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CRUZMISL

Buffets (Las Vegas)

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not on the strip, but for my money, the Red Rock casino has the best buffet around.......

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Dunno if buffets can be considered "low class."

My friend and me went to Rio the other day for the seafood buffet. It was $38 a person!

Needless to say, we beat feet.

Anyhow, one of my friends is a contractor for the hotels and eats in their employee dining rooms every day. In general, we consider EDRs to be an excellent representative of the buffets.

I called him and he said the best EDRs are Wynn, Bellagio, and Mirage. So.. those are probably the best buffets too.. at least, in his opinion. =}

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Anyhow, one of my friends is a contractor for the hotels and eats in their employee dining rooms every day.  In general, we consider EDRs to be an excellent representative of the buffets.

I called him and he said the best EDRs are Wynn, Bellagio, and Mirage.  So.. those are probably the best buffets too.. at least, in his opinion. =}

Cilantro, why do you consider EDRs an excellent representative of the buffets? Is that where the food comes from for those EDRs, namely the buffet leftovers?


Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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I know when I worked at Keystone Ski Resort, we ate like kings in the back room - salmon and fillet every night! I think its a fair representation of the buffets. We actually got so sick of it that it was a joy when the chef would make a special staff meal.

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Cilantro, why do you consider EDRs an excellent representative of the buffets? Is that where the food comes from for those EDRs, namely the buffet leftovers?

rj, though the question is simple, the answer is rather complicated.

The short answer is, "yes, but not in the way you're thinking."

They don't normally take stuff that's been sitting in the hotel pan over the steam table for 5 hours and take it downstairs to us. That would probably be a health code violation anyhow.

They do order the same stuff for us that they order for upstairs, though. It comes from the same suppliers, through the same receiving dock(s), through the same inspection.

EDR pretty much raids the storage rooms and takes whatever. People say the EDR is essentially the same as the buffet, but I say the EDR has more stuff. EDR get the shrimp and stuff like that upstairs gets too, but we also get stuff the buffet think is lame, like tangerine slices out of cans, hard boiled eggs, etc.

When you have an event and you get those weird round things of meat with asparagus served in that cartoon thing with the round silver lid, we get those too. They're just hidden in the fridge because there are not enough for everyone, and the EDR cooks could only gaff a few extra.

A lot of stuff is "centralized" for efficiency. Like one internal butcher shop will supply everybody with the meat. Or one hotel's kitchen will make all the soup, and send it out to the other hotels [this is only true for hotel owned restaurants like the buffet, cafes, etc. Not for outsiders, who actually own most of the restaurants... so if you're wondering why the hotel owned cafe has the exact same soup as the hotel owned restaurant at the property next door, now you know -- albeit at a different price].

"Yeah but for stuff that is not cooked earlier by some upstairs guy that you guys gaffed, buffet cooks are different from the EDR cooks." Well... yes. But the same F&B director is in charge of both. They are hired to the same standards, and they get paid the same.

I always found that interesting. EDR costs are billed to "payroll," but managed by "f&b."

Disclaimer: I do not work in F&B, have never worked in F&B, and don't work in hotel/casino/etc at all. Not sure why I used "we." Each casino/hotel in general operates as a wholly independent subsidiary, with some minor exceptions (such as the aforementioned centralization of some food stuff between hotels) and each F&B director can therefore run it however the heck he wants.


Edited by Cilantro (log)

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While it may be true that the buffets and EDRs order their products from the same suppliers, and they come through the same loading docks and inspected by the same people, with a central butcher shop, that's where the similarity ends. The EDRs oder their own supplies, and have their own cold storage and kitchens. I've worked at Bellagio, MGM Grand and Caesars Palace and I can tell you employees are not eating prime rib, shrimp, wild boar ribs, or sushi (well, maybe some rare banquet leftovers, but do you really want leftover sushi?). Of the places I've worked, Bellagio had the best EDR, but the offerings were certainly not similar or equal in quality to the public buffet.

I think it may be truer to say that properties that treat their employees well will also generally treat their guest well, too.

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...<respectfully snipped> ....There are other fine dining restaurants that offer three course menus for around $40.

My fiancee and I will be getting married in Vegas this January ('08). Thus far we have reservations at L'Atelier and Picasso with an eye toward Wing Lei and Bouchon for breakfast. Any recommendations as to which fine dining establishments offer 3 courses for around $40.00?


Eat Well,

-jbl

The Postmodern Soapbox - NominalTopic.blogspot.com

Twitter: jbzepol

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I'd posted asking about which was the better buffet, the Bellagio or the Wynn, over in the dining in Las Vegas thread, but I'll put my own personal review here, although they'll get mentioned in my wrap up over there. (Confused yet? :smile: )

We'd done the Bellagio buffet awhile ago, so we decided to go with the Wynn just to try it out. My verdict: it's up there, but frankly, I liked the Bellagio better for both depth and consistency.

Some of the items at the Wynn were very, very good, like the cucumber salad over by the sushi (I could have made a meal of that alone), the shrimp cocktail was outstanding, the housemade pretzels and ice cream and believe it or not the no sugar added pecan pie was incredible. The gorgonzola cheese on the salad bar was also outstanding, and the pork in lotus leaf was heavenly, just like I remember it being at a place in CA.

