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Aug 23, 2014 09:06 PM

Did anyone try SLS buffet today? I walked in and walked right out

Went to check out the new SLS today and I was pretty disappointed in the property overall. I had gone today with the intention of trying the buffet, but luckily I asked to take a look inside before actually eating there.

There is a center island for desserts which looked decent, but the actual food service area was quite limited. It's essentially three sections and that's it. So imagine Rio Carnival World Buffet with just the Mexican section, Asian section, and that weird American hodgepodge section. That's the length of the food area. The food was not appealing at all and turnover was slow, so items were just sitting there.

I took a look around 3:20pm, as brunch was ending (4pm is switch to dinner) and nothing looked good. I went back at 4:30pm and the exact same dishes were still out. Even though they stayed charging dinner price 30 min ago, the staff had not yet changed to dinner dishes and showed no real hurry to make the change. There were no more than 15-20 people eating either time I checked.

Did anyone actually eat at the SLS Buffet today? Was it better than it looked?

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  1. I wish i would have looked at the food before paying, i was insulted by what they offered for your money. i will never eat there again.

    28 Replies
    1. re: apctek

      So it really was bad... Yikes. I almost just went ahead and paid, but I thought it was weird that there were only 20 people eating lunch on grand opening day. So I decided to check it out first. I can't believe the prices. And shouldn't there be some law that prices must be posted? I had to ask a cashier.

      Did you happen to go for dinner? If so, what were some of the featured items? The brunch stuff looked terrible.

      I bet it did fill up in the evening since they were offering two free buffet passes with 500 points earned.

      1. re: ah6tyfour

        Was the casino also empty? Did you check out any of the restaurants?

        1. re: Dave Feldman

          The Casino was packed and early reviews of Bazaar Meats from people I trust are resoundingly positive. We visited Perq and Griddle Café (review is up in the blog but apparently per the new CH guidelines I can't post directly to CH) with food found to be excellent but service an absolute disaster.

          The buffet also was noted to be quite awful by a few people I know who went.

            1. re: Alan C

              Posting as links, apparently, which IMO seems to dissuade conversation here on the board moreso than stimulate it.

            2. re: uhockey

              I'll be at Bazaar Meats early next month; will post comments.

            3. re: Dave Feldman

              No, the casino seemed pretty busy, but it's a very small space. Put those same number of people inside Caesar's Palace and it would look like 4am on an off-Tuesday. SLS felt crowded, but the table games were no more than 50% in use. Multiple empty $10 blackjack tables with a dealer just standing around. I definitely expected more on their first day.

              SLS is very tight quarters. Slot machines are right up against each other with barely enough room for a small walkway between opposing chairs. It's a big mishmash of machines going every which way and I found it pretty claustrophobic. I don't remember too much about the layout of the old Sahara, but I don't remember the gaming area being THAT small. It's possible the restaurants pushed out towards the center and caused the gaming area to shrink.

              The restaurants seemed all seemed well-done. Ku Noodle, with its big windows allowing views of the kitchen from the outside, looks like it will be popular. I really like Griddle Cafe's look as well. Umami Burger is not just another burger spot, but also a full bar with TVs to watch sports. It was very inviting. 800 Degrees is a bit smaller and more subdued than their Monte Carlo location. Bazaar Meat is in a nice space and I like that it's a bit secluded from the main floor (while all the other eateries open up right onto the floor). Katsuya seemed to be really popular when I walked by. I didn't actually eat at any of the restaurants, but I will make my way through them soon. I'm originally from Southern California, so I was a bit amused at the SoCal food invasion of SLS Vegas.

              I really like the look of Perq. It seems like a great place to get a cup of coffee.

              Aside from the restaurants, it felt like that "young modern" concept some Macy's department stores tried few years ago in the young urban casual section. Where they left the ground, walls, and ceiling unfinished and threw up some fake graffiti. I think that concept failed miserably. I guess it's what the SLS clientele want, but it's not for me. I like subdued elegance like Aria, M Resort, and Palazzo.

