Review: India Oven / Indian Masala, Las Vegas, NV

We stopped by India Oven / Indian Masala for lunch on a Thursday night in late July, 2017 and enjoyed their lunch buffet.  It was pretty generic as far as Indian lunch buffets go, which is not a bad thing.

The restaurant is a fusion of two different Indian restaurants, Indian Oven and Indian Masala, and it does not seem to have decided upon a name so it’s using both.  Hey, it’s Vegas, why not?  It sits in a small strip mall but the inside is rather nice, it could even pass for elegant if it didn’t have a buffet.

The buffet included a small salad bar, made-to-order naan (choice between plain, butter or garlic), had a couple of appetizers (vegetable pakoras and samosas), soup/daal (if I remember correctly), rice and vegetable rice and four each vegetarian and meat entrees.  It most certainly did not have all the dishes they claim to offer in their website, not even close.   I tried the four meat dishes and was fairly pleased.  The chicken tikka masala had a very nice flavor, slightly spicy, but deep.  I enjoyed it.  The goat and chicken curry both seemed to have the same sauce, it was good but not a favorite.  The chicken tandoori was juicy and very flavorful.  My daughter was less happy with the paneer dish she had, but it wasn’t one she usually eats (there was no paneer tikka masala).

The buffet also includes drinks, and my daughters liked the lemonade and the mango lassi, which was more like a thin mango drink than a lassi.

Service was fairly good, though they initially tried to charge my husband for a buffet even though he had clearly not eaten anything (he was sick).  Dinner for the four of us (I was there with three tweens), came up to a little over $50 after tax.

Given the plethora of Indian restaurants in Vegas, I’d probably try a different one next time, but this is certainly good enough to visit again.

India Oven Restaurant
India Masala & Bar Grill

1040 E Flamingo Rd
Las Vegas, NV
http://www.indiamasalalasvegas.com
Open 11.30am to 3pm –  5pm to 10pm


Review: Paradise Garden Buffet at The Flamingo, Las Vegas

Every year we get a Buffet of Buffets deal when we visit Vegas, and it’s become our costume to go to the Paradise Garden Buffet for a light lunch.  I like visiting the Flamingo Habitat, and the buffet overlooks it.  Really, the view is the best thing about this buffet.  The food is terrible.

The Flamingo is now offering a weekday brunch buffet, instead of separate breakfast and lunch buffets.  The offerings are mostly breakfast stuff, pancakes and eggs, sausages and breakfast meats (ham, turkey and sausages – no beef) but they do have made-to-order omelettes and pancakes as well as one cold-cut sandwich, which was rather good. They also have pizzas, which my youngest daughter absolutely loved, and not-bad fried chicken and pork loin.   They have made-to-order crepes, but they only offer sweet crepes and the quality of the ingredients left much to be desired. They cannot be compared to those at the Paris’ buffet.

The Flamingo no longer offers a chocolate fountain.  It was awful and my daughter doesn’t like chocolate, but she loved seeing it.  She wasn’t happy it was gone.

All in all, this is a buffet I would not pay to go to.

Paradise Garden Buffet
3555 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV
website
Weekday/Weekend Brunch 7 AM – 2 PM daily: $22/25, Children 4-9 yo: $11
F-Sa Dinner Buffet 5-10 PM: $30

Marga’s Restaurant Reviews

 This review is from our trip to Las Vegas in August 2014.

The Flamingo hotel is one of the cheapest of Caesar’s properties, and its buffet gets some of the worst reviews.  However, it has large windows with views of the flamingo habitat outside, and who doesn’t love flamingos? So armed with our buffet of buffet passes, we headed there – via taxi – a Friday around 3:30 PM in August 2014.

The restaurant was open (it now closes at 2 PM), but the server in charge of the section by the windows had not shown up and they didn’t want to seat us there.  After quite a lot of pleading and a request to speak with the manager, they made do and sat us in that section.  Given that we had come specifically for the flamingo experience, I really was not willing to accept anything else.   The first dining room – the closest to the entrance -, where we were seated, has the best view of the habitat as that’s where the flamingos hang out.

Other than the view, there is absolutely nothing to recommend this buffet.  First of all, it’s fairly small consisting mostly of American fare.  Nothing looked particularly appetizing to me, so all I got was some prime rib and a cilantro chicken wing.  The beef was surprisingly good for a buffet – better than the one served at the Paris and Planet Hollywood – in that it wasn’t dry.  The chicken was also tasty.  So if you do go for the flamingos, these two items are safe to eat.

