There’s nothing worse than being behind the guy or gal in line at a buffet who scoops up the entire top layer of cheese with their spoonful of lasagna. How about finally spotting the beef and broccoli, only to find a heap of broccoli without a trace of beef, or walking up to the sushi bar for sad and soggy California rolls? All problems of the past.
At the new Bacchanal Buffet in Caesars Palace, 75 of the more than 500 menu items are presented as individually portioned items in charming little bowls, cast-iron skillets and custom-made china. And unlike the messy, traditional chafing dishes and hotel pans of the past, these fresh dishes haven’t been suffering under a heat lamp, because as soon as a few guests pick them up, another new batch is put out.
The trend landed in December 2010 with Cosmopolitan’s Wicked Spoon, but didn’t stop with the Cosmo.
“The miniature dishes are some of our most popular items,” says Bacchanal executive chef, Scott Green. “People eat with their eyes first, … and these minis add a different element to the traditional buffet. It’s not the trough style of feeding people anymore; it’s this little portion, just for them.”
Want to give it a try? We snagged Bacchanal’s recipe for its roasted South Carolina shrimp and grits, served in individual cast-iron skillets (try urLaTable.com) for that Southern, home-cooked look, a little touch that goes a long way.
Cheesy Cheddar Cheese Grits with Chorizo and Shrimp Sauce
1 cup instant grits
5 cups half and half
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
3 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Bring half and half, salt and white pepper to a simmer in a large saucepan. Add the grits and whisk for 10 minutes so the grits do not stick to the bottom of the pot. Then whisk in the grated cheddar and Parmesan cheeses. Adjust the seasoning to taste and remove from the stovetop, but keep warm. Spoon the grits into your serving vessels followed by two shrimp and a spoonful of chorizo and shrimp sauce (see recipe below). Garnish with chopped chives.
Chorizo and Shrimp Sauce
2 tablespoon blended oil (25% olive and 75% canola)
½ cup diced bacon
1 cup of small cubed chopped chorizo
5 tablespoons of finely chopped onion
4 tablespoons small cubed red bell pepper
4 tablespoons small cubed yellow bell pepper
4 tablespoons small cubed green bell pepper
1 tablespoon of fine minced garlic
1 teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon slurry (equal part water and cornstarch)
12 each peeled and deveined shrimp (preferably small shrimp)
Chopped chives for garnish
Add oil to a large saucepan and warm on medium heat. Cook diced bacon and cubed sausage until crispy. Add onions and bell peppers and cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Add minced garlic, Old Bay, paprika and cayenne pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and bring the sauce to a simmer. Add the slurry and cook for 5 minutes or until it thickens. Add the raw shrimp and cook until the shrimp is cooked. Serve over grits.