So gluttonous. So excessive. And yet, it's become so ingrained in me from my American upbringing that even in Korea I find myself occasionally seeking that comfort of stuffing myself with a myriad of food to my heart's content- and all for a fixed price.
Unfortunately, for those who have lived in the States and have experienced the pretty much gold standard of buffets, the buffets in Korea are some serious disappointments and, in many cases, just awful. Not only are the food usually sub-par with interesting "salad" concoctions of mayonnaise and processed cold cuts given fancy names, they're usually enormously overpriced for offering dishes that you would mainly only find in the salad bar section of a buffet in the States.
In my recent trip to the states, I had a brief stop in Vegas, the American capital of excess buffets, where my friends and I hit up the much hyped-about Bacchanal Buffet at Caesar's.
Like the lounges and clubs at Vegas, the various buffets there come in and out with the season. I remember when I was last in Vegas it was all about the Wynn's buffet but since Caesars redid theirs, it's now apparently the buffet to go.
Having driven to Vegas from LA on a Sunday, we arrived pretty late in the evening and starving since we resisted the temptation to drop by the in-n-outs along the way for the all-you-can-eat. We thought we'd get to eat right away considering the time and day at 8 or 9PM in the evening but true to its status as the current "it" buffet of Vegas, the Bacchanal STILL had a line.
The wait for us was about 30-40 minutes but when we were finally shown to our table and had ordered our drinks, we wasted no time in filling our first plates. And boy, did I get my glutton on.
Like any stereotypical Asian, I just made a beeline straight to the seafood corner where, unsurprisingly, all my Asian brethren from kids to gramms were already congregated around. On top of a number of fish, mussel, oyster and other shell food, the star of the corner was undoubtedly the snow crab legs. Knowing full well their prized status, Bacchanal's had a working girl whose sole responsibility was to dunk a few legs in a boiling pot for a few seconds and then hash it out on a plate for hungry patrons.
In addition, there was the usual standard sections including a Mexican section (complete with a lady making fresh tacos), an Asian food section (dim sum, sushi, "Chinese" dishes), I believe two sections for various barbecued and cooked meat, a section for American food (sliders, mac and cheese, etc), Middle Eastern, salad bar, pasta section, etc.
Here's a breakdown of the plates I got and on some of the food...
The seafood section had oysters on the half shell, mussels, big juicy shrimp and of course the snow crab legs. You ain't going to beat the quality from a seafood restaurant but for a buffet, not bad in quality.
The snow crab legs came pre-split making the eating and crab meat digging quite easy.
Chicken wings, oysters, mussels, etc
Snow crab legs
Dishes like the fresh tacos, lasagna and American comfort foods like the sliders and sweet potato tater tots were good.
The "sushi", dim sum and tamales were... not. They were either dry or bland and tasted more like they'd been sitting out for a while which could be since I doubt they are among the more popular dishes for patrons.
What was truly, truly disappointing were the various meat cuts. From the ribs to brisket, the meat dishes were practically salt licks. I know it's the States and all but I'm sure each single serving of meat had enough sodium content to hold you over for a good few days.
I was hoping especially to get in a few good barbecued meats but despite the various delectable sounding barbecue marinades on them, they all just tasted like pure salt.
Cocktail shrimp, ceviche, fresh tacos
Greek salad, lasagna, brisket, etc
Ribs, chicken wings
Sweet potato taters
Tamales, tabbouleh, dumpling, etc
To its credit, Bacchanal has the best desserts corner I've seen for a Vegas buffet. I'm not much of a desserts guy but I was not only impressed by the wide variety of sweets offered but their taste as well. Not too sweet and quite tasty. It has something to please everyone from ice cream lovers to macaroons to even souffles.
Carrot cake, passion fruit cake, cheesecake
At around 55 bucks per person with tax (not including tip) Bacchanal is far from being the best buffet for its value either. The previous time I was in Vegas, I hit up Studio B at the M Resort and, though off the strip, I definitely not only enjoyed the food there more but with all you can drink beer and wine included in your meal for about 10-15 bucks cheaper, that's far better bang for your buck!
Bottom line, it's a hit or a big miss at Bacchanal but with nothing really in particular standing out. If you go, go for the seafood, some of the non-Asian hot dishes and the desserts corner but for me, unless I or someone I know makes big winnings and treats me, I def will be exploring other places to eat in Vegas next time!
Ratings: 2 out of 4 stars
Just head to Caesar's and ask.
Parking: It's Vegas! Of course there's free parking!
Alcohol: You can order an all you can drink special which includes beer and wine but apparently from reviews it's not only not worth the price but the drinks are terrible.
Tip: Like most buffets, the weekday/weekend prices and breakfast/lunch/dinner prices differ. But so do the offerings per meal. If you want to skip the lines (at busy times the wait is well over an hour) you can dish out $15 bucks for a special express pass.
PS- On a random and nerdy note, I think the word "Bacchanal" is tons of fun to say.