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Bishpsbitter Las Vegas blow-by-blow Trip Blog

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Plan to post meal updates this week as perusing eats in 2011 LV.

I am staying at the Rio so started off with the Village Seafood Buffet.

Although I went there Monday (on a slow week) and we know this is taboo in some seafood circles . . . . this was not the place I remembered from 6-7 years back (maybe longer).

First the price (about $43 incl tax) is not exactly user-friendly and no free glass of wine or anything to take the sting out. (A lot has changed since my last visit here.)

Then a perplexing waiter interchange as follows:

"You want drink?"
"Yes please, I'd like a cocktail."
"No Coke, Pepsi."
"No, a cocktail."
"Only Pepsi, sorry."

The fella was nice enough but we had extensive communication problems subsequently about wine as well. Then paying for the drinks was painful too. Can't bill to room without some slip that I don't have with me. So eventually pay by credit card. $25 for a G&T and a glass of mediocre wine!! Again, the tab is already $70 PAID and I haven't eaten or drank a thing! And I thought buffets were all about abundance at a good price . . . hmmm.

But all would have been well had the seafood been great. It was NOT great. In fact it stank (some of it literally.)

Clearly everyone comes for the crab legs which begs the question (given the plethora of all-you-can-eat crab legs for $15.99 across the US) why they don't just do that and slash the price to 1/3rd.

Nothing seemed pristine (the most important factor with seafood). I started with sushi and sashimi. Salmon was OK but the tuna was poor as was the whitefish offered. The sushi rolls standard but tired (as if sat around for some time) in taste and texture. Even the pickled ginger just seemed stale and non-vibrant, ditto the wasabi. Ditto EVERYTHING!

I then dabbled with some clams and mussels. Bad idea. The clams are what stunk the most. Awful. One set of mussels was Ok, the other worse, and some sitting unopened and unappetizing as such worst of all. And the oysters ! Yuk to the nth power. Revoltingly served in ice full of partially shucked other oyster meat remnants and semi liquid ice muck.

A good tip for the drinks had softened the waiter with whom I could not converse but he never did offer a glass of water (I know it's not the default in desert LV) for his good tip. I could have appreciated one.

So I wandered around for something decent. I found it in the humble New england clam chowder. It didn't taste horrible (but is a hard dish to totally mess up). The Manhattan was not so successful.

I skipped the crab legs as a lot of the ones I saw were unappetizingly skimpy and "drippy."

I tried some prime rib along with the american south fried shrimp and calamari. Calamari poor. Oh and the boiled shrimp had earlier with the clams and mussels had no taste (no salt).

The people watching (for a solo diner) is always interesting and I was once again set to pondering the various techniques with which people approach buffet strategy and tactics. For example I saw a young man with a quite attractive date who were seated then he said something like "I'm off" and disappeared to get his rations for 15 minutes leaving the quite attractive young lady to her own devices. Clearly chivalry (and perhaps the Golden Age of Rio buffets) is dead.

I REALLY didn't enjoy this. It was poor value, and poor quality and only just passable cleanliness and service. I am hoping for much better things to come. I will post updates as I delve into them, I have a previous post here about Bouchon. should I just leave that really good memory alone or risk a return visit . . .

Thanks a lot for reading this and subsequent posts on this LV trip. If anyone can recommend a seafood buffet (or special or spread) that does not disappoint I'd love to turn this around.

Not a good start but it must (?!) . . . maybe . . . all upwards from here.

BB

-----
Bouchon
3355 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Village Seafood Buffet
3700 W Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89103

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  1. Really great write-up for a not great experience! I've avoided the Rio ever since Harrah's took over... food does not seem to be a priority for that operation. My current fave buffet is at the Hard Rock (formerly the Alladin). A bit less expensive than Bellagio, with a variety and quality that is pretty darned close. The last time I was there the service rocked.

    Looking forward to more posts!

    -----
    Bellagio
    3600 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV

    Hard Rock Cafe
    4475 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89169

    3 Replies
    1. re: GroovinGourmet

      Planet Ho was formerly the Aladdin, did you mean that? I heard the Buffet was not bad there.

      1. re: vegasmike

        Oops! My bad... it is indeed Planet Hollywood. Got my cultural icon chains mixed up. <wink>

        I think the buffet is still called the Spice Market as it was when it was the Aladdin. I used to like the Paris buffet, and I still think it's the best buffet room given the decor, but the food has gone downhill since I first visited.

        -----
        Planet Hollywood
        3667 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

        1. re: GroovinGourmet

          Yes Planet Ho and the Moorish windows is a pretty "uneasy" mixture. :-)

    2. Part the Second:

      Day Two dawned beautiful and bright after a cool overcast Day One. I pulled the car from the valet at the Rio and headed for my favorite coffee shop for breakfast. This is the Bay City Diner at the Golden Gate. I love the Golden Gate generally for its history, the shrimp, the friendly craps, and its cool (literally) restrooms. So head for the familiar Bay City and immediately note some sort of change. sure enough, a Canadian couple next to me at the counter (where I always breakfast) are grilling the waitress "where's so-and-so, where's . . . ?" (all the waitstaff they've known for years. sure enough Bay City Diner is now Du-Par's (I think that was the name) and is under new ownership. Worse, the familiar short-order cook was gone. "A lot of people left." And sure enough it wasn't quite up to snuff any longer. Slow order turnaround (athough not at all busy) and unfilled coffee: never happened before.

      Plus ca change, plus ca la meme SUCKS.

      Not horrible, just not as good as it was.

      Also noted the Union plaza had closed. Downtown generally has a bit of a feeling of hard times. More of which later.

      Drove up the Strip to the Paris where left the car and walked south on LVB. Although the elderly Canadian couple's opinion of the Cosmopolitan was "beautiful, but we don't like it" I wanted to check it out for myself, along with other places that had sprung up since my last trip. I must say the "balcony thing" with this new cluster of buildings was quite interesting to me. You'd think any number of liability and noise issues would have nixed such a thing but it certainly is a new and retro (at the same time) architectural gambit.

      Sure enough the Cosmopolitan was beautiful . . . but I didn't really like it. I did however case Comme Ca where I decided I would have a shot at lunch later. There was a disconcerting deafening sound of jackhammers there, but I thought "Well that will be gone by lunchtime opening" . . . .

      So I walk on down through Aria, Monte Carlo, NY NY and finally Excalibur (I was curious about their poker) and after a hot walk in the strong sun, I collapsed into cool dark Keno lounge and started filing out a ticket and caught the cocktail waitress's eye.

      "Coffee please."
      "Ticket!"
      "Excuse me?"
      "You need ticket, for coffee."
      "Come again?"

      So my understanding dawned that she would not bring me a stinking black coffee until I had ponied up for a Keno ticket. "Nothing in Austria has changed: music and dancing will demonstrate this to the world" as per Herr Zeller in The Sound of Music.

      Well even though nothing in Austria has changed, something sure as heck has changed in LV. So anyway I (still dying for a coffee) go and purchase a 3-spot for four $2 games ($8) and go back awaiting the next cocktail round. This takes forever, but eventually she arrives.

