The Bite of the Bacchanal

Las Vegas buffets, almost by definition, are good deals, whether it’s a $9.99 dinner at Boulder Station or a $34.95 gourmet-style dinner at the Wynn. So, if someone puts together a spread that’s better than the Wynn’s and still charges $34.95, it’s special. That’s what Caesars Palace did with the Bacchanal Buffet (see Page 32), only it didn’t last long.

Less than three weeks after opening, the price for dinner was raised $5 to $39.99. Then a week after that, it was raised another $5 to $44.99. Additionally, a $3 discount for showing a Total Rewards Card was decreased to $2 off for lunch and dinner and only $1 off for breakfast. Current pricing, assuming you secure the TR Card discount, is $20.99 for breakfast, $26.99 for lunch, and $42.99 for dinner. Those are now the highest in town (and it had to be a record for an upward price adjustment).

Is it worth it? Judge for yourself. Here are some highlights:

In the seafood section you’ll find big cocktail shrimp, whole steamed shrimp, small king crab legs that you can have heated if you like, raw oysters, oyster shooters, mussels, ceviche, paella, and soups and chowders, along with baked and steamed fish.

The grill serves up brisket, ribs, rotisserie chicken, turkey, sausage, ribeye and prime rib. This station also has lots of good cooked vegetables, too, such as fried broccoli, corn on the cob and grilled asparagus.

The Mexican station has authentic south-of-the-border meat and soup preparations, fresh guacamole, pickled peppers and about 25 different hot sauces. The Italian station features elaborate antipasto and wood-oven pizzas.

The sushi is as good as any I’ve had in a buffet—tuna, salmon, and shrimp nigiri, along with a selection of cut rolls and poke. The Chinese selections feature roast duck, wok-fried dishes and about a half-dozen types of dim sum.

Interspersed among the primary cuisine stations are all sorts of gems. Specialty salads—Greek, caprese, Caesar—are lined up on little plates, along with freshly baked breads and rolls. There’s a charcuterie selection and cheese board; sliders and fries in a basket; stuffed grape leaves and tabouli; and kalbi and kimchee, along with all the appropriate mustards, oils, spreads, salsas and dipping sauces to go with them.

Dessert? Are you kidding? Choose from regular or milk-chocolate crème brûlée; chocolate-covered strawberries; bananas Foster; made-to-order soufflés and crêpes with fresh strawberries, raspberries, boysenberries and blueberries; pies; cakes; cookies; bread pudding; and 20 flavors of ice cream and sorbet.

On top of the great grub, it’s also a bona fide culinary happening, given the spectacle of it all and the reality that this may be the best buffet in Las Vegas history. So, yes, even at the recently raised prices, I’d still call it a deal. But you’d better get there before they raise ‘em again—this baby’s good enough that they might get away with it.