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Buffet Breakdown
By John Kelly

Las Vegas buffets are legendary. They are usually casual, all-you-can-eat affairs. Their main function is to get customers into the casino, feed them as quickly as possible, and leave them too bloated to feel like doing more than staggering over to the nearest comfy chair, which tends to be located in front of a slot machine.

Since these buffets are not expected to make a profit, they are exceptional values. Since they are exceptional values, the lines for them can be horrendous - up to an hour's wait for the most popular at peak times. Also, you will find yourself eating much to much, and in addition to putting on a few pounds, you are liable to doom yourself, as many do, to an extended stay at your hotel room's water closet. This could explain why so many of them have phones.

The remedy for both pitfalls is to only eat two meals a day. Avoiding the breakfast line is probably unavoidable, but eating your second meal around 3:00pm (provided the buffet is open then -check first!) not only avoids the lines, but often enables you to pay the lesser lunchtime prices, and they usually serve the same food as at dinner.

The temptation the eat at the heavily advertised bargain buffets is strong, but should generally be avoided, with notable exceptions listed below. "All you can eat" isn't very much if the food is bad. You paid hundreds for your airfare. You've dropped hundreds at the tables. Pay the extra $3 and eat a good buffet.

Awesome selections are another hallmark, but not, in my opinion, always a good thing. If there are too many items and not enough customers, the food sits too long, drying out.

Action Stations are parts of buffets where the items are cooked-to-order, thus ensuring freshness and that you get it the way you want it.


Categories Rated

Quality: Tastiest fare, ignoring cost.
Value: Combines quality and cost.
Atmosphere: Service, surroundings
Convenience: Either: how short the lines are, or, how easy it is to bypass the line and use the VIP line.
Selection: The number of different munchies offered.


1. Fiesta


Quality - 5
Value - 5
Atmosphere - 4
Convenience - 4
Selection - 5

The consensus best. Numerous action stations, great selection, great food, great price. Stir fry station, free standing coffee bar with espresso, cappuccino.
Gehrig reports (8/98): The Monday night "Hawaiian luau" version is the best of those @fiesta. It features a small Hawaiian band and at least one hula dancer. Seems every Hawaiian in lv shows up, often with grandma in tow. The line is occasionally long for this one, but amigo club redemption/comp uses a VIP/comp line, generally no wait. The Wednesday night seafood buffet is also popular.


2. Texas Station

Quality - 5
Value - 5
Atmosphere - 4
Convenience - 3
Selection - 5

Features great barbecue and Tex-Mex. Awesome selection.


3. Main Street Station

Quality - 4
Value - 5
Atmosphere - 4
Convenience - 3
Selection - 5

The food wasn't all that good when we visited, but everyone else raves about it, so I guess they just had an off day. The selection is second only to the Rio, featuring Chinese, Italian, Barbecue, Mexican and "action stations". The dining area is bright and open.


4. Golden Nugget

Quality - 5
Value - 4
Atmosphere - 4
Convenience - 5
Selection - 2

Small selection and cramped, but elegant dining area, but interesting, yummy selections (California roll - sushi on my last trip). Line is long, but anyone with a Golden Nugget slot club card can use the short VIP line. Their bread pudding is world-famous.

More Reviews Coming Soon!

 

 


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