One of my daughters did enjoy the sushi and the cold shrimp and the other one did fairly well with the pasta, but they are kids.  My dad, found both the roast turkey with gravy and the fried chicken very dry.

Desserts were a little better.  Skip the chocolate fountain if it’s working. It may look cool but the chocolate syrup tastes like cocoa powder.  The cupcakes weren’t a big hit, but the little pudding cups were good.  Some of the pastries were also OK.  My youngest daughter liked the cotton candy.

All in all, we wouldn’t go back for the food, but the view made it worth it – at least as part of the buffet of buffet deal. I would not pay for it otherwise.

 


Le Village Buffet at the Paris Hotel – Las Vegas, NV – Review

We have been going to Le Village Buffet at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas annually for several years.  My kids love going there and insist that it be part of our annual trip (my husband goes for a conference, I go for the pool, the kids just come along). In these years, I’ve noticed a substantial decline.  We visit it with a Buffet of Buffets pass, which means we pay about $20+tax per person for the meal.  For that, it’s not a bad deal. But at the $32 full price, it’s not in the least justifiable.

We visited Le Village Buffet both for a weekday dinner and breakfast last week.  I noticed the dinner buffet to be poorer and less French than in previous years.  Gone was the tri-tip from the Savoy section, for example, replaced by roasted cauliflower!  You could still get chicken or sausage, but no beef.    The prime rib had been replaced by roast beef – it had a nice flavor and it was a large piece, but it wasn’t special.  There was no roasted lamb or pork belly.  There was duck a l’orange, but it was a failure.  Once again the meat was too dry and the flavor lacking to justify the dish.  I was sorry I tried it. If they are going to kill a duck, they should honor it by cooking it properly.  Mashed potatoes and mushrooms were good, but pedestrian.

A mushroom crepe, cooked with cheese and sprinkled with some sort of truffle sort, OTOH, was delicious.  I did have to wait for half an hour to get it – the Paris was apparently too cheap to have two crepemakers working on tandem -, but at least I enjoyed it.  I also enjoyed the leftovers of my daughter’s caprese crepe (but note that the mozarella they use is not fresh, despite their claims).  She liked the truffled mac & cheese.

Desserts, as usual, did not awe, but some were OK. Mostly not worth the calories, however.

Breakfast for me the next morning was a strawberry ricotta crepe.  The wait wasn’t as long, but again they could have used a second crepe-maker.  The crepe was delicious – but not worth the $22 price, even if we add the average coffee and non-fresh orange juice that I also consumed.   But the crepe was too filling to want to eat anything else.  My daughter had the cookie dough crepe which she felt was really good but too sweet.  The more traditional banana/nutella crepe was also good.

The choices for crepes (same for dinner and breakfast) have also gone down.  They used to have mixed berries and sliced hazelnuts available in the past, but they do no longer.

Note that Le Village Buffet is the only buffet in Vegas that accepts Open Table reservations. Make them and save yourself the line.

Le Village Buffet at the Paris Hotel & Casino
3665 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV
(702) 946-700
http://www.parislasvegas.com/restaurants/le-village-buffet.html

Weekday Breakfast $22/13, Weekend Breakfast $24/15, Weekday Lunch $25/15, Weekend Brunch $31/20, Weekday Dinner $31/18, Weekend Dinner $31/20. Groupon deal often available. Available with Buffet of Buffets pass.

Marga’s Restaurant Reviews

Marga’s Las Vegas

The following review is from 2014

For years, Le Village Buffet at the Paris Hotel and Casino was my favorite buffet in Vegas.   I appreciated the combination of French classics and regional dishes, and looked forward to tasting dishes that I don’t encounter that often otherwise. My daughters love the atmosphere – the buffet is decorated so that you feel you are eating al fresco in a French village square.  However, my last visits to the buffet – for dinner and breakfast in August 2014 – were really disappointing, and I don’t look forward to going back.

DINNER

We went to dinner at 8 PM, later than in previous occasions, but not what I would consider particularly late for Las Vegas. The place was hopping and there were enough people in line that I was happy we had made a reservation through Open Table and were sat immediately (however, we were put in the non-decorated room near the bathroom, nor a particularly nice dining location).  The food, however, left much to be desired.  They were out of several dishes and the quality and taste were inferior to previous occasions.