      "Coffee please."
      "Show me ticket!"
      I show her my Keno ticket.
      "No no" [you moron] "not THAT ticket."
      "You said I needed a ticket."
      "This only $8 ticket, you need $10 minimum ticket"
      "You never told me that."
      "I am not responsible for telling you."
      "Look, how much does a ****ing cup of coffee cost?? I'll buy one from you!!!!!"

      At this stage I lost my temper and at the opportune moment a senior looking guy in the combined Keno and Sports Book was spotted. I went and talked to him and explained my difficulties in procuring a lousy cup of coffee (one, for which, I would have given a generous tip). He (grimly) confirmed the policy. The girl had not been talking about my needing a Keno ticket, but a drink comp ticket, which I could only get for $10 spent. I explained "I'd have got to $10, but just not in one buy of Keno . . ."

      All in all, a dismal and sad reminder of how much things have changed. I mean vaguely I could see it for alcohol, but a lousy cup of coffee?? I don't know. The sports book man (an older man my age) also seemed to be sorry he had to espouse such an utterly sucky House policy to me.

      So with that experience in mind I headed back to NY NY to Nine Fine Irishmen Irish pub. I immediately liked it. My first (20oz) Guinness was nicely poured and fairly priced. I had another. I noticed the hostess was really trying to be a good hostess, by asking folks where they were from (and seeming genuinely interested in their response) and this appeared to be an enterprise which was trying hard to cultivate and encourage its clientele. A nice antidote to the Excalbur Keno lounge!

      What I did find amusing here was that 3 out of 4 parties were English or Irish folks. This was about 11:15 AM. (In the UK and Ireland the pubs open at 11) and they were coming home to roost.

      You can take the punters out of the UK but you can't take the UK out of the punters.

      I noticed the Irish Breakfast here featured "black and white pudding" now that would be worth going back for. Shame they are not open earlier.

      As I wandered back for lunch at Comme ca my observation was that NY NY and the Monte Carlo were doing quite well, particularly the latter, considering the swankier newcomer places around them. They must be doing something right, although in the greater scheme considering that even high end places are featuring mainly penny slots these days (and not much table action in evidence, although i know it's a slow time) it still isn't clear how the expensive places are making the margin. Maybe they're not and just weathering the storm.

      And so back to Comme Ca. It was doing zero business which made me wonder a bit. Also the jackhammer had NOT abated with the lunch hour. But in I went.

      Sat at the bar I ordered a Tanqueray tonic. "We don't carry that, we offer more boutique style of drinks here." Hmmmm. Ok so after sniffing a few gins I select Plymouth. The gin's OK but the tonic seems peculiar and off. So I ask him what sort of tonic do you offer with your boutique gins? "I don't know" whatever comes out of the spritzer. Hmmm.

      But things improved with oysters (they almost always do) although at $35 the dozen this is not Louisiana or Texas where that could get you TEN DOZEN.

      The oysters were fine though and a champagne brut rose (French) at $13 the glass was not too terrible price.

      Next I selected assiette de charcouterie which sounded good. Headcheese and rilettes particularly.

      Chatted with the bartender a bit. Nice enough young fella. I asked about the jackhammer and the problem appears that a major water main had broken requiring extensive and immediate repairs. This may explain the low lunch turnout but it did unfold later that "business could be better."

      The meats came on an heavy iron board which wasn't displeasing, but didn't add anything either. Here the selection was nice with dry sausage and mustard, cornichons, but the rilettes were a bit sweet and cinnamon=ey for my taste (that spice is not my favorite). It was fine, good even, but it didn't wow me the way Batali's cheese saucing had a few years ago (another LV thread I posted).

      I decided to skip cheese and dessert but even so the tab was around $120. With tip on top, a bit of a pricey lunch, for what it was. I preferred Bouchon over this, although that was for dinner. Not horrible, when they finish the jackhammer repairs it might (might!) be worth a rematch.

      A mid-afternoon open-face 1/2lb dog at the All American at the Rio (their coffee shop) was actually quite nicely done.

      Later in the evening I felt dehydrated and modestly hungry. The perfect solution presented itself with the Mah Jong short-order Chinese (incl Pho and noodle dishes) place at the Rio. For $20 I got a large hot and sour soup, and stir-fried shrimp. For the Asian crowd (who all flock here) they provide excellent hot chile to spice things up. All in all I found the soup and Chinese food a very sustaining pick-me-up and perfect for getting some nutrition and LIQUIDs into the system after a fairly long day doing a lot of walking in the sun. I will probably have a bowl of soup or noodles again as a snack for sure. As always I got a feeling that the Chinese interchanges allowed native speakers access to "the good stuff." Oh well. Even the stuff for the rest of us was pretty tasty, especially the soup.

      No particular plans for Day Three but I'm sure we'll find something.

      Thank for reading.

      BB

      -----
      Bouchon
      3355 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

      Nine Fine Irishmen
      3790 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

      Comme Ca
      3708 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

      5 Replies
      1. re: bishopsbitter

        Thanks for the great report so far. Always good to see a mix of low brow and high brow dining. I haven't done the Rio seafood buffet in over a decade. Glad to see I haven't missed much.

        Excalibur has gone rapidly downhill the last few years. Don't get me started on the poker room since this is a food board. But I have nothing good to say about that.

        Sad to hear about the drink ticket and I think it's reflective of the crowd Excalibur gets these days. A lot of sports books will require a drink ticket only if you want alcohol but some do require one regardless just to prevent non-gambling customers from sitting there and drinking. There is usually a minimum bet needed to get the ticket but the cocktail waitresses are pretty nice about mentioning it in other places.

        1. re: bishopsbitter

          Bishopsbitter - these are awesome reports!
          I feel like I'm taking a walk with you or maybe sitting on your shoulder like a little ladybug. :-)

          We're leaving for Vegas on Friday, so these are especially timely. We've got dinner reservations at Comme Ca - hopefully we'll enjoy it.

          ps - I also feel like I'm missing the good stuff at Chinese places since I don't speak the language. I do a lot of pointing - even though it's rude - a la "What's that? I want it too!".

          -----
          Comme Ca
          3708 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

          1. re: Cookiefiend

            Well, you sort of do in NY's Little Italy too. Like they have one pot of good red gravy for the VIPs and a gigantic tin of Ragu set over a stove burner for the rest of us :-)

            Thanks to you and Jase for the nice comments and info.

          2. re: bishopsbitter

            "Plus ca change, plus ca la meme SUCKS."

            Awesome! I'm adding it to the repertoire...

            1. re: bishopsbitter

              I had lunch at Nine Fine Irishmen when England played Algeria in the Wolrd Cup and Wayne Rooney did his impression of being a hat rack. The food is OK but not wonderful but the beer (all Guinness products) was well kept and correctly served. I noticed lots of other Brits and Irish folks but thought it was mostly because of the game. I'm surprised you bothered to head out to Excalibur - being anywhere near that low rent place gives me a sick headache from the hideous color scheme.

              -----
              Nine Fine Irishmen
              3790 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

            2. Part the Third (A)

              Another lovely day in the Las Vegas Valley.

              After a brief consult at Chowhound I decided on the Peppermill for breakfast. This proved hard to locate but was quite nostalgic in reminding of my first ever visit to Las Vegas when I stayed at the Riviera. For those wanting to find it if you get of I-10 @ Sahara then turn south on The Strip it will be on your left after you pass (just after) The Riviera (also on your left). Road work on LVB made navigation a bit tricky and progress slow. But made it.

