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Sep 30, 2012 09:49 PM

Caesar's Palace Bacchanal Buffet

Went for dinner on Saturday, here are my impressions.

Showing up at 4:45 pm, we spent an hour and a half in line. I assume that had we come later, it would have been much longer. The buffet itself in immense. Like most buffets, it's broken down into stations, but unlike many buffets, each has an open kitchen. The food is cooked and immediately plated, which means no carting food through the dining room, and you can see the action in the kitchen. Here's a breakdown of the seven kitchens.

Seafood: King crab legs are the big thing here and they were really quite, rich, buttery and full of meat; you can eat them cold or the cooks will briefly boil them for you. There are oysters too, usually one of my buffet favorites, but they were small and gravelly; the oysters in the oyster shooters were better as it seems they had picked the plump ones for those and thoroughly cleaned them. I didn't much like the shooter itself, which was mostly tomato sauce, but the oyster was good. There was also shrimp, seafood gazpacho and all manner of fish dishes.

Meat: There was all manner of food at the meat station, including lamb chops, prime rib, and a barbecue selection of spare ribs, brisket, sausage and chicken. The ribs and brisket had wonderful flavor though were a bit tough; I also enjoyed the sausage. This station also had all manner of small sides, including tater tots (regular and sweet potato), potato skins, fish 'n chips, sliders, onion rings, beans, mashed potatoes, etc., etc.

Mexican: The Mexican station was definitely one of the highlights. Carne asada was perfectly medium rare and nicely spiced. Corn tortillas are made fresh in front of you and there is a large salsa bar. Unfortunately, I didn't get to the posole (such is the tragedy of the buffet), but I've certainly heard good things about it.

Italian: Pasta, meatballs and pizza. I didn't indulge. You've got to choose wisely

Charcuterie: This station featured six types of charcuterie, all of which were pretty tasty. As with the oysters, this is one of those times where the gourmand in me comes out; how often do you get to just load your plate with prosciutto?

Asian: This was another great and very diverse station. Obviously, covering a huge continent in one station is challenging, but there was sushi, various chinese dishes and dim sum, Japanese beef curry which was quite good, and a noodle bar featuring ramen, soba and pho. The xiao long bao wrapper was gummy but the filling and broth were competent renditions.

Dessert: This was another stand out. The crepe station featured freshly made crepes with a choice of toppings, and as per usual, there were all manner of mousses, cookies, cakes, bread pudding, bananas foster and a gelato bar (though I didn't care for the gelato.

So after an hour and a half odyssey (I pledged to spend as much time eating as I spent in line), here are my thoughts on the whole feast.

Overall, it's very well done. As with most really good buffets, there were a few prizes really worth searching out (the barbecue, carne asada, crepes, sweet potato tater tots, etc.) and everything else was at least competent. I appreciated that the portions on offer were very small, so you didn't have to waste a lot of food if you wanted to try something, and of course, you could always take more. This isn't a meal that is comparable to the finest eateries in Vegas. It's still a buffet, but certainly, a very good one and a fun experience.

One downside was the service. We were thirsty the entire time and we had to practically stalk the waitstaff to refill our water glasses. We suggested a pitcher, but were told that would violate their policies. I'm not sure if they skimp on service to save money or not giving you drinks is a policy to make people eat less, but it was an unpleasant aspect of the meal.

The buffet is $40 per person with an additional $15 for all you can drink beer and wine option (we declined). Value-wise, as with most buffets, it's hard to beat.

A few pix:

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  1. Great review. Thanks! Looking forward to trying it Thursday when I am in Vegas!!

    1. Anybody have any reports on a Wed or Thurs lunch? Price? Offerings similar? Wait around 1 or 2 p.m.?

      1. I wonder how the service would have been had you ordered the all-you-can-drink alcohol? Would they have paid better attention to you or would you have been really screwed by never getting your money's worth? I haven't been often enough to see the difference myself.