This time I started with the cavatappi with truffle sauce, which I had raved about the previous year.  It was almost as good.   The duck a l’orange was overcooked and a little tough, but not too greasy and the orange sauce was good.  Scalloped potatoes were as good as I remembered – as was the tri-tip.

Other dishes were a failure.  Both the prime rib and the stuffed lamb were dry, the former was also chewy.  The mac & cheese had peas instead of bacon, and even my 9-year old didn’t like it.  The sole was cooked Florentine style this time, and also seemed dry.  They were out of quiche. The pork belly, which had been served in a cute individual plate last year, now had the texture and flavor of pork shoulder, but still managed to feel dry in my mouth.  I usually like my dishes salty, but I felt most of the meat was oversalted.

For dessert I had a made-to-order crepe with mixed berries (they were out of strawberries) and bananas inside, and caramel sauce, powdered sugar, whipped cream and candied hazelnuts outside.  It was outstanding, delicious, perfect.  I would much recommend.

The creme brulee was also quite good, and there was a square cheesecake with berry fruit inside which was also delicious.  Other cheesecakes weren’t, but I didn’t  try too many of the desserts.

Service was good, but all in all, I didn’t think it was a particularly noteworthy meal.

BREAKFAST

Breakfast the following morning was also disappointing – or would have been if I had paid full price for it.  None of the pastries looked appetizing, they weren’t French and they were served cold.  My daughter likened them to pastries from Costco.  We didn’t actually try them, however, so perhaps they tasted better than they looked.  My daughter had a muffin and enjoyed them.

My husband said the slab bacon was pretty good.  They have a wide assortment of savory dishes, but I prefer sweet fare in the morning. I had one of their #1 crepes, with banana and nutella, and it was very good.  However,  there is a creperie right outside selling crepes for $11, which is a better deal than the breakfast buffet.

The coffee was OK, the orange juice was low-quality bottled stuff.

We’ll be staying at the Paris again this year, so I may still give the restaurant a try if I get a good daily deal.  Regular price for Total Rewards members vary from $23 to $34 depending on meal and day.

August 2013 review

I will admit that what keeps us returning to Le Village is, more than anything, the setting.  The buffet is made to look as if you are eating in the middle of a French village, under the  late afternoon sky.  Sure, it’s a little bit Disneyesque, but charming nonetheless and a huge favorite of my oldest daughter, Mika, now age 11.

We wouldn’t go back to Le Village if the food wasn’t good, however, and indeed the food here is at least a notch or two above that of other buffets.  Not everything is a winner, of course, but there are enough wonderful dishes to keep any French food lover happy.

The buffet is divided in stations which purport to present dishes from different regions of France.  In addition to these, there is a large salad, soup and seafood station as well as a dessert station.  The food at the regional stations is not always true to the provinces it represents, but they at least try to make the effort.

During both of our most recent stays, we enjoyed the grilled meats in the Savoie station.  They are nicely seasoned and cooked, just make sure to forgo the sauces.  Don’t miss the cheeses at this station either.

Next to it, the Brittany station specializes in crepes.  They have both savory and sweet offerings. I haven’t tried the savory yet, but make sure you leave room for a sweet crepe at the end of your meal. They are very, very good. I particularly enjoy the hazelnuts on top.

The Normandy station specializes in seafood, and if you must have sushi while at Le Village here is where you’d find it.  I had the stuffed sole instead, which was very good. I hadn’t enjoyed the quiche when I had it in 2012, but by 2013 it had become more flavorful.

No Vegas buffet can survive without the obligatory carved-to-order roasts and other American traditional foods, and Le Village has decided to place this in the Burgundy station.  The prime rib was very good, so I guess I can’t really complain.  The mac & cheese was lacking back in 2012, but by 2013 it was made with brie and bacon and could satisfy both kids and grownups alike.

Food in Alsace also got better.  In addition to the traditional bakeoff, this year there was an amazing pork belly, fork tender and extremely flavorful. Don’t miss it and get some scalloped potatoes and caramelized onions while you’re at it.

I’ve always left the Provence station for last, but perhaps next time I should change that.  The cavatappi pasta in truffle sauce I had this year was, easily, the best dish I had in Vegas.  It would not be out of place at a 5-star restaurant and I think next time I’ll begin by having half a plate of it.  Alas, I remember this same dish lacking the year before so hopefully my good experience wasn’t a fluke.

