Caesars Palace Brunch Buffet

Caesars Palace (last visit: September 2012).

Caesars' Bacchanal Buffet opened to much fanfare in September 2012. It aims to be the best buffet in town.

The Layout
Serving areas are divided according to theme: Mexican, Chinese, sliced meats, desserts, and so on. Unlike most buffets, the majority of items are placed in single portion plates or tiny pans. A number of items are made to order.

The Atmosphere
Even though it's a large area, it feels small. The space is divided into smaller spaces; it feels neither noisy nor crowded. Service is prompt and cheerful: coffee arrived quickly, used plates were immediately cleared, and I was asked more than once whether I needed anything else.

The Food
For brunch, there was a wide variety of breakfast and lunch choices, ranging from soup to nuts (I always wanted to say that).  Here are the things I remembered to write down, in no particular order:
Assorted salumi: I tried a few selections. They seemed a little dried out, perhaps from standing around, but were decent.
Soup dumplings. I think this was emblematic of the problems faced by buffets. The soup dumplings appeared to be dead ringers for the wonderful ones I had at Beijing Noodle No. 9 just a few days earlier. They may even have been made by the same people. However, the ones at the buffet were lukewarm, not hot, and also suffered from being slightly dried out. I'm not sure any buffet could have done better, but nonetheless it was disappointing.
Har gow. The shrimp dumplings suffered from the same problems as the soup dumplings: lukewarm and ever so slightly dried out. Not bad, but not as good as they should be.
You tiao (Chinese fried bread stick). Crisp and appropriately oily.
Sticky rice in lotus leaf. It was - you guessed it - lukewarm, resulting in rice that was more glue-like than sticky.
Breakfast sausage. Fat, crisp, and good quality. It wasn't hot, but at least it was pretty warm.
Eggs Benedict. Lukewarm.
Mexican shredded beef. Slightly spicy and very flavorful. This was one of the better things I tried. It was reasonably warm - perhaps because it was served in one of those traditional warming trays, instead of in single portions.
Dessert crepe with fruit (you choose the fruit). Made to order; pretty good.

I'm not a buffet person. I really shouldn't have gone. The food was attractively displayed, and the quality was probably as good as could be expected, but still not as good as available in nearby restaurants. The decision to serve many items in single portion containers may help quality in some ways, but it may also result in food that cools off faster than that in those giant warming trays.

It's possible that it's the best buffet around, but I still can't recommend it.

Note that I went to the buffet shortly after it opened. Some other buffets have a history of being much better during the first few months, then settling into mediocrity. Time will tell whether this happens at Bacchanal.

The Bill
The brunch was about $30, plus tax and tip.

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