Bellagio Dinner Buffet

Bellagio (last visit: September 2007).

I'd been to the buffet at Paris: not impressed. The buffet at Mirage: definitely not impressed. The buffets at Wynn - all three meals: somewhat more impressed, but not enough to return. I decided buffets were not for me.

So what happened? As luck would have it, I ended up in Las Vegas at the same time that my brother was visiting. We have different tastes in restaurants, and a buffet seemed like a good compromise. He thought Bellagio was pretty good, so off we went.

The buffet area is busy and not particularly pretty. It feels a lot like an upscale cafeteria - not bad, but lacking character. No big deal. Service was fine, with drinks coming quickly, and dirty plates being cleared quickly. I still haven't figured out how buffet staff know not to give your table away when you get up to get seconds (and thirds and...), but somehow it works.

Compared to Wynn, the selection at Bellagio is smaller, and the overall quality is about the same. However, Bellagio has a few dishes that are more interesting, or of better quality. The evening I was there, the standouts were:
·     Beef Wellington with Bearnaise Sauce. The pastry crust was reasonably flaky, the beef was tender, and the sauce was good. I went back for seconds.
·     African Bluenose. Some sort of firm white fish, it was fully cooked but still juicy.
·     Whole Quail. There really wasn't anything special about the quality, but I give the buffet extra points for offering something a little different.
·     Desserts. The variety of desserts is small, but I'm a sucker for rich chocolate offerings, and there were several that featured ganache or other chocolate fillings. The creme brulee was also good.

There were plenty of other items that were nothing special (e.g., marinated squid that was pretty standard, curried duck that didn't have much flavor, dried out gyro meat). Nonetheless, I give Bellagio the nod over my prior favorite buffet - Wynn - because Bellagio's offerings are a little more interesting. I still think buffets aren't worth it, but if you want to try a dinner buffet, this one is a good choice.

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