The Gleeful Gourmand: A Feast Even The Romans Would Envy

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Feast Even The Romans Would Envy

A $17 million restaurant. Nine kitchens. 500 food items to choose from.

You basically know what you're going to get when you sign up to eat at a buffet, and the line above is not it. Rarely is anything ever fresh. Most dishes languish sadly under heat lamps, and despite the right price and the beckon of tempting desserts and chocolate fountains, you know it's not going to be a lavish affair. Buffets rarely are. Unless you're in Las Vegas, that is.

Vegas has been known for a long time for their buffets - places to fuel you up and overindulge you before spitting you back out into the casinos where you have no idea what time it is, and your money seems to disappear mysteriously from your wallet. When you talk about Vegas buffets, you talk about them with a sort of nostalgic fondness. And the two I've been to have been quite good.

The Bacchanal Buffet in Caesar's Palace promises to be more than "quite good." It promises to take hedonistic gastronomy to a level previously unheard of. At around $40 per guest, you can sample all ranges of fair featuring only the freshest ingredients, with many dishes being made out on the open so you can enjoy their creation. Most dishes will rival anything you'll find in other high-end eateries. But it's not just about the fare - the chefs have been professionally trained to interact with guests, and the number of staff is around 180. That's more than enough people to cater to your every culinary whim.

Of course, there are already many high-end buffets in Vegas that have the same type of concept, but Bacchanal hopes to edge out the competition with its decor as well. Roughly the size of half a football field, it will overlook the Garden of the Gods pool complex in a thoroughly modern setting.

I'm not one to usually raise my hand when asked who wants to go to a buffet to eat. My favorite breakfast spot in Las Vegas is Society Café in the Encore, with its not-to-be missed gigantic cinnamon bun that your table can share. But even I have to admit that the fare offered at The Bacchanal Buffet sounds too sumptuous to pass up: Red Velvet Pancakes, house-smoked BBQ, dim sum, and miniature fry baskets holding a serving of waffles and fried chicken are just a tiny fraction of what's being served.

But my question is, would you be satisfied shelling out $40 for a meal when you know that you'll only be able to gulp down a fraction of the offerings? Would you be willing to go back again and again at that price during what is usually a short stay in Vegas? Caesar's Palace is betting that you will, and I feel certain that the next time I'm there, it will be on my list of things to do.


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