              1. re: ah6tyfour

                Thanks to both of you for the first-day reports. I have no vested interest in SLS, but I would love for there to be a renaissance on the Northern part of the Strip. It was a different time when the Flamingo, Riviera, and the Stardust were thriving.

                1. re: Dave Feldman

                  Time to +1 the ah6tyfour take on the casino floor - they did give a lot of space away to the bar/restaurants/club, and crammed too many machines and tables into the remaining space. Walk-through points are non-existent for now. No design element in play at all - just get as many gaming options into the space as possible. It is more than likely that over time they can sort that out by removing some of them - after the opening weekend festivities, they are going to find attracting steady weekday play to be difficult, and the crowd they are aiming for on weekends is restaurant/club, not "pit". Having the Paradise parking garage elevator inoperable on Sunday night was also not a great way to make a first impression.

                  Also a +1 to uhockey on the Bazaar Meat references - close friends have been extremely impressed already. As it turns out, Jose Andres is over-seeing many aspects of the food development throughout the property, not just Bazaar Meats and Ku Noodle, and it led to a level of professionalism at Umami Burger that was a plus (it was chosen by out of town guests that wanted to be able to watch NFL and MLB, since the Sports Book is located in that space) - there is a Jose Andres Burger listed on the menu, but it was not available because he was not happy with the product yet. While not having it ready for opening weekend can be labeled as a mistake, in some ways one has to like a quality control to refuse to serve something that is not up to the expected standard. The food was uninspiring (the house-made pickles the exception), and both the wooden picnic tables and tacky antler chandeliers in the patio area do not blend in well with the vibe of the rest of the property. But being able to sip a Gulden Draak (not easy to find in Las Vegas) helped to ease those pains.

                  1. re: QAW

                    Andres has been in town over a week overseeing the restaurants which speaks volumes. The menu at Bazaar Meats (posted by John Curtas on his instagram feed) looks ridiculous. If I weren't to be out of town the next two weekends I'd be planning a visit. The $520 9-11 pound pig roast seems like something I want to gather a dozen for...

                    1. re: uhockey

                      Funny, we had a party of four at Umami, and the topic came up. We thought we could handle it ourselves, and may genuinely make the attempt the next time they are in town. The difficulty with the Bazaar Meats menu will be finding a single thing to NOT order...

                      1. re: QAW

                        I'm talking a dozen to do it and the rest of the menu. If you need a 5th I'm not hard to find. ;)

                        1. re: uhockey

                          I know weeknights are difficult for you, but there is still a seat open for the Chowhound gathering at Bazaar Meats on October 2nd. That would take us to a party of six, a nice number to properly attack that menu.

                          1. re: QAW

                            Could always push the 6 top to accommodate more, just thinking out loud...

                            1. re: LVI

                              Will let you know before end of the month. Would have to take off 10/3, but could be doable with Frozen Fury on 10/4 anyhow.

                            2. re: QAW

                              QAW, LIC (possibly UH) should we post an invite and make our 10/2 bigger for the purpose of getting the suckling pig dinner amongst other items? I'm happy either way, want to know your feelings. Also, my party has expanded, I am definitely 4, probably 5, and with you guys that's 6 (7 or 8 if Mike jumps on board).

                              1. re: LVI

                                I am open to any possibilities. Knowing a few of the appetites involved, we may already have enough to handle the suckling pig, and a whole lot more.

                                1. re: QAW

                                  Same here. I'm also thinking we'll have to do the pig, plus more. No?

                                  1. re: LongIslandChef

                                    I live a mile from the Sahara. Would have no problem bringing the remnants of a lil' porky carcass home for some nice weekend picking...

                                    1. re: QAW

                                      Then "Friday Dave" won't have to order so much I suppose?!

                                      Ten would a good number I'm thinking and w/out Mike we are firm 7. Getting pretty excited about this dinner, hearing/seeing some impressive things.

                                      1. re: LVI

                                        Talk about bad habits - I am still saying "Sahara" instead of "SLS". On Friday, the LVH officially becomes the Westgate. I am wondering how many months it will take before I can get that correct.

                                        1. re: LVI

                                          The day of the week simply doesn't work for me with a full schedule the following day and dining plans for the weekend as well, plus I'm doing Bazaar Meats with a group of 8 on 9/20 so I'll get you guys some heads up before then.

