Buffets in Vegas are a sure bet if your goal is all-you-can-eat. However, each hotel buffet has its own personality and here we weigh in on three, located mid-strip, Flamingo, Paris and Bellagio.
Surprisingly, the higher priced Bellagio at $29.95 was the least appealing overall. Summarizing by category of favorites to keep it simple here are best and worst based on Tuesday – Thursday dinner visits.
Crab – Bellagio offers both king and snow crab, but the legs are pre-split lengthways making the meat saltier and dry. Paris offers full crab claws, but unless you bring your own hammer, it was next to impossible to eat these. Flamingo’s is the best bet for crab lovers, with leg clusters sweet and abundant.
Sushi – Bellagio moves ahead here, with a good spread of vegetable and standard rolls, chef special roll – (tempura shrimp in this instance) and a flavorful tuna poke, as well as salmon and tuna sushi. They also had a variety of accompaniment salads including cucumber and seaweed that were quite tasty. The Flamingo has an Asian section that can be easily missed as it is in the back of the buffet area, almost out of sight and includes all other Asian dishes in this tucked away corner.
Salad bar – All offer a good variety of greens and toppings, but Bellagio also had three staff served specialty salads that are higher end, with our favorite being a shrimp nicoise inspired version with green beans, red potato, olives and garlic shrimp.
Meats and sides – Paris is far and away the best in this category. All offered a variety of lamb, fowl, beef, but Paris takes it a step further with higher end menu items, such as duck confit, and duck a la orange. A separate grill station is cooking up poultry, tri-tip, sausages and wonderfully grilled vegetables including meaty portabello mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and asparagus. Other unique sides were sweetly braised purple cabbage and a delicious cassoulet – a hearty bean and meat stew. Also, don’t miss trying the French onion soup, even without the traditional bread and melted cheese topper it is outstanding.
Desserts – Not surprisingly, Paris is your winner here. All of desserts sampled at Bellagio were room temperature with a watery tasteless crème brulee and a key lime tart that was rubbery and pulling away from the crust, and a room temp éclair a sure sign that it was not at its freshest. A big surprise since we were right at dinner hour. The Flamingo dessert samplings were unremarkable. Paris crème brulee was at the correct temperature with the correct amount of sweetness and the key lime tart was fresh, cool and creamy as was a tangy raspberry cheesecake. In addition, if you really want to indulge, Paris has a made to order crepe station.
To sum it up, your can definitely win a few pounds at each of these buffets, but Paris will give you more game for your gastronomy bet.