Vegas - Bellagio breakfast buffet review and Bellagio VS Paris SMACKDOWN!
Tuesday, February 5, 2008. BF and I were planning to head back to the Paris for another go at their breakfast buffet (more Nutella for me), but at the last minute we changed our minds and headed to the Bellagio to check out their breakfast buffet. We got there at 9:30ish and were seated right away. The place was half empty, but the buffet was bustling. The atmosphere here was a little dreary – much more generic looking than the Paris and more obviously “buffet”-like, if that makes sense. The waitress brought us fresh-squeezed OJ (nice touch) and coffee, then we descended on the buffet.
A quick perusal of the offerings revealed the usual selection of breakfast goods (scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, French toast, fresh-made pancakes, waffles, omelet bar), plus at least 4 different types of fried and roasted potatoes and…GRAVY! BF was thrilled. There was an extensive selection of cereals and yogurts and all the fixings you could possibly want (cold cereal, oatmeal, cream of wheat, fresh and cooked fruit toppings, granola, etc) and a large selection of pastries (including some slightly unusual offerings like pound cake and bread pudding). The more savory selections included smoked salmon and white fish with all the usual toppings plus some unusual ones (wasabi, red onion jam, a dill sauce, etc), an asian bar (curried duck at 9:30am, anyone?), a breakfast burrito bar, a few random meat dishes (roasted salmon, etc) and a pizza bar with both conventional and breakfast pizzas.
BF and I went our separate ways as usual – he hit the potatoes and gravy, I hit the smoked fish. I selected an onion bagel, a wheat roll and a croissant as possible vehicles for my salmon, plus some sausage and a chunk of beef tenderloin (which was just sort of randomly sitting next to the omelet station), and went back to dig in. Verdict? Smoked salmon good, smoked white fish BAD. Also, bagels REALLY BAD. Luckily the wheat roll was passable. Why on earth are bagels so bad here? Anyway, I ate my salmon with cream cheese and red onion jam (which was really tasty), my beef (which was dry) and then turned to the sausage. It looked just like the sausage we’d had at the Paris, so I was expecting it to BE the same. Uh, no. DISGUSTING. This is coming from a gal who never met a sausage she didn’t like – I mean, I like brown-n-serve. Not only was this bad, it didn’t taste like BREAKFAST sausage – it was sort of like the most horrible bratwurst ever. Yuck. I then turned to BF’s plate and poached a piece of bacon (decent), a bite of potatoes lyonnaise with gravy (very good – the potatoes were crispy and tender with lots of onion and the gravy was creamy with chunks of non-bratwurst sausage in it), and an ill-advised bite of scrambled eggs. EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW! What on earth! I don’t know for sure, but I would bet my paycheck that they use powdered eggs to make their scrambled eggs. UNACCEPTABLE. BF was also dismayed and had to go get more potatoes and gravy to console himself.
I headed back up and got some berries from the fruit bar, which was fairly extensive and looked to be of good quality. The berries I had were good, and BFs melon was fine as well. We also hit the pizza bar, which was surprisingly good – usually buffet pizza sucks, but they were making this fresh in an open oven right behind the buffet and it was very tasty – we had a bacon-basil slice and a pepperoni slice. There were several “breakfast” pizzas, but they all involved eggs and I was not touching any egg in that place with a 10 foot pole! I was considering pancakes or French toast, but the only syrup available was Aunt Jemima and I am a real maple snob. I did take a cheese blintz with strawberry sauce, but one bite showed me what a bad idea that was. BF had some French toast which he thought very good (they use a nice thick cut bread to make it).
Obviously, I wasn’t about to go hungry, but I still didn’t feel like I’d eaten anything satisfying, so I checked out the asian bar. Unfortunately, I think everyone felt it was a little early for asian because everything looked like it had been sitting for hours. I did take a sample of Singapore-style noodles, which were fine but nothing special. I returned to the smoked salmon, which was excellent, and then finished off my meal with a little ice cream (really bad soft serve) with caramel sauce (fine).