        1. Thanks for a balanced and fair review. I went for dinner last Thursday. At 7:30, there was a one-and-a-half hour wait . I'm not a buffet lover, but I was with my brother, for whom the Bacchanalia was his main reason for coming to Las Vegas. We didn't share too many of the same dishes. My two favorites were the shrimp, which were as good as any I've ever had at a buffet, and a prepared salmon filet. Third favorite was a lamb chop, cooked a perfect medium-rare. I was full at the time, and I appreciated the carver making the recommendation -- it was clear he was proud of these chops. I think you were right to emphasize the importance of the small portions, because the salmon, like the lamb chops, was a lovely, restaurant-quality medium-rare. Overcooked fish is a shame, even at a buffet, especially when the ingredients are high quality.

          I agree that the oysters were a semi-disaster and but I disagree about the crabs. They were meaty and the default was a generous serving, but the ones I sampled had that waterlogged consistency that spoils buffet crabs in my experience.

          It looks like you out-ate me by a hefty margin, and I'm sure I missed many good dishes. Yes, I think the food quality is higher than Wynn or Bellagio, but buffets often peak early and then burn out, and I don't think I'd go back unless I was accompanying another buffetophile.

          Our experience with the servers couldn't have been more different. We had constant refills of our soft drinks (iced tea and Diet Pepsi), often without asking. In fact, I've never encountered a friendlier, upbeat waitstaff at a Caesars Palace property. And that's saying something, considering the constant pressure they are under (as the lines keep regenerating).

          6 Replies
          1. re: Dave Feldman

            Thanks for the comparison Dave. I was looking longingly at the lamb chops, but I just couldn't fit them in.

            I'm glad to hear that about the drink refills. It could be that I was there on a day when they were short staffed or some other snafu occurred; those things certainly happen.

            1. re: sku

              I tend to put down buffets, but I think sometimes that I'm lousy at ferreting out the best stuff. I tend to choose items that I like, rather than what is likely to be be best prepared in advance. Maybe I need a continuing education class!

              1. re: Dave Feldman

                Can you or anybody chime in on what dinner on a Monday night would be like at Bacchanal?

                We're seeing a 9pm show and this 90 minute wait at 4:45pm is freaking me out a little bit.

                Mr Taster

                1. re: Mr Taster

                  Guys, can you please chime in on my question of Nov 16?

                  I just called Caesars and was told that the lines are considerable diminished, and a Monday night dinner will be about a 20 minute wait. But the guy I spoke with on the phone didn't sound very confident, and I'd like an on-the-ground opinion.

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Mr Taster

                    Alright, I called again and got somebody competent on the phone, who actually works at the restaurant. Currently (like, right now) they're experiencing a post-holiday slump, and there was almost no wait all night. Crazy. However, at other times their wait is anywhere from 90 minutes to 5 hours(!!!).

                    5 hours.

                    However, she told me that every day is a new experience and impossible to predict 100% accurately, but weekdays tend to be gentler, and most people arriving before 5:00pm have only about 20-30 minute wait.

                    As for the king crab, they have both snow crab and king every day, not limited by weekend/weekday-- it's only limited by availability since king crab is a seasonal item. So to Illuminatus who experienced a king crab-less buffet a week ago, consider it bad timing-- not a dictum on the lack of all king crab from the Bacchanal buffet.

                    Mr Taster

            2. re: Dave Feldman

              I'd gladly join you, Dave. I love a good buffet but it's wasted on Mrs. G. She doesn't eat enough to make it worthwhile and I don't go by myself.

            3. Went early for breakfast today. $20.99 + tax and tip (and cab) and worth it. Very attentive service for drinks and clearing plates. Really liked the mini-croissants, light and crispy and delicate. When I asked for a mini-onion bagel to be sliced a woman offered to toast it for me -- tasty with some high-quality lox, cream cheese, and tomato and onion. Cook prepared my small omelette just as requested. Hash browns crispy not greasy. Slicing station has some tender and delicious ham. Really enjoyed the desserts -- a crepe covered with strawberry, raspberry, whipped cream and caramel and some delicious gelato. When the fruit station did not have pineapple juice they suggested asking my server and some was delivered. A cute tiny cast iron skillet with crispy chicken-fried steak was fun along with a biscuit with gravy.

              No line at all about 7:45 on a Thursday morning -- a few people waiting to pay and be seated and maybe half full when I was leaving about 9:15. Well worth it. Would have liked some shrimp or carved prime rib, but one can't really expect that at breakfast. Really nice staff -- thanks again.