              A tad of deja vu (which is always bad sign as it means a place didn't totally wow me the first time) in the cute blue waitress uniform. This is the sort of place where you are instantly "Hon" and the hostess/manager seemed extremely able and efficient.

              I sat at the counter (deja all over again) and noted the HUGUNGOUS white coffee cups (even mugs is a bit of an understatement!). I remembered thinking previously that while a very nice idea in theory these cups tend to let you accumulate far too much lukewarm coffee at the bottom to ever be able to bring it back up piping hot.

              I ordered 3 eggs o.e. with bacon and link sausage. As per rumors no fewer than 4 LARGE links comprise one order and bacon was quite generous too. Huge helpings and not really too expensive. Good that.

              No complaints other than "over easy" is constantly confused with "over light" these days. They need to be slightly more cooked almost everywhere I go.

              Quite enjoyable and clearly well kept and run sort of place. But it didn't (apart from the waitress cuteness uniform) exactly blow me over this time either.

              I had a venture down to the south Point (or is it Pointe?) to explore a little. I noted there an oyster bar but although i could have fancied a doz. it didn't open until 12. The South Pointers are clearly not early risers as a lot of the eateries didn't get going until noon. I noted a chili parlor that also looked worth a checkout (when open~!).

              Before going to the SP I had cased The Crown and Anchor British pub. It appeared pretty deserted (even though "Open 24 Hours" on the door) and indeed unconvivial in appearance . So I decided either to blow it off or come back later. (It is on Tropicana east a couple miles from The Strip.)

              After a brief stop at the Fiesta in Henderson for a little gaming I did head back.

              The place is full of people watching the Spurs (and some other team) soccer/football match. I have never understood the attraction of soccer, perhaps because (as in this case) the crowd that do follow it are often . . . how to put it . .. "unaesthetic" in attitude and demeanor. There's something of a feral quality about young English guys (not helped by the fashion of skinhead haircuts) that I don't really enjoy. They are never openly friendly (ESPECIALLY to a fellow Brit!!!) and quite often seem to telegraph the desire to kick the **** out of you. But with that swathing generalization (although one I could uphold based on the collection of punters at an extensive number of USA Brit pus I've poked into) I will move on the food and beverage.

              The first Guinness was a woeful underpour. Something I really dislike. Second was borderline OK.
              Tasted OK (what there was of it!). I ordered their Ploughman's. I didn't order "extra pickled onions" as whenever I do I never get any and this is OK except that I specifically asked and was ignored is what's annoying. In this case however I slipped up as there were no pickled onions AT ALL (even though the menu said there were). I didn't pursue it sensing it could only be counterproductive on a first, and probably last, visit. The cheddar was as bog standard Kraft as it comes. Yuk. The stilton was a lowish rent blue cheese (I'll take their word is Stilton) but at least had some taste. the bread was generic. The cucumber and tomatoes were tasteless and had been sitting in some garnish trays for hours if not days it tasted like. There was no butter which is (although there are two camps on it) is the normal British Way for Ploughman's. Certainly the way I prefer. and yes, yes: I could have asked.

              I was curious if the ownership was British. But it wasn't a place I felt comfortable asking the question. Perhaps someone knows.

              Their fish and chips ("The Best in Las Vegas") at an adjacent table did not look like that boast is accurate to me. Or if it is true there is clearly an untapped market for some would-be Las Vegas cod & chips supremo.

              Considering the place is open 24/7 it's clear that cleaning it must a challenge. As every surface was sticky and unpleasant. It wasn't the USA's worst British Pub, not by any means (the service, while somewhat chaotic was reasonably well-meaning) but I won't be going back.

              There was a huge contingent of Spanish-looking guys and on the blackboard a Real Madrid match was advertized starting 45 minutes after the English one. But all TV's were tuned to the English match and about 15 Spaniards just got up and left . I don't think it was anything other than the aforementioned "fans" from the UK might not have taken kindly to having one of the two TV's tuned in to the Spanish match.

              Still in an oyster mood surveyed the oyster bar at the Orleans but it's never busy and I never like that in oyster bars So I passed.

              After a little rest up I will head out for dinner.

              Thanks again for reading my LV trip reports.

              BB

              The hostess

              5 Replies
              1. re: bishopsbitter

                I think it's the I-15 and not the I-10.

                1. re: Eric

                  Sorry of course. Thanks for the correction. I live off I-10 myself and typed it on autopilot.

                2. re: bishopsbitter

                  Order your eggs "basted" and they will come out really nice, solid white with lots of yolk. OE is always too loose for me and OM you take your chances.

                  1. re: vegasmike

                    It's a good point. I went onto basted for a while. I should retry that.

                    1. re: vegasmike

                      Thinking of your post I ordered three basted in the Twin cities the other morning. came as hard as rocks, worse even than rheumy o.e..

                      I think the problem is just there is a perfect fried egg (except for those that don't like runny yolks) and that is the way short-order cooks should cook 'em "unless otherwise advised." This is the basic m.o. in the UK where fried eggs come in this standard manner and you do not call how done. I mean, it's not rocket science . . . you want plenty of runny yolk without its being unappetizing unset in the whites.

                  2. What did you eat at Du-Pars? I have to say that you are the first person I've encountered to prefer Bay City Diner. I haven't been to the Golden Gate Du-Pars, but many consider it to have the best pancakes in the Valley. Am enjoying reading about your adventures.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Dave Feldman

                      I did not know Du-Pars was a Valley chain. Unfortunately I have never been a pancake man so probably did not experience their strongest suit. I think what's changed is that the old place just felt like a bunch of veteran waitresses, crazy toast machines, nice pies, and a great short-order man running a tight little ship. This ship now is not at all so tight. Not that I could place it until you mentioned the chain affiliation, but it now feels, yes, "corporate." Before it felt like the good ship Golden Gate Coffee Shoppe. One thinks of the Sopranos episode where they try to shake down "Starbucks" and the manager says to the hoodlums "everything has to go through corporate." Their parting line is "the death of the little guy." :-)

                      A few bcd waitresses remain, but not many. They have probably decamped en masse to some other place !we need to know about!

                      The BCD short order man (a tall black gent who never seemed to speak a word) had a nice touch with eggs. The TWO new guys who replaced him took about three times longer to cook the food in a restaurant that was 1/3rd as busy as I remember it being. (Do the math :-) )

                      I'd be all in favor of change if it ever brought improvement, but it never EVER does these days.

                      Thanks for the nice comment.

                      1. re: bishopsbitter

                        I meant "Valley" as in the Las Vegas Valley, but it's true that there are Du-Pars in Studio City and Oxnard, California. The original Du-Pars, still going strong, is located at the L.A. Farmer's Market. I believe there are only two more branches, one in San Diego, and one at the Golden Gate.

                        1. re: Dave Feldman

                          No I understood which Valley you meant. But being a west coast chain I had not come across it before.

                          (Dupuy's, that used to be a great oyster bar in Abbeville LA, I know about :-) But not Du-Pars.)

                    2. Part the Third (B)

                      After a coffee and napoleon at a congenial little coffee and pastry enterprise at the Rio (Rio Java I think it is: located by the Masquerade Tower elevators) and a brief siesta I found myself still tired. Although I fancied a Strip Trip I could not mount the energies.

