Is there a buffet in this town that’s still worth a damn?

Believe it or not, quite a few. Things have come a long way since 1946, when the El Rancho rolled out its Chuck Wagon—and almost as far again since I was a hungry undergrad stuffing myself at the city’s low-buck gorge-fests. You can still find those, but I prefer to balance quantity with quality. For this reason, I steer toward Sunday Brunches. They may no longer take place in the soaring showrooms, replete with the ice sculptures and champagne fountains I recall from my childhood, but brunches still offer a tasty, limitless dining experience … at a price.

Bally’s Sterling Sunday Brunch is a standard setter—and for $85 a person, it better be. It’s fancy and formal, and with all-you-can-scarf sea bass, lobster tails, caviar and the like, this is definitely not a steam-cart subterfuge. My taste, however, runs more toward the country-club casual found at the Four Seasons Verandah ($37), where on Saturdays and Sundays you’ll see guys in seersucker shorts and polo shirts sidle up to gals in summery dresses to share some of the best-tasting breakfast grub in town. Don’t miss the fresh mini-doughnuts.

If you prefer a regular buffet, you’ll find the best ones at the high-end casinos; Wynn and Bellagio each offer excellent dinners for less than $40, with the latter staging a “gourmet” weekend dinner for a $7 bump that includes Kobe beef and other high-end selections. And if you haven’t yet tried it, the Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan ($35 dinner) is the gorge du jour. The setup feels more like you are browsing a selection of tasty, high-quality small plates (Blackened crawfish? Grilled skirt steak? Yes!).

In general, expect to spend at least $22 for a quality dinner. It’s not $3.99, but it’s still not bad when considering the tariffs of other restaurants at the same properties.

Does the sequence TBH041 mean anything to you?

That was the license plate number (1982 blue plate, Nevada) of Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal’s Cadillac coupe—the one firebombed outside the East Sahara Avenue location of Tony Roma’s in October 1982. Rosenthal, the Chicago Mob’s reputed front man at the Stardust, was portrayed—loosely or accurately, depending on whom you ask—by Robert De Niro (as the Rosenthalian “Ace Rothstein”) in the 1995 film Casino. Rosenthal reportedly survived the attempted hit thanks to a metal plate under the driver’s seat of the Caddy.

If you are going to test me, you’ll have to do better than that.



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