Bellagio versus Paris SMACKDOWN:
Ambiance: Paris, hands down. Neither one is as nice as a sit-down place, but at least the kitschy cuteness of the Paris helps you forget that you’re at a buffet.
Service: Tie. Both had polite and capable service.
Food: Paris. Not that everything at the Paris was amazing, but I wasn’t disgusted by anything I tasted there. Not so with the Bellagio. The breakdown:
Gravy: Bellagio (by default)
Breads: Neither. Someone needs to remedy the bread situation in Vegas, pronto.
French Toast: Tie (Bellagio was made with thicker bread, but was soggy in the middle)
Syrup/Toppings: Paris (both should be slapped for not offering real maple syrup, but at least the Paris had a few fruit sauces and whipped cream)
Smoked Salmon: Tie (although Bellagio had more interesting toppings)
Sweets: Paris (the crepe station alone beat anything the Bellagio had to offer. Their selections of pastries were probably equal, but the Paris had a number of things like flan and chocolate mousse that were missing at the Bellagio)
Non-breakfast savory items: Paris (the pizza was good at the Bellagio, but there was just SO much more at the Paris – carving stations, grilled meats, stews, etc)
Variety: Paris. Perhaps this is because we were at the champagne brunch at the Paris and it was just regular breakfast at the Bellagio, but there were many, many more interesting options at the Paris. Also, the non-breakfast options at the Paris were more palatable at breakfast time than the random asian station at the Bellagio.
If I hadn’t been to the Paris, I might have found the Bellagio acceptable, but I would probably not have returned because I know there has to be better out there. However, since I have been to the Paris, I would NOT return to the Bellagio under any circumstances. I wouldn’t mind searching out an even better breakfast buffet in Vegas, but the Paris is a solid choice, slightly cheaper than the Bellagio, and totally recommendable!
This posting was a great read.....hilarious. Thanks for putting the time in to write it...I truly laughed out loud.
thanks for the interesting / entertaining reviews ...i'm trying to remember the last time i had a breakfast buffet in vegas ...and i'm here every week !! i would be very surprised that bellagio used powdered eggs, but the fact is, not much surprises me anymore...gee...no maple syrup..?!?! that's wrong !!! price of each ???
Kjs, the Bellagio was $15, and I believe the Paris is $13 for breakfast but it was $25 for the champagne brunch. As I recall, the Bellagio's champagne brunch is $28-29, so the Paris is a hair cheaper on both counts. As for the syrup, they had syrup aplenty at both places, but I refuse to eat fake maple syrup. If they can afford to have smoked salmon on their buffet, surely they can afford to spring for real maple syrup!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Great posting! I really like the smackdown format: comparing not only overall buffets but also individual foods. What a great way to learn about each of these places (their relative strengths & weaknesses). I'll try to adopt it for some of my future posts.
I like your humor, too. After reading your posts, I'm thinking that maybe it's time for me to stop taking my own posts so seriously--"Hey folks! I've got something important to say here"--that sort of thing.
Oops. I hope that didn't come out wrong. I take what you say seriously, but I like how you say it in a non-serious or funny way.
See? Now I'm taking myself too seriously!
On with the food reports!
I think I like "smackdown" a lot better than the ubiquitous Food Network terms "throwdown" & (especially) "challenge."
In fact, maybe it's time to resurrect MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch except with restaurants. "This week on RESTAURANT DEATHMATCH: Golden Gate Casino Shrimp Cocktail vs. Slots-O-Fun Hot Dogs!"
Oooh yeah, DEATHMATCH! I love it! I agree with you that Throwdowns and Challenges are getting a little old on the Food Network. I used to watch the Food Network all the time, but when they stopped airing Molto Mario (and other real chef shows) in favor of 3 hours a day of both Rachael Ray and Sandra Lee, I tuned out and now I only watch Good Eats!
I only has dinner at the Bellagio buffet, but my dinner experience was about equal to your breakfast one. If it wasn't for good dessert, I would have left hungry.