                      I walked next door to the Gold Coast for a cheap cocktail and simply to see what went on there. Not a horrible property but no eats worth mentioning were spotted.

                      Back to the Rio where I perused the Buzio's Seafood menu. I was tempted but the "bad karma" from the earlier experience with Village Seafood Buffet kept making me think there must be something else.

                      While part of a Sausalito CA chain I was tempted by Gaylord (Rio's Indian Rest.) but was somewhat put off in that it is colocated next to the doors leading to the "Pet Relief Area" : an unfortunate juxtaposition for all sorts of reasons.

                      Back to Buzio's. Back to Gaylord. And repeat again.

                      I opted for Gaylord.

                      Not a terrible decision as in the back room the atmosphere is quiet and far-removed from the hurly-burly of the Rio floor. And (so few places in LV do!) they made a halfway decent gin & tonic!

                      I had though I had landed on my feet really as the prices didn't seem to bad but here's a warning. They have combination dinners which feature sundries (dal raita nan and something else I forget) included for about $33. Most of the entrees are in the upper $20 range a la carte.

                      I spotted the guys next to me having tandoori prawns and it looked damned good so ordered that asking if I can "combination-ize" it. That seemed to be OK, but when the check came I paid a la carte prices for dal, raita, nan and whatever-else-it-was.

                      This really ratcheted up the check such that my bill (for one) came in at $86. With tip change out of a C note = . . . 0.

                      So that was the bad news: But the good news was that there was an authentic qualiity to the food and service (although the latter was nothing special).

                      Whether it's Delta airlines' peanuts or McDonalds fries I am well and truly ticked off with the current food police "looking out for me." Message to food police. "Eat **** and die. The day I need retards like you looking out for ME I will kill myself!!!!"

                      But where I am going is that the otherwise lovely tandoori prawns needed just a tad of salt to bring out there glorious flavor. There was none. (Don't get me started about Delta peanuts! trust me!!)

                      Now the dal was lovely. I was sorry they'd opted for sweet onions instead of regular yellow onions with the tandoori prawns. The sweetness was not what the prawns needed they needed an accent of abrasive and pungent onioney-ness.

                      As with the Chinese place a large group of Indians showed up and were ushered into a "secret" back room where "the good stuff" was instantly starting to be served to them :-)

                      Apart from the price and the "chain" affiliation this was not a horrible experience. I felt just a little abused in the pocket book. It is a rite of passage that one should be able to eat curry for TWO for $100 tab. That's just the way it is. So feeling gouged is not the best way to stagger out of a restaurant. (One knows the cost of food is minimal, although preparation and environs clearly pitch it up.)

                      Sorry I let the side down by not being more adventuresome last evening. I just could not mount an onslaught. I am wondering tonight if a return to Bouchon or "somewhere new and unexplored" is my best course of action. :

                      Today (Day 4) is my last day in Las Vegas so we will try our best to get up to something chow-log-worthy.

                      Thanks for reading, as always.

                      BB

                      -----
                      Bouchon
                      3355 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

                      Village Seafood Buffet
                      3700 W Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89103

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: bishopsbitter

                        Your trip report is a breath of fresh air, not just because of your sense of humor, but because you are writing about so many places that haven't been discussed on Chowhound. You are taking some hits for us!

                        1. re: Dave Feldman

                          Thanks Dave, appreciate the kind comments from you. On the "hit" front stay tuned for today's lunch report.

                      2. Part the 4th and Last (chapter A)

                        a.k.a. "A Tale of Two Buffets"

                        What a lovely Thursday morning in the Las Vegas Valley. Cool and breezy. Love it here!

                        Anyway, the game plan first thing was to head out to the mysterious (and hard to Google) "M"-with-a-slash-thru-it Resort and Spa and Casino. Still technically on the Strip . . . as I mapped out how to get there it's clear this is an unusual place indeed. It's not seemingly that they want to capture the road-weary coming from Los Angeles as the "First Place" nor do they want to be "Last chance to gamble on the Strip" for LA bound traffic. In fact, it seems they don't want to be found at all!! I drove south on I-15 and saw the place but expected an exit would have a billboard for it so merrily drove past Exit 27 (the correct one to have taken) and prompty realized I may have to drive halfway to LA before another exit presented itself. This immediately had me, how shall we say, not "loving" the M Resort. Coming back the other way there was no sign either and you can't even see it coming from the LA direction!

                        Even when I took Exit 27 the actual entrance was a puzzle. I was beginning to think along the lines "Hey if they make it this difficult I may just blow it off" but I persisted. Glad I did!

                        I parked up and noted the architecture. very unusual. As though James Mason's character, after tiring of his Mount Rushmore compound in "North by Northwest", had decided to construct a casino hotel in the foothills above the Las Vegas Valley---along similar lines---instead.

                        If you don't know M, you'll get what I mean when you do visit.

                        Inside I was instantly reminded of something, but wasn't sure what. Eventually it dawned on me it was another movie reference. That place where James Bond goes (Connery) in that early movie which is a health spa with very lovely fixtures, nymphet beauties all over the shop, and stainless steel sliding doors with strong locks. Everyone, even the morbidly overweight, had a disconcerting "healthy" look about them. I can again only say that you'll see what I mean if you go there.

                        The casino was a unique space. As if dreamed up from a blank template. It was unlike any other casino I can think of in LV, and that's quite an achievement. It was very lightly populated with (no doubt martial arts expert) attractive young ladies and gents. But no matter: I liked it so far. So on to the Buffet known as "Studio B" (for reasons I know not why).

                        I walked straight in (this is at about 7:15/:30) and not many people there, but I really like the hostess, and the space. TV screens on one side, and separate stations (only one in operation for the light early crowd) and a very clean and airy and convivial feel. I started to perk up.

                        Coffee came quickly, then I had a peruse of what was on offer. As best I can recall: fruit, mexican, american breakfast standards, some beef, chicken, breads, (there was more I just cannot remember it all), made-to-order omlette station, biscuits/gravy, sweets and pastries and last but definitely not least smoked salmon, herring with onions and capers and all the trimmings.

                        I started with salmon and creamed herring (I love Scandinavian fish like that, being I think of Danish background way back). With some lemon it was superb. I found myself thinking I could quite easily breakfast on cured fish every day (and I think I could).

                        I then had some coffee for a breather then went in for a rematch. This time I simply could not resist the Mexican dishes (as they looked/smelled really good) and thank the Lord I didn't. Chile Relleno, Chile Verde (pork of course) and best of all two grilled jalapenos.

                        I started with the last item and it was a mild pepper. I was not the only one to discover though when I bit into the second one that there is a jalapeno Russian roulette in progress. The second hit me like a sledgehammer, but was still great-tasting and so fresh . . and wakes you up!

                        The chile Verde was excellent. Perfect. Well-seasoned (salted!) and just great "real food"! The relleno was perfectly done (although I nearly burnt my mouth with the cheese inside: be careful) in a lovely red sauce. There was no salsa provided but other than that, this was near perfection.

                        And the price: $9.99.

                        Absolutely rave review from me and I suggest you head to "M" there IMMEDIATELY (at least for breakfast, and I suspect other buffet meals are good there too based on this). I spotted lovely breads being made and also superb pastries which made the hapless garbage I found at Mystery Buffet Number II for lunch look like some Bread Remainder Store gunk.