                                          I'm game for dining anywhere with anyone for lunch on 10/4, or for very early dinner as I'll be going to see the Kings/Avs game at 7:00p at MGM.

                                          1. re: uhockey

                                            Being a Ranger fan not sure I want to break bread w/you. :-(

                                            1. re: uhockey

                                              Saturdays tend to be later for us as we eat late lunch and college football is non-stop. Lunch may work or late dinner?

                                              1. re: LVI

                                                Shoot me an e-mail with your gameplan and we'll make it work. :) I can likely swing either, though lunch (any time, really) is probably better. Meeting a friend from my Ohio days for breakfast at Griddle Cafe around 8 or 9a, so I'll have plenty of fuel to last for later lunch (or dinner)

                                                1. re: uhockey

                                                  Maybe we'll try Griddle Sat morn. Although Tableau is so friggin good and convenient. More savory (not ur gig) than sweet. I will ask my buds.

                                                  1. re: LVI

                                                    Keep me posted - leaving the agenda for that weekend largely open.

                            3. re: uhockey

                              In the FWIW Dept., *Jaleo* is doing whole pigs every Sunday now, AND by special (3-day advance) request any other day of the week. According to the email I received:

                              "Groups are able to order a cochnillo roast for themselves. The cost is $600 and it feeds 14-35 people (depending on the size of the pig). It works best for a group of 20 or more people paired with a set menu/additional tapas. The more notice the better, but we do need at least 3 days notice so we can order the item and prepare it."

                2. Restaurants and buffets are generally pretty awful on opening days, and for a few weeks afterwards. Especially the service. I don't know why so many people don't seem to have figured this out over the years.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jackattack

                    I have found the opposite to be true, especially with buffets. They put out their best right at the start and then slowly they're forced to cut costs. When Wicked Spoon opened, it was a great meal and they had king crab legs served in butter, but in a way I've never seen before. The king crab was whole with the shell removed, so you got the entire thickness of the crab along with the meat of every joint below the main one. It was like a king crab steak. And Bacchanal was amazing right at the start. Unfortunately, the king crab (most of the time the only way to get some is to ask for it at the hot station) is gone as is the Tomahawk chop. They also got rid of the interesting sashimi dishes they used to put out. It's still my go-to buffet, but it's not quite as spectacular as it once was.

                    Sit-down restaurant grand openings can be a bit hit or miss, I'll agree with that.

                    1. re: hdbowden

                      The renovated Sahara hotel, just next to Circus Circus.

                    2. A few friends and I visited the SLS and all of us were mostly underwhelmed by the property. We didn't try any of the dining offerings, but will probably give a couple of them a shot at some point. Other than that there's really nothing there which beckoned us to come back anytime soon.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Whisper

                        That's how I felt about SLS. Except for restaurants, no reason to go back. Nothing about the place stands out. It almost looks like you could peel back the wallpaper and rub away the new paint to reveal the old Sahara still there underneath. And who thought it was a good idea to not replace the parking garage elevators?

                        They should have imploded the Sahara and rebuilt from scratch. If nothing else, that would have allowed them to have higher ceilings and change the floor plan.

                        I'm excited about the Umami Burger sports bar though.

                        1. re: ah6tyfour

                          I'll check out Umami for a Buckeyes game this year, I'm sure, but I'm making it a point to get down to Born and Raised more for College Football this year.

                      2. Talk about a rather uninspiring opening arc, the SLS has announced that the Buffet is now "weekends only", Friday - Sunday from 8 AM to 9 PM.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: QAW

                          QAW we all set for Thursday? Reviews are scaring me a bit ($ and quality. If you need my contact info let me know. We are going to be 5, plus you and LIC. So we have 1 space if you know anybody else wanting to join. Should be a gr8 night!

                          1. re: LVI

                            I think we all pretty much knew what the price points would be like even before they opened, so I am still in. I could use a refresher as to the starting time - I can not remember which thread it was in.

                            1. re: QAW

                              7:30 tomorrow. It's all part of the "budget". I look forward to it.