hzp's tour of sucky vegas food
don't get me wrong, we're not TRYING to buy bad food.... we're midstrip, amongst the nicest places in vegas, and yet.... bad food abounds. its seroiusly funny.
I knew atleast one buffet was in our future, so I figured it was best to get it out of the way. We went through Paris (which as a hotel, was underwhelming) onto Bally's. years ago, Bally's was one of the best places on the strip, so we decided to eat there. Enter : Big Kitchen Buffet.
For 18$ a person, it had enough choices... but unless you were sticking to the peel and eat shrimp, most of it was a waste. The sushi was surprisingly not bad considering the level of everything else, but very limited selection. I headed to the carving station, always a safe bet. The prime rib was beyond well done. The other offerings was bad pasta, etc. THere was a pretty basic salad bar, and for reasons I don't understand, an asian station offering your basic panda express offerings. There were some veggies, the broccollini and tomatos were tasteless but not gross. There was a baked potato bar, I avoided it. I was disappointed.. i know there are decent buffets here, but this ain't one of them. Avoid with your LIFE.
I stuck to the peel and eat shrimp, the crab legs and the smoked salmon. The salmon and shrimp were fine. The crab legs were overcooked to the point that no crab actually was reachable.
To be fair, my other half was quite pleased selection wise... enjoying a tamale, salisbury steak and mexican offerings. Of course, within 2 hours he was sicker than he can remember being in the past and spent the night in his room.
Today, we spent the morning walking to be kind on his stomach. By 2 though, i was starving and insisted we stop. We were in the Forum shops, and I longingly passed Olives, Spago, Mesa, dude, even PF Changs looked good by then. But since we didn't want to sit long, we stopped at the food court. I grabbed a bowl of clam chowder, J grabbed a cheeseburger.
For fast food, it was nothing that fast food promises to be: fast, cheap, or decent. My other half, who has not abandoned a cheeseburger in his life, would not consume the last half, despite its 15$ price tag. The clam chowder came to vegas by way of Campbells, but I was starving, so I didn't care.
I did however, lay down the law: tonight, we go nowhere that doesn't have table service and atleast a 2 star rating:)
Mon Ami Gabi seems a promising bet.
well, I'm pleased to report that our remaining meals in vegas didn't suck. as much. :)
we had decided to go up the strip for the evening to the sort of places where they still bring drinks to you while you gamble, so we took the monorail up to circus circus. (or close to it. we walked about a mile from the las vegas hilton in anticipation of many oncoming calories and alcohol). My own stupidity barred us from dining at the well reviewed steakhouse at circus circus... saturday night on the strip, even though it was almost 9, we couldn't get in.
as j waved his hand around the casino and reminded me of the 1.99 hot dogs we'd just passed, i recomposed and suggested the riviera. we ended up at kristophers or some such name: the steakhouse in the riviera. we skipped the apps and went right to dinner: i took the filet with bearnaise, he a tbone, and a side of garlic mashed and mushrooms. On the good side: great bread. Seriously :) Atmosphere lacking, drinks a bit watery, and the salad laughable, but GREAT bread... a cinnamon raisin sorta concoction.
Dinner arrived. I have to say, my filet was not bad. A bit salty, the bearnaise was ice cold, but overall, i was just so damn happy to have an actual chef lay hands on what i was eating for the first time in days. J's t bone left a bit to be desired. He asked for medium, it was ACTUALLY bloody in the middle. Undaunted, he ate what he could. The garlic mashed were really good, but our standards by then were really off kilter, so who knows.
We skipped desert, but were brought some "smoking bon bons"...
me:"can we hope that perhaps they'll be bringing ricky martin to our table instead of something we have to eat?"
j: "unlikely, but surprisingly welcome"
the shocker was really the price tag, which took our really median meal directlydonotpassgo to a joke. 110$ with tip. Don't get me wrong, I know you could easily drop a few hundred on dinner here, but for that money, i'd like something decent.
Regardless, my memory of dinner was soon washed clean by both a particularly tall del's lemonade freshingly flavored with grain alcohol, and j's win at the slots, putting as a bit ahead on dinner.
This morning, while J was ready to throw in the towel, my Del's hangover (and I'm pretty sure Del had a taller cousin named mai tai that I met much later that evening) i thought we'd give it ONE LAST TRY and do brunch. It was 11, why not? I was even willing to give the Spice Buffet a try, and lord knows J got a little light on his feet when i mentioned "buffet". The line detered us, but there was NO way I was getting in the car without coffee, so we hopped in line at the Daily News or Daily Planet or some such thing and ....
got the best meal we had in vegas (which, of course, i qualify with all above statements). It was, amongst other things, fast: we waited in line for 7 minutes and then were sat. Although we'd have lounged for a bit, we were immediately waited on, coffee came within seconds, our order within 20 minutes. ). Good: I ordered a benedict with crab cakes that happily featured a really GOOD amt of real crabmeat in two huge crabcakes, great hollandaise, and even the potatoes it was served with were great. J ordered the "big breakfast" or "the man's breakfast" or perhaps it was called "a wee bit of every meat product we have with a side of starch" breakfast. Regardless, the meat all looked as it should and was featured around two of the fluffiest pancakes I've ever seen. Cheap: for 40$ we ate well, had coffee, orange juice, etc, and that included tip. Servers were gracious and fast.... thumbs up.
I don't really know when I'll be back in vegas.... truth be told I don't know that I'd willingly throw myself on the fire again. But if I did, I would definitely:
-not assume there's a standard of food or that higher end hotels will have decent food
-mortgage my home
That happened to me last time I was in Vegas, too. The worst was actually Spago at the Forum shops. My dining partner got a pork tenderloin sandwich that tasted like those pre-made ones in gas stations. I had an unremarkable soup/salad combo. The other bad(ish) experience was at the restaurant at the Eiffel Tower in the Paris. The food was plain mediocre, service was not good. Dessert, however, was very good. The redeeming value of the reservation was the view of the fountains across the street at the Bellagio. I swear that next time I go to Vegas I'm making reservations for everything beforehand. After doing thorough research. I have heard really good things about the tater tots (!) at Stackers and the Lobster Creamed Corn. Any tips?