                        I walked out on their pool terrace and thought they have about the best view (from the slightly elevated perspective of the foothills) of the Strip casinos in the far disance and the mountains and all. Lovely terrace and with the stiff wind blowing it was like a true desert paradise, although a bit chilly in fact. "M" the best meal experience of the trip to date, period.

                        So of course, good luck does not last forever.

                        I had a double whammy of bad luck. I sought out Bouchon thinking oysters but at the unfashionably early lunch hour (at the Venetian it seems) of 12:15 they were empty and I hate stumbling into an empty restaurant, no matter how lauded.

                        So in a cruel twist of fate I wandered north towards the Wynn and their "legendary" buffet.

                        I nearly abandoned the enterprise after seeing the line, but it seemed to move along. It took about 35 minutes to get seated. The space seemed quite nice. But I had an uneasy feeling. For a start I had a bad feeling about the drinks waitress. There are some waitresses who smile far too much. Their smile seems to be a euphemism for "Oh crap, I've got to pretend to give a hoot about you and your needy wants." I ordered Tanqueray tonic and some water. "There is a charge."

                        Maybe I just look dim or something. Wouldn't I expect to be charged? Oh well. And a little later I order (quote)
                        "A large San Pellegrino, and a glass of the California Zinfandel please."

                        HUGE smile. "Excellent."

                        I go to the buffet and scan what they have. It is extensive in terms of real estate, but the actual food items are not as extensive at all. There is MUCH bare counter space.

                        I started with some nice anchovies and more smoked salmon (can one EVER get enough? NO!). the salmon was inferior to the cure from the earlier visit to M. It appeared to me to be of lower quality and certainly inferior taste and texture. The anhovies were nice enough.

                        The waitress arrives with the mineral water and a "pink" wine.

                        "Sorry I didn't order a white Zinfandel."
                        "You said Rose."
                        "No I didn't."
                        "What DO you want?" (you moron!) "I brought the rose you asked for. But no worries, I will be HAPPY [huge smile] to bring you something else."
                        "Look, there's no argument ~~~except~~~ I never mentioned the word Rose!"
                        [Huge smile: walks off] "No problem." [you ****ing lying Brit ****]

                        Here I should probably make an aside. I am the most congenial of men. My wants are few. I am extremely polite (please, thank you). But one of them is to NOT be accused of ordering hideous sweet rose wine when I absolutely didn't, and never would. It was her mistake, not mine. I quite often notice that being "nice" is counterproductive with "smiling" waitresses. They actually hate their job, so anything you do that requires them to make the least amount of non-essential effort labels you as a troublesome ****. If you are polite and unforceful it only emboldens them to be worse even than normal. Here again is why so few meals are enjoyable. The smiley types are in the ascendency.

                        Anyway I eventually got the Zinfandel (red) and it was pretty yucky anyhow. And on that I know the taste of Tanqueray and several times in LV I have been served well gin or at least "some other kind" when I called for Tanq Irritates me, but how can you prove it?

                        Anyway back to the (increasingly loathsome) Wynn Buffet.

                        I had two types of absolutely non-impressive ceviche. (By the way the cost of the buffet was about $23 and the drinks cost me an additional $40 with tip). I didn't like either very much although an octopus one was better than the generic one. I also had some trout rillettes which wasn't much cop either.

                        Anyway, I decided to head for the "control room" of any buffet: the meat station.

                        Holy **** batman. There *IS* no meat. The chef though is putting a brave face on it, like the emperor with no clothing. Clearly an unexpected rush has wiped out the entire stock of roasts and meaty stuff. Only pathetic ends and remnants are on display.

                        "Beef au jus?"
                        "Fifteen minute."
                        "Roast turkey?"
                        "Twenty minute."
                        "What do you have???"

                        The answer arrives in the form of an unappetizing london broil or perhaps flank steak. clearly all they can whip up in short order.

                        "Is this all you have?????"

                        He waves vaguely towards some composed meat dishes like brisket-with-BBQ sauce [yuk!].

                        I did come back later and there had been no improvement in the meat front.

                        Why don't people raise holy hell? I cannot answer why. They should!

                        You know, I don't know. I have never EVER EVER EVER been to a buffet where there has not been huge hunks of meat being carved. This is like having a nuclear reactor without any fuel rods. A total and entire waste of time!! And this at the purported current King of Buffets?? Holy cow.

                        I was really starting to not enjoy myself. The smiling waitress hovered clearly wanting to be rid of me and turn the table.

                        I decided to briefly examine the desserts. I did not find one worth putting pounds on for. They looked cheap, and nasty. Of course, everyone else seemed to love them. But the sweets at "M" were 10 times more interesting and more delicious looking.

                        All in all I would rate "M" as 5 times the experience, at less than half the price. I wish I had just gone back there for lunch. Or that Bouchon had not been on impulse power.

                        I am sorry but the Wynn . . . perhaps people can't get over the beautiful people & celeb's who go there and think perhaps it must be them who are too much the dullard non-celeb to be able to appreciate how great it is.

                        On my experience today I bet even Circus Circus 2011 (let alone when King of LV buffets: ref. earlier comment in this thread) would have left me in a better frame of mind and better satisfied. (Well, maybe not quite, but pretty damned close! even the one cousin Eddie took Clark Griswold to would run a tight race. At least they had SOME sort of meat, even if just yellow gopher and possum stew.)

                        Now what about tonight? Please bear with me on that report as I may not be able to post my last report prior to decamping for the airport tomorrow morning. It will have to come later.

                        But please check out "M" if you can, and before (I have no idea how long it has been open but it feels very new) it possibly deteriorates as all really great places eventually seem to.

                        Thanks, as ever, for reading.

                        BB

                        -----
                        Bouchon
                        3355 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: bishopsbitter

                          Vic I've shied away from Vegas buffets ever since the days of the 99 cents all you care to eat at the Mint. Still, your report intrigues me enough to check out the $9.99 buffet at the M - if I can ever find exit 27. Looking forward to it next time I'm in Vegas.

                          1. re: bishopsbitter

                            There seems to be a downward trend at many of the restaurants at the Wynn. It's too bad, the buffett used to be excellent.

                            1. re: mtngirlnv

                              They definitely put in a very very poor performance today.

                            2. re: bishopsbitter

                              I discover that Bounchon is NOT open for lunch weekdays. So it was empty for a reason!! I thought I read it was but there we are.

                              Hours of OperationBreakfastMonday - Friday:
                              7:00 am - 10:30 am
                              BrunchSaturday & Sunday:
                              8:00 am - 2:00 pm
                              Mid-day at the Oyster BarDaily:
                              3:00 pm - 10:00 pm
                              DinnerNightly:
                              5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
                              Chef:
                              Thomas Keller
                              Phone:
                              702.414.6200

                              1. re: bishopsbitter

                                My wife reports this trip that Bouchon is now open for lunch weekdays.

                                -----
                                Bouchon
                                3355 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

                              2. re: bishopsbitter

                                "At least they had SOME sort of meat, even if just yellow gopher and possum stew."

                                OMG - a Vegas Vacation reference! Bwhahaaaha!
                                Love it!

                                Hooo - anyway, I'm sorry Bouchon was on impulse power - Mr CF had a few on Friday and they were very good.

