I’m not a frequent visitor to Las Vegas because I’m not much into gambling but every now and then, work brings me to the area. And of course, when in Las Vegas, do as Las Vegasians do! (Awful English, I know). So last year I ended up at Gordon Ramsay’s Steak which was an amazing and expensive meal. This year, I started off my Las Vegas visit on the other end of the spectrum, the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesar’s Palace. Not to say that Bacchanal was cheap at $45.99 (non-alcoholic beverages included) but still a casual eating affair.
The entry to Bacchanal is adorned in white and glass, a clean modern look. A serpentine waiting area hints at long lines here but coming in at 5:30pm meant I breezed in. Pay up at front, I get a pair of silicon pinchers used to pick up hot dishes off the buffet. A short wait and I’m led in back to a large open space filled with families, young adults and elderly couples. There are 5 or 6 different dining areas all decked out in modern organic decor so Bacchanal feels a bit upscale for a buffet. Sort of. There are six or seven different buffet areas: cold seafood bar (oysters, mussels, shrimp, etc), a carving area with American favorites (prime rib, fried chicken, sausage, etc), a Mexican area with tacos and more, a salad and charcuterie area, an Asian area (dim sum, Chinese favorites, sushi), along with an Italian area with Alaskan king crab legs. And finally, a large dessert spread in the middle of the floor with all sorts of pastries, sweets, candies and more, phew!
I admit that I’m a bit overwhelmed by it all, there are tons of choices and I’m not sure how to attack. So a glass of chardonnay gets things started, Bacchanal has a short list from $7 – $13 a glass. My first plate is focused on the meats along with some cheesy broccoli. The prime rib is decent and carved to order, my kobe slider is very well done as is the sausage. Bacchanal definitely uses quality meats and ingredients. Love the cheesy broccoli but know I shouldn’t be filling up on greens! My next visit is focused on the Asian area where I grab some shu-mei, har-gow, roast pork and duck but I skip the rice and carbs. And the taste is here in these ethnic dishes. But unfortunately steamed goodies like dim sum needs to be served really fresh so the Bacchanal version is a bit off.
My final savory visit brings me to a lasagna, seared sea bass, shrimp and grits which are all quite good but a bit luke warm. The lasagna is made with thin layered noodles and a rich bechamel sauce which worked out nicely but I was filling up quickly. A challenge to any buffet is finding the freshest food so look for items with high turnover or stay good under a heat lamp. And finally a visit to the dessert bar where I grab a chocolate creme brulee, key lime tart and blackberry parfait, all very good. The beauty here is that the desserts don’t need to stay warm so the buffet model serves well in keeping the taste and quality decent.
I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge eater no matter how much I pretend to be. And even after starving myself all day, my visit to Bacchanal was barely 2 hours long, I have some friends who would have unbuckled their pants and sat there for 3 – 4 hours chowing down! The portions at Bacchanal are all small individual portions but I still found myself filling up quickly. And the overall hectic nature and binge eating at Bacchanal doesn’t make for a relaxing meal. Think people buzzing around with heaping plates and noisy kids which is about par for any buffet.
So if I ever came back, I think you’d be much better off doing lunch which is less money and meant to be more casual. For dinner, I’d rather pay more money and get a bit of personal service, call me a dining snob it you’d like! But Bacchanal does a very nice job with their eats, in particular their desserts. There’s no doubt it may be the best buffet I’ve been to but in the end, the whole concept has mixed interest to me. But make no mistake, if you have a big appetite and like a large variety of cuisines, Bacchanal is a great place to be. Just come early, come hungry and you’ll be having a great meal, bon appetit and more…
3570 S. Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89109