All-You-Can-Imagine

TAKE THE VEGAS BUFFET CHALLENGE

The bulletin-board note posted to our staff read as follows: "Writer wanted. Mission: Accept the Vegas Buffet Challenge. It's BYOB (Bring Your Own Bib)." One brave, hungry soul stepped up to the plate, literally. Here is his story:

Six buffets. 48 hours.

It’s like someone invented a new sport, and with me specifically in mind. I felt like I had been training for this moment for most of my life. I could already picture myself ascending to the top of the podium to receive my championship medal … providing the structure didn’t collapse from the extra weight I would surely be packing on during my two-day buffet binge.

But here’s the thing I learned during my Vegas Buffet Challenge. Sure, it’s always all you can eat here. But the food is so good at Las Vegas’ top buffets that I found myself in no hurry to fill up another plate, savoring every bite as I went along. Simply put, Las Vegas buffets are where quality and quantity happily co-exist.

DAY 1

So, where to begin? The best part about the Vegas Buffet Challenge is that there really are no wrong answers. I decided breakfast at Wynn Las Vegas was a great way to start this day … or any day, for that matter. From there, I went to downtown Las Vegas for lunch at the Golden Nugget, and for dinner, I took a ride south on Las Vegas Boulevard to the M Resort for its renowned Studio B buffet.

THE BUFFET at WYNN LAS VEGAS (M-F, breakfast 8-11a, lunch 11a-3:30p, dinner 3:30-10p. Sat-Sun brunch 8a-3:30p, dinner 3:30-10p.)

If I wasn’t awake when I walked into the buffet, let’s just say I didn’t need coffee to do the trick. Everything about this place was a real eye-opener, from the chefs manning a huge rotating griddle serving up pancakes and even street tacos, which apparently they do whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. I stuck to traditional breakfast fare, but I did check out the dessert options just to see what they offered. French pastries dipped in various chocolates, rice cereal treats and fruit, and a rotating gelato station that even included vegan options.

I’d heard that The Buffet was renovated about a year ago to add more than 120 new, innovative dishes and desserts and I can only imagine what lunch and dinner are like here. The quality was fantastic and the variety was even more impressive.

THE BUFFET at GOLDEN NUGGET (M-F, breakfast 7-10:30a, lunch 10:30a-3p. nightly dinner 3:30-9p; Sat-Sun brunch 7a-3:30p.)

The Buffet at the Golden Nugget is nestled on the hotel's second floor, away from the crowds and activity of one of downtown Las Vegas' signature resorts. You can sit in the main dining room or overlook the pool, if you prefer. 

The pasta live cooking station provided for a nice lunchtime treat, and everything served was fresh. I was pacing myself, so I didn't sample all of the 100-plus options, but the thought did cross my mind. Definitely a great spot to indulge before walking up and down the Fremont Street Experience.

STUDIO B at M RESORT (M-T, lunch 11a-2:30p, dinner 2:30-8:30p. Fri brunch, 11a-2, dinner 2:30-8:30p. Sat-Sun brunch 11a-8:30p.)

You don’t need an MBA to know that the M Resort’s Studio B Buffet is an A+ experience. More than 200 items and I was eager to try as many as possible.

Nothing disappointed. Great variety and the meal price included adult beverages, which was a plus. The Asian and Indian dishes were particular standouts, but there were no wrong answers here.

DAY 2

After that incredible dining adventure, I couldn’t wait for the encore. My attack plan was breakfast at Red Rock Resort in Summerlin, a few miles from downtown, then back to the Strip for the Excalibur buffet and to finish off this six-pack, dinner at the Bacchanal buffet inside Caesars Palace.

THE FEAST at RED ROCK RESORT (M-Sat, breakfast 8-11a, Sun-Thu, lunch 11a-3:30p, Fri-Sat lunch 11a-3p, nightly dinner 3:30-9p, Sun brunch 8a-3:30p.)

It’s called “The Feast” for a reason. At Red Rock, the jewel of the Station Casinos chain of Las Vegas resorts, you’ll find a wonderful variety of breakfast options, including a live cooking station where you can order custom omelets and other breakfast favorites. The buffet itself is elegant and I’d eaten there for dinner before, so I was well aware of the variety and food quality. Good start to the day.  

THE BUFFET at EXCALIBUR (M-F breakfast 7-11a, lunch 11a-4p, dinner 4-10p. Sat-Sun brunch 7a-3p, dinner 3-10p.)

After undergoing a $6.2 million renovation a couple of years ago, the new Buffet at Excalibur is nothing like its predecessor. The new contemporary design is a huge upgrade and the food certainly is worth a try. The vanilla bean adobo chicken taco and tortellini with shrimp were quite tasty.

I enjoyed a hand-dipped ice cream bar from the dessert station. The made-to-order crepes looked delicious, too.

BACCHANAL BUFFET at CAESARS PALACE (M-F brunch, 7:30a-3p, Sat-Sun brunch 8a-3p, nightly dinner 3-10p.)

To cap off two days of incredible dining, what better place than the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace? You’ll find more than 500 food options served daily (including more than 100 pastries) and nine open kitchen stations with chefs preparing dishes.

What blew me away were some of the pre-paired portions already plated for you, like the shrimp and grits and ceviche with mango slaw. It’s every food lover’s dream, from the Mexican bar with fresh guacamole and lima salsa, to the snow crab and fresh shucked oysters, to the pad Thai. I finished off the meal with a Nutella crunch gelato.

After completing the challenge, I was quickly reminded how the buffet landscape in Las Vegas has evolved from all-you-can-eat to everything-you-want-to-eat. If you love variety and delicious dishes, it’s a challenge worth accepting!

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