                                -----
                                Bouchon
                                3355 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

                                1. re: bishopsbitter

                                  I'm glad I'm not the only one who had a bad time at the Wynn buffet.

                                2. Part the 4th (Chapter B)

                                  Dateline McCarran airport 5:23 am.

                                  Well my trip, like the Universe itself, was destined to end with a whimper, not a bang. An early flight bollixed up all dinner plans as well as a sudden influx of people which had everywhere mobbed.

                                  I had planned to "graze" and find a place via some sort of sixth sense or destiny. This plan does not work on Thursday nights in a busy Strip environment. Nowhere at NYNY looked good (I had several more Fine Guinnesses there at Nine Fine Irishmen: that place is on form!

                                  Over to MGM . . . no better.

                                  I have to admit that by this time I had assumed the Las Vegas monorail was simply a ploy to get people into casinos and did not really exist. Several times I was interested enough to follow HUGE "Monorail Station" on the street door of casinos only to find absolutely no other signage inside as to where/if it was or even existed. The MGM Grand was no exception, but I actually eventually did find the monorail, and it did exist. I then took it one stop to Bally's and Paris. This drops one off at a station as creepy as anywhere in the NYC Subway Bronx.

                                  I found nothing in Bally's at all. At the Paris the buffet was mobbed as was Mon Ami Gabi. It was getting late. I had to have a 3:30am wakeup call. WTF!

                                  So a cab back to the Rio and their coffee shoppe!!!!!!!!!!! "The All-American Cafe."

                                  It wasn't a total loss but by no means how I had envisaged my "Big Final Night."

                                  I sat at the bar and ordered a jumbo shrimp cocktail and a dry-aged Ribeye (not at all coffee chop cheap at $33). It struck me however perusing the menu I had been in LV four days without either a jumbo shrimp cocktail or a steak. So in a vaguely in-harmony-with-the-Universe way, this ended up sort of dotting a T or crossing an I for this trip.

                                  But the place itself is pretty poorly run. Particularly the bartenders were letting their waiters go starved for drinks orders. Not to mention their bar patrons! A mortal in for any bartender.

                                  Also the patrons left a great deal to be desired. A peculiar pair who were clearly on something and kept coming back after 15 20 minute absences and complaining their water had been taken away. An old lady who would never order no matter how many times the menu was explained. And a "VIP" who lost his temper BIG TIME at generally not being kow-towed to enough and (the last straw) having to show his ID to charge the tab.

                                  Now that said the shrimp cocktail was not terrible. 5 jumbo shrimp as advertised. Not horrible. And the steak was actually (I believe)dry aged. It was certainly a nice piece of meat. If they had decent service this might have gotten a thumb's up for its food. But it doesn't. I particularly hate bartenders who develop selective blindness when you want them. These lot had developed it into an art form.

                                  So that's how it ended.

                                  A general thought on the trip. "M" was what stood out. I still love Las Vegas. I loved starting 50 miles down the road to Ely. I only wish I had time to KEEP GOING. I love the state. I love the casinos (high -and- low rent). Sitting here (as I always do) I wish I had a bit more time to spend.

                                  Apologies my last report fell short. I am not a "reservations" man so the popular places will tend to evade me.

                                  The single most amazing thing is that I got into a cab with the same cab driver I had had before. A music major and ex golden age of rock and roll magnate. Somehow both last time and this I had not been in the cab five seconds but that he deduced I was a music major and I him. Of the thousands of cabbies . . . if only such odds hit on the tables instead!! :-) But a very interesting guy especially for those who love 60's British rock.

                                  Thanks for reading this series of reports.

                                  I'll be back.

                                  BB

                                  -----
                                  Mon Ami Gabi
                                  3655 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

                                  Nine Fine Irishmen
                                  3790 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: bishopsbitter

                                    Loved your report BB. All I can say, is I can relate.

                                    My husband and I were in Vegas for a few days in December and a BOGO coupon from the LasVegas Advisor coupon book led us to the M Resort for their dinner buffet.

                                    Although it's way out in the boondocks, it's worth the drive. The experience was superior to any buffet we've found on the Strip, including the Wynn.

                                    My husband, a beef-lover, went back twice for the prime rib, which could be cut with a fork. Overall, the food was well-prepared, plentiful and delicious. An added bonus was the price included a small selection of beer on tap and wine-nothing spectacular but adequate.

                                    I would definitely go back to the M.

                                    On the other hand, we also went to the Peppermill for dinner since it was near our hotel. While it may be a good deal for breakfast, I would avoid dinner there. The ribs were undercooked and tough and my wrap was so doused with hot sauce I couldn't eat more than a few bites. Also, it took 3 people and 20 minutes to finally get my husband a beer...very disappointing.

                                    1. re: tidbitt

                                      Do you know "what the deal is with M" Whose brainchild? That sort of thing. I wish I had gone there again. Also quite so, any buffet that throws in a "vin de la maison" (I believe the Paris used to, maybe still does) or house beers is doing us all a favor.

                                      I think the funniest thing I saw on my whole trip was a lady at Wynn who had literally taken something from every station on a single plate in one counter clockwise sweep. Imagine salad, fruit, BBQ ribs, beef, sushi, ceviche, anchovies, mashed potatoes, and smoked salmon (not forgetting meatloaf and gravy) on a single plate. She (somehow) restrained herself from adding desserts too.

                                      Eeeugugh!!!

                                      It's really good to know M didn't open "last week" because they make you feel like it did. Four months later things had not been let slip an inch in any way that I could see. I would have guessed they'd only been open a month tops.

                                      I noted the absolutely fastidious "buffet maintenance" after every diner :"disfigured" the presentation in some way. (Talk about painting the Forth Bridge! That is a tricky one for those who work there.)

                                      They (whoever THEY are) are really trying to do something different there.

                                      Perhaps the lack of signage means they believe "If you build a better buffet the world will beat a path to your door." At least as it stand now, everyone should!

                                      BB

                                      1. re: bishopsbitter

                                        The "M" was the vision of Anthony Marnell III, son of the man who opened the Rio long before Harrah's/Caesars took over the latter. The original idea was to aim at an upscale locals market, not unlike Red Rock or Green Valley, definitely a peg or three more luxurious than South Point, the closest hotel to it.

                                        The bad news is that Penn National has taken over the M (http://www.lvrj.com/business/m-resort...) and they are known for substandard food operations. I'd go to the M buffet sooner rather than later.

                                        -----
                                        Red Rock Bar
                                        1729 E Charleston Blvd Ste A, Las Vegas, NV 89104

                                        1. re: Dave Feldman

                                          OMG! As a greyhound adoption person, all I can say is if Penn National has anything to do with it, stay away!

                                          1. re: onrushpam

                                            Plus ca change . . . :-(.

                                            1. re: bishopsbitter

                                              bishopsbitter, thanks for an informational and entertaining series of trip reports from LV. We have gone to LV many times and avoid eating at places on the Strip whenever possible. We like the breakfast buffet at Gold Coast, Mike Mills' BBQ joints, Hofbrau Haus (across from the Hard Rock) for authentic German fare/bier, Ellis Island, a little Italian joint whose name escapes me now, and other places far from the glitz of LVB.

                                          2. re: Dave Feldman

                                            Wasn't bad enough that the tourists started flocking to the M, but then they had to brag about the great buffet. We locals know better than to share the truly special secrets. Tourists can't keep their mouths shut.

