock caters to vacationing hipsters and savvy locals
with a mix of trendy bars and affordable restaurants. The Feasts
multiple live-action stations feature freshly prepared, tasty and
nicely presented choices.
seeing their creations prepared at the Mongolian Grill. Chefs will
gladly customize sauces at the Italian pasta station. A friendly,
can-do attitude pervades the staff, and guests dining in the
spacious, comfortably lit and relatively quiet dining rooms
appreciate the service.
location translates to bargain pricing that doesnt compromise
quality. Price: $8.99 to $18.99.
Carnival World Buffet at the Rio: Vegas buffet cognoscenti
know that in its prior incarnation, the Rios Carnival World Buffet
broke new ground and set the standard for ethnic multi-station
dining. But within a few years, Carnival World was left in the dust
by casinos that improved on the action-station concept. Since a $9
million makeover in 2004, however, Carnival World is back with the
buffet big boys.
field-length service line brims with 12 stations, including a
Chinese area with Cantonese dim sum, an extensive American station
and a teppanyaki-style grill. Serving 7,000 patrons a day isnt the
only amazing statistic here: How about the 1,000 pizzas served
entrance for Rio Platinum and Diamond members leads to a hushed,
darkened, private dining area with high-backed booths.
Price: $13.99 to $23.99.
Buffet at Wynn: As befits its chic and stylish
surroundings, the Buffet at Wynn meets expectations. Diners
entering the gorgeous main room are treated to a feast for the eyes
and the stomach. High-arched ceilings, dangling floral and fruit
displays and rich colors adorn the elegant space. Featuring an
impressive 17 live-action stations, this upscale affair pushes into
the gourmet zone with specialties like sturgeon Wellington and rack
include a risotto station, a sushi counter and a dessert station
featuring crepes and bananas Foster. Price: $15.95
Cravings at the Mirage: Whatever you do, dont call
Cravings a buffet. According to press materials, its an
all-you-can-eat, self-service dining experience. And if that
mouthful doesnt satisfy, the artfully crafted and presented cuisine
In an effort to
evolve beyond the current all-you-can-eat model, restaurant
designer Adam Tihany completely overhauled the traditional buffet
concept and delivered a sophisticated and eclectic setup. Set
amidst an ultra-modern, semi-institutional design, Cravings
features eight food stations, small-batch preparation and efficient
service. Each unique station resembles a free-standing restaurant
where chefs prepare specialties behind viewing windows.
points for originality, not everything works perfectly here.
Signage is good-looking but difficult to read. The dinnerware is
squared off and smart-looking but too
heavy. The lighting is less than flattering. Customers cant go
wrong, however, with the dim sum, well-prepared fish dishes and the
gelato. Price: $12.50 to $22.50.
at Harrahs: Looking to replace the unheralded Fresh Market
Buffet, which evidently had become a little stale, Harrahs
introduced Flavors late last year. The
redesigned space has a contemporary look with earth tones and wood
The new menu
highlights diverse action stations, including churrasco (Brazilian
barbecue), hand-rolled sushi and Southwestern fare. Other notable
areas feature Italian casseroles, pizza fired in a wood-burning
oven and gelato and sorbet. Price: $12.99 to $21.99.
Buffet at TI: The latest in the buffet overhaul program
sweeping through MGM Mirage properties is the Buffet at TI
(previously known as Dishes). With a nod to Cravings at the Mirage,
the Buffet is all about style and substance. The theme is Global
Street Market and, except for the lack of a faux sky, the room
feels like an international marketplace gone upscale.
Extensive use of
glass walls and dark woods create an intimate and soft interior,
while made-to-order salads, pastas and sushi epitomize the buffets
service orientation. Rolling carts deliver chili tableside, and
dessert highlights are creme brulee, chocolate souffle and cotton
candy. Price: $12 to $26.
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