But then there were things like the roasted rabbit salad which was flavorless, and the tandoori chicken and ginger lamb which were flavorless and rubbery. The prime rib was even kind of eh at best. The pepperoni pizza, which smelled great, wasn't. And the crab legs, which people were lining up for like they were giving away money, were oversalted. (Although dunking them in drawn butter seemed to help with that.) In fact, most of the fish dishes were pretty good, which is definitely to their credit.

(To be fair, I did not sample the pastas or rice dishes because they fill you up too fast (that's rule 2 of my Rules Of Working The Buffet). They might have been great, but I had to make choices.)

I know that no buffet is without clunkers, but I remember my experience at Bellagio being more along the lines of "wow, I'm glad that's a lousy dish because there are already too many I'd like to have seconds of". That's part of the fun of a buffet - to sample a lot of different things and try things I might not otherwise - so I don't expect everything to be done perfectly.

The Wynn is definitely a worthy contender, but I'll have to try Bellagio's again next trip to confirm. Sometimes it's a rough job, but someone has to do it.


Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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I know foodies look down upon buffets, but going to Las Vegas without eating at buffet would be like going to San Francisco and not getting sour dough bread or going to San Gabriel Valley and not eating at a Chinese restaurant.

Right now, in 2011, what's considered the best buffet and the best value buffet in Vegas? I've read older posts about it but the quality of the buffets seem to shift with time- they start off with a big splash with good quality to draw in the locals but then decline. Years ago, the Paris buffet was a very good bargain but it seems their quality has dropped since then.

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I haven't been to a a buffet in Vegas in a few years. Last time I went was to Wynn. It was a weekend brunch. Pretty good. You may want to check out the newest buffet in town at The Cosmopolitan.


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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I know foodies look down upon buffets, but going to Las Vegas without eating at buffet would be like going to San Francisco and not getting sour dough bread or going to San Gabriel Valley and not eating at a Chinese restaurant.

Right now, in 2011, what's considered the best buffet and the best value buffet in Vegas? I've read older posts about it but the quality of the buffets seem to shift with time- they start off with a big splash with good quality to draw in the locals but then decline. Years ago, the Paris buffet was a very good bargain but it seems their quality has dropped since then.

The main problem with the buffets lately is the massive lines for ALL of them. (Except Sterling Brunch at Bally's on Sunday -- the $90 price tag keeps most people away.) Last time we did the buffet at Paris, it was a solid 2-hour wait. YMMV.

I haven't been to Sterling in roughly a year, but it's a phenomenal buffet -- Key West shrimp, Pacific oysters, Maine lobster, sushi, osetra caviar, and non-vintage French champagne. I think it's well worth the price.

As far as "value," that depends. The Studio B buffet at M Resort was a great bargain when they first opened. But the pricier proteins are no longer there. Free beer and wine, but don't expect any 90+ point Wine Spectator wines. The buffet at Green Valley Ranch always gets high marks in the Best of Las Vegas polls, but the food isn't special. It's just inexpensive.

In general, the "new" casino has the best buffet -- for about six months. Then they always seem to cut costs.


Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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In general, the "new" casino has the best buffet -- for about six months. Then they always seem to cut costs.

I believe the Cosmopolitan is the ' new' casino.

Is that the best buffet, or have they already started to cut corners and food costs already?

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In general, the "new" casino has the best buffet -- for about six months. Then they always seem to cut costs.

I believe the Cosmopolitan is the ' new' casino.

Is that the best buffet, or have they already started to cut corners and food costs already?

No idea -- I haven't been. I've been staying away from the buffets because the line is usually too long for me. Add to the fact that casinos are so desperate for revenue that they'll let people "line jump" if they pay a premium, and it can get ridiculous.

Also, in general, the food just isn't all that good. The quantity is there, sure. And it's prepared as well as can be expected considering the price. But don't go to a buffet expecting "Red Lobster" quality seafood. (And I don't eat at Red Lobster.)

Lately, I just take my "dining out" money and spend it at our AMAZING food markets. Why eat waterlogged, bland shrimp when we can have fresh sole, with a fennel beurre blanc?

EDIT -- That's not to say that you can't eat well on the cheap in Vegas.

Try the $2 shrimp cocktails at Golden Gate casino. Stop by the Fremont first and buy an armload of $1 margaritas. Ten bucks well spent.

If you're mobile, Market 168 and International Market have great little "hole in the wall" asian kitchens that serve nice Cantonese comfort food for very little. International Market is a MUST DO for any foodie, anyway.

For my all-you-can-eat dollar, the best deals are at the Brazilian steakhouses. In general, the further from the strip, the better.

We also have some really good Thai places sprinkled around town. Google them.

And of course, there's always the taco joints. I'm very fond of them.


Edited by ScoopKW (log)

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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I have moved away from the standard buffets in Vegas. Frankly, none of them are really good. Even one of the most expensive, Sterling Brunch, was a disappointment. Those skimpy overcooked lobsters just don't do it for me. The lobster bisque was the only thing that stood out as being good.

The only buffet that made me happy was the dim sum buffet over at Wing Lei. It was a special one year during X'mas/New Year time. Dim sum were brought out to you when you ordered them, each table received a seafood tower, lots of well made cooked food (still remember the wonderful red and green carrot soup, chicken porridge, marinated pig ear and braised pork belly), and a lot of fancy desserts. I also stuffed myself with fresh longans and rambutans. It was so worth $60.

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