                                            1. re: shamu613

                                              Secrecy (while sensible) is not the Chowhound Code in any circumstances! :-)
                                              But I know what you're saying.
                                              Sounds like "M" may be on the endangered species list with the takeover anyhow.

                                              1. re: bishopsbitter

                                                Liked it so much ("M"), have booked a few nights there in the next few weeks. hopefully before the inroads of whatever conglomerate can ruin it.

                                      2. re: bishopsbitter

                                        lol.....I've had that cabbie before!!! He's very cool...

                                        Thanks for the laughs and the great report. Thinking of checking out the buffet at the M. DH loves buffets. and I've heard good things about that one from other folks as well. Too bad its so far from my house.....

                                      3. Am returning to Las Vegas for a rematch May 31 - June 4 2011. Any places (perhaps given the thread to date) that are hot or interesting. I would particularly like to find locals hangouts the tourists never find out about, but clearly you guys are a masonic and secretive bunch about those :-) (not the Chowhound Code but I do sort of understand having lived in "tourist intensive" cities myself.)

                                        That said any "mole" or "Deepthroat" . . you anonymity is guaranteed if you post tips here!!!!

                                        Am staying at the "M" but will be "out and about."

                                        15 Replies
                                        1. re: bishopsbitter

                                          Well, a bit of a rocky start to the M Resort Reprise. A check-in fiasco (not food related) and the corporate takeover (effective TODAY) clearly having everyone on a combination of their best behavior and "frazzled." I did overhear that the original owner (son of the Rio founder I think someone said) has decided to maintain some sort of stake in the property (25% perhaps) so it is not entirely going corporate.

                                          Peculiar time to be here really. Had a late post check-in supper at the oyster bar Terzetto at the M. It was quite good (taking into account previous frazzled comment) and fairly priced if a bit skimpy on portion (only 3 jumbo shrimp per $14 order). The wine list (which, we were informed was "everything 30% off") is of the "shock and awe" variety. Three-figure pricing predominates. Silly really as apart from comped high-rollers it's just not realistic to think that most people drop $175 on a wine with a bit of seafood supper. I think it's a shame. Sure a few high-end selections are fine but to have to search dilligently through 10 dense pages to find a couple of wines I could personally care to fund is demeening, and one thinks, to some extent, designed to intimidate a certain proportion of clientele into over-spending out of embarassment.

                                          The oysters were $24 per dozen and good. I caught the shucker rinsing them under water and said "STOP" and he asked me if I was French. "French people don't like this but they force me to do it (the management). The same guy (nice fella) made a very reasonable linguine and clams and bouillabaisse. Nothing spectacular, but solid enough. Clearly the other punters at the counter were comped (always a depressing thing for paying customers to be so). This wasn't horrible but not more than 2 stars on the cost to value ratio.

                                          The morning buffet was still excellent although I think the chille verde chef was off and someone else cooked his recipe in his stead without his deft touch. Not quite so good as originally tasted last time.

                                          Everyone (this morning "nothing in Austria has changed Captain von Trapp") was on their very best customer service behavior as top brass from the adopting corporation wandered about.

                                          A bit worried (staying here) sining options may be just a tad to limited without long drives or $$$$-ey taxirides. Maybe a failure in the planning on my part.

                                          1. re: bishopsbitter

                                            Rent a car? Probably be about $20 a day and you can save it on meals, let alone cab rides.

                                            1. re: Dave Feldman

                                              Quite, and we do have a rental car.

                                            2. re: bishopsbitter

                                              Terzetto Round II for dinner. Steak was the order of the day. The bone-in filet sounded good (from Mr "M"'s Montana ranch and dry aged no less) and my wife went for that with escargots to start. I had a special appetizer and the T-Bone. I asked about seasoning and was reassured "the chef keeps it basic": salt and pepper. I hate it when overpowering (and usually awful) seasoning rubs are put onto good meat.

                                              The wine list was still of the shock and awe variety, but still "all bottles at 30% off." Selected a $59 California Cab figuring the bank could stand a $40 bottle.

                                              Service (after we left the snobby bar where clearly we were not fitting the wanted demographic---being older and unglamorous) was good with a young Romanian waiter who has worked here since Day One.

                                              My appetizer POOR. A composed salad of proscuitto (not I think de Parma although advertized as such) cheese curd and seemingly no dressing of any taste. The escargots were topped with caps of puff pastry which (to my eye) had not puffed but my wife seemed pleased enough.

                                              Her bone-in filet though was spectacular both in look and taste. I never order the same thing when dining with her so my t-bone was "fine" but not in the same league. Definitely a signature and worthy piece of meat the bone-in filet from the ex-owner (now partial stakeholder I guess).'s Montana ranch. Mmmm mmmm mmmmm.

                                              Dessert creme brulee. Fine and dandy. A cheese course would have pleased me more but it was fine. A good proper espresso and a tab of around $180 plus tip.

                                              Perhaps a bad choice but I would shy away from the composed salade special.

                                              Thanks for reading and further dining chapters to come.

                                              1. re: bishopsbitter

                                                I can’t think of a better LV buffet experience (taking into account quality, service, ambience, value for money) than today’s lunch @ Studio B at the M.

                                                For $14.99 (including all the wine or beer you want, plus dessert and coffee---including espresso) this is quite a deal.

                                                The entire snake-like set of stations were in use and without repeats, so surveying the offerings was quite a marathon walk-around.

                                                As best I can remember (with many omissions) going counter-clockwise: tabouleh salad and similar, variety of pizzas, fruity salads and vinaigrette ones, cold cuts and cheeses, seafood cioppino and clams and similar, late breakfast (bacon egg sausage), fried seafood, roast chicken, ham, roast beef, Thanksgiving potatoes and gravy and green beansey stuff, Mexican (that chile verde again) and carne asada, Japanese sushi (4-5 varieties plus accompaniments), oriental salads, tempura vegetables, baked mussels, lamb shoulder (oriental hoisin), ribs, beans-sprout salad and similar, Thai station, condiments and salsas, about 6 soups, bread, wine and beer, desserts. As I said: many omissions.

                                                I started with sushi (good, but hard to be bad), and noted the red wine was fine and not of the rot-gut variety even though from large bottles.

                                                I then had a go at the seafood and clams. Very nice brothy concoctions and partly the best bit was drinking the residue liquid with a spoon.

                                                I took a piece of the lamb but it was oriental preparation masking the lamb flavor with hoisin. I had some of the tempura vegetables (mushrooms and sweet potato-like pattie good!!) and then headed for dessert with a mini crème brulee (excellent taste) and a cone of mango ice-cream (EXCELLENT). 2 glasses of wine and a few tips for wine person and waiter. A truly excellent buffet experience. Although the clientele was a bit sub par (in terms of seemingly unable to obey the social niceities in the face of piling their plates sky-high) the staff keeps this buffet filled and running like a well-oiled machine.

                                                I very much enjoyed this lunch. I can certainly recommend it and say that (so far) the inroads of whatever-it-is Corporation at the helm has not had apparent downturn effects.

                                                bb

                                                1. re: bishopsbitter

                                                  Bishops - I am heading to Vegas on June 12 to play in the WSOP. I'll definitely rent a car and check out the M buffet. If we both like it, then at least that confirms that Brits (you are a Brit too?) like it.