Dessert wise, if you must try something other than a crepe (and you probably must), Le Village does a particular good job with its chocolate pastries and its creme brulee. The kids like the frozen custard, very much like soft ice cream.

When we were there, Le Village also offered an “all you can drink wine, champagne or mimosas” for $14.  According to their website, they’ve now changed this to all-you-can-drink Blue Moon or Miller Lite beer, house red and white wine or bloody marys for $12.  The house wines are undrinkable, however, so unless you really like Blue Moon (which I haven’t tried), you may want to stick with water or soda.

Service was competent both times we went, however it was much friendlier the second time. She got a much better tip.

The one issue I have with Le Village buffet is that it’s rather expensive.  It’s between $30 and $33 for dinner ($3 off if you have a Total Rewards card)  for adults and $18 to $20 for children, but Le Village defines as an “adult”anyone over the age of 8.  I hope that they don’t apply the same standards to their labor practices.    In any case, I wouldn’t pay full price to go to Le Village, but keep your eye on groupon for special deals (we got dinner and unlimited drinks for 2 for $45).  Le Village also participates in the Buffet of Buffets deal.

July 2012 Review

My husband and I love French food and had been happy enough with our last experience at the Paris Buffet (back at the turn of the millennium), that we decided to give it a try again for dinner when we visited Las Vegas last month (July 2012).  This despite the fact that the buffet now gets mixed reviews.  In all, I have to say we were pretty happy and it was easily the best of the four other buffets we ate in Vegas using our Buffet of Buffets pass (Planet Hollywood, the Rio, Harrah’s and Main Street Station).

Three things make the Paris buffet special.  One is the Disneyiske setting, in an open-air plaza, under a fake sky, surrounded by cute French-looking houses.  My kids loved it, but so did I.  A second is the fact that the food actually tries to be regional French, it doesn’t always succeed, but it’s a valiant effort.  Finally, it’s the fact that the menu is limited enough to at least give you a chance to try everything you want to try (not everything there is, of course).  I tried a lot of stuff.

The food stands are divided by French region, though there is a station dedicated to soup, salads and seafood and another to desserts.  I tried the French Onion soup here and was underwhelmed.  The onions had not been caramelized enough and the broth was too weak.

The first region I visited was Provence.  Here I tasted some beef braised in a dark sauce.  My husban liked it quiet a bit, but I felt the dish needed some sweetness, some wine in the sauce or caramelization on the beef.  The saffron rice tasted like plain buttered rice, it was good but there were no hints of saffron.  A dish of pasta in a cream sauce was quite satisfying, though I think it would have been helped by some grated cheese on top.  A stewed chicken gave a hint of having been cooked in wine, but otherwise lacked seasoning.

My next region was Alsace, a region in the border with Germany that has gone back and forth between the two countries.  I’ve both eaten and cooked Alsatian food before and I’m quite fond of it.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t too fond of the chocroute garni, the meat was a tad too sweet and too spicy for me, while the pickled cabbage was too vinegary for my taste.  The rest of the offerings were better, but not Alsatian.  The cassoulet was nicely done and the meat was flavorful,the caramelized pearl onions were delicious, though a little underdone, and the scalloped potatoes were  wonderful.

My venture into Savoie (a region I don’t know at all) was even more successful.  Here I tried the grilled pita bread, lamb, tri-tip and chicken – apparently they like to grill in Savoie.  They were all great, in particular the lamb and the tri-tip.  Don’t bother with the chateubriand sauce, however, it wasn’t that good and would have ruined the meats.

This station also includes a sample of cheeses.  The smoked gouda (or a cheese that tastes as such) was particularly delicious.

Normandy offered a stuffed sole which I loved.  It had a beautiful crust and a delicious flavor, once you added a squeeze of lemon juice.  Mike wasn’t as fond of it, and I can’t really understand why.  The ham and cheese quiche was less successful, it tasted very much of Parmessan.  There is also a small sushi section, but I didn’t try that at all.

Finally, I was surprised that there was neither beef bourguignon nor coq au vin in the Burgundy section but I then realized that this was actually the American station.   Here you can find rotisserie chicken (I didn’t try it), prime rib (very good), roasted pork with apples (so salty as to make it inedible), roasted and mashed potatoes (good enough) and mac & cheese (lacked flavor).

For dessert, I first headed to the Breton section where you could try apple crisp and bread pudding (homey, but nothing to write home about) as well as made-to-order crepes.  The crepes were the standard French variety, rather than Breton buckwheat galettes, but they were delicious.  I had mine with strawberries and bananas covered with fudge and hazelnuts.  The one problem is that the strawberries were already macerated and too sweet, so make sure you add some element to compensate for that.  Still, it was sooo good.

We also visited the dessert station and here I tried several things.  There was a chocolate mousse pastry on a hazelnut crust which was delicious and a lemon cookie sandwich that was out of this world.  The other desserts impressed less.  The cheesecake was less inspired that at other buffets and the creme brulet lacked umf.  I liked the peanut butter cookie, but the sugar cookie was nothing special.  The kids loved the soft custard (aka ice cream).

I had the unlimited mimosas/champagne/wine deal for dinner ($14, I think), and it’s a good deal if you’re planning to drink alcohol and are not too picky about quality.  I enjoyed the mimosas and the champagne.  The wine tasted like $2 chuck and I would definitely not have it again.

Probably the worst part of the evening was our waitress.  She was efficient but seemed to be having a crappy night and there was never a hint of smile on her face.  I’m sorry, but dining is an experience and unhappy waitresses bring it down a notch.

All in all this is a good buffet  and I’d definitely do it again.

 


Review: Garden Court Buffet at the Main Street Station casino, Las Vegas

I am putting together a Las Vegas with Kids webpage, containing all my reviews for Las Vegas.  Some of those reviews never made it to my blog, so I’m adding them now.  This one is rather old, from July 2012.

If you are looking for a cheap buffet and/or want an introduction to classic American home cooking, then the Garden Court Buffet at the Main Street Station casino is for you.  The buffet is only $11 for dinner ($10 if you join their player’s club) and offers a whole array of American classics, from fried chicken to roast beef and manicotti, to pork shoulder and make-your-own-tacos.  There are also pasta salads, mashed and baked potatoes, green beans, steamed carrots, etc.  The only thing really missing are ribs.  The casino seems attract Filipino/Hawaiians, so there were a few Chinese/Filipino/Hawaiian offerings as well.

We weren’t too hungry so we didn’t taste that many dishes, but the manapua (Hawaiian steamed pork buns) were the best I’ve tasted.  The pork had the perfect combination of acid and sweetness and they kept very well in the steam table.  I wholeheartedly recommend this.  The other winner are the mashed potatoes.  They are perfectly seasoned and taste just of what they are.  The kalua pork was also pretty good, but as the main flavor in this dish is liquid smoke, it’s hard to get it wrong.

Other dishes weren’t as great.  My daughters enjoyed the “make your own tacos” station and I liked the tortilla chips, but the guacamole needed more avocado.  The fried chicken was crispy, but it tasted like the microwavable kind.  The lumpia and chow mein both needed more seasoning.  My husband liked the pasta salad (or was it potato salad?), but it wasn’t cold enough.

The biggest loser of the day was the mac & cheese  I didn’t taste it, but my daughter could barely stomach one bite – and this is not a picky child.  The other loser was the melon, which was unripe and not sweet.

Desserts were the best part.  Their banana cream pie was particularly tasty, but their key lime pie wasn’t bad – though too sour.  The cheesecake was great, if a bit sweet.  Everyone’s favorite, of course, was the soft-serve station.  There are many other choices, however: from pies to pastries to puddings.

Service was great, our waiter refilled our glasses often.

In all, it was a very pleasant experience.

Garden Court Buffet
Main Street Station Casino
200 N Main St
Las Vegas, NV
website

Marga’s Las Vegas

Marga’s Restaurant Reviews


Le Village Buffet Review – Paris Hotel – Las Vegas –

UPDATE: Please check out my updated review of Le Village Buffet

My husband and I love French food and had been happy enough with our last experience at the Paris Buffet (back at the turn of the millennium), that we decided to give it a try again for dinner when we visited Las Vegas last month (July 2012).  This despite the fact that the buffet now gets mixed reviews.  In all, I have to say we were pretty happy and it was easily the best of the four other buffets we ate in Vegas using our Buffet of Buffets pass (Planet Hollywood, the Rio, Harrah’s and Main Street Station).

Three things make the Paris buffet special.  One is the Disneyiske setting, in an open-air plaza, under a fake sky, surrounded by cute French-looking houses.  My kids loved it, but so did I.  A second is the fact that the food actually tries to be regional French, it doesn’t always succeed, but it’s a valiant effort.  Finally, it’s the fact that the menu is limited enough