                                                  1. re: kagemusha49

                                                    Yes (British) and for what it's worth I have not spotted a single Brit here at the M. No shortage in LV generally, but they clearly love the glitz and glamor of central Strip it seems. More oriental and East European visitors noted here. WSOP event has kicked off already I heard as of Tuesday. Thinking of heading to the Rio to see if can spot anyone famous in the Poker World although smaller more obscure parts of the tournament in progress (Omaha etc).

                                                    1. re: bishopsbitter

                                                      The ONLY reason I go to the Rio is for the WSOP. You may well see some poker celebs there. Pretty much all the places to eat there suck tho.

                                                      1. re: kagemusha49

                                                        Went there and spotted plenty of celebrity players including Mike "The Mouth" and Daniel Negreanu (who were chatting aimiably during a break), David Benyamine and several others. Neat!!! Had a reprise Indian at Gaylord which being i.o.a.o. from the Rio does not suck so far as Indian & service goes, apart from being at least double the regular "high street Tandoori" prices. Good food though. Poker players showed up on the dinner break too!

                                                2. re: bishopsbitter

                                                  Honorable mention in the Grungiest Breakfast Experience That Actually Is Not Too Terrible goes to Binion's Cafe at the Horseshoe downtown. Polystyrene coffee cups (even if you are "dining" in!) and plastic plates. But I love Binion's especially the "Butch Cassidy" cashier's cage.

                                                  Having gotten everything possible(!) to get wrong, WRONG with my order (three eggs over easy with a double order of bacon and wheat toast) owing to communication problems (and cheerfully corrected) the actual eggs were good and the whole experience a casebook case of "only in DT LV in the early breakfast hours." (Fond evocative flashback memories of the old Klondike by the airport although their waitresses [veterans] would never have gotten the order so wrong. )

                                                  Perusing the storage locker s' contents which were in the process of being evaluated under the counters is not for the faint of heart and will probably put you off ordering pancakes!

                                                  But breakfasting in "a Legend" has its price to be paid.

                                                  I would be interested about other downtown (where, for whatever reason I feel drawn in the 6am to 8am timeframe) breakfast nooks and crannies!

                                                  1. re: bishopsbitter

                                                    Check out DuPars in the Golden Gate.

                                                    1. re: jenga66

                                                      Thanks, mentioned previously in this thread. Did not like it so much now they've gone (even local) chain from the Bay City Diner (which used to be my d/t breakfast hangout of choice).

                                                      1. re: bishopsbitter

                                                        Oops sorry. I have to admit I read your original post but had forgotten that you had already mentioned it. I loved the old place. Something out if a different time and place.

                                                  2. re: bishopsbitter

                                                    Breakfast on the final day I went to Palace Station and their coffee shop fitted the bill with steak and three eggs. It was to have been an 8oz steak ($11.99) but the waitress said I can make it a 12oz for a dollar more. "Sold!."

                                                    Perhaps unlucky in hitting the service revolving (avoid arriving at 700am!) and going on break there was a long wait for the food. But it was fine if the steak was only "a hunk o' meat" versus anything special. Eggs basted were a bit too hard.

                                                    Back at the "M" my wife reports Hash House a Go Go is poor and her food was lukewarm and barely edible. For some reason I had bad vibes about it myself and never felt the urge to go there.

                                                    For lunch a two tier affair: a hot and sour soup at the oriental place (beside the sports book) at the Rio (in the process noting the Chinese place at the Gold Coast is packed with Chinese and the menu is clearly "authentic" not American Chinese. (Whole fish and duck and . . . ). Also dim sum! Looked good but no seat at the counter and really busy at tables. The Hot and Sour is a different animal at the Rio place. It has tons of flavor and is extremely sustaining and refreshing and rehydrating. Especially when spiced up with the hot chilli paste. Excellent stuff!

                                                    Spotted Daniel Negreanu again at the WSOP after the H&S then off to Nine Fine Irishmen. I HAD to try their Irish Breakfast (having seen it on the menu several times) principally to try the black and white puddings. I also had dreamy thoughts of rashers of Irish back bacon.

                                                    The plate came and the black pudding was OK, but too redolent of allspice (perhaps mace) for my liking. The white pudding was fine though. The sausage bratwurst-ey and unauthentic lacking any herbed flavoring. The eggs, cooked perfectly in terms of yolk-runnyness! And WONDER OF WONDERS SOMETHING I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD HAVE THIS SIDE OF THE POND . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ***CRISPY*** freshly-made toast. With real butter to spread on it. Mmmmmm mmmmm mmmmm mmmmmm. (Have previously ranted about limp old-made pre-lubricated toast.) Dipping such a piece of toast into perfectly-cooked eggs is what breakfast SHOULD BE all about. (The old adage about to dine well in England you need to have breakfast three times a day!)

                                                    The bacon was a disappointment: Canadian bacon style, not real rasher and I very much doubt if Irish. And not much taste: poor. Regular US bacon would have been preferred. The tomato (plum) was inauthentic in variety (unless tinned!) and preparation. It was too hard and raw: not cooked in the fat long enough.

                                                    Nine Fine Irishmen continues to impressive for their impeccable Guinness and friendly (we aims to please even if you are a tourist and we may never see you again) service.

                                                    So now what for dinner (final one?) Don't know. But will report. bb

                                                    -----
                                                    Hash House
                                                    2605 S Decatur Blvd Ste 103, Las Vegas, NV 89102

                                                    Nine Fine Irishmen
                                                    3790 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

                                                    1. re: bishopsbitter

                                                      In the event a gigantic row with my wife led to a . . . ahem . . . cancellation of dinner plans. Or at least we went our separate ways for it. She had Italian at the 'M''s Italian place. proclaimed it "fine." I had a revisit to the Terzetto Oyster Bar. I was not quite so impressed this time (Friday peak time and the seams and strain were showing). The oysters not quite as good with one "bad" oyster not vetted out by the shucker's eye and nose (but instantly by my latter). I had their "Southern Seafood Gumbo" . . . and Filipino Clams. The latter were quite good with no real complaints other than (possibly) the ersatz vino used. The former (the Southern Seafood Gumbo) was pretty poor. Actually: naff!.

                                                      Overall the "M" is not a destination for the Chowhound-ed person for any length of time. You quickly run out of sufficient food options that excite. The buffet though is still in my top three ever LV buffet experiences.

                                                      On the last evening I found a bar (near the Hash House a GoGo which did not purvey hideous well gin (possibly Booths or similar) in the name of Tanqueray. Having "call" spirits on well guns is a heinous and unpleasant development. One cannot believe in its integrity and I swear some "flowery" gin was being dispensed that The Queen Mother would in no shape or form have adopted "By Appointment."

                                                      Overall the "M" was not quite for me (or my wife). Falling, uncomfortably, somehow between two stools of [locals "come as you are"] and [Ritzy "no riff-raff" Vvenetian etc.].

                                                      Lovely view of the LV Valley though from the north-facing rooms. Just beautiful.

                                                      Love Las vegas and hate leaving it no matter what dining travails.

                                                      bb

                                                      -----
                                                      Hash House
                                                      2605 S Decatur Blvd Ste 103, Las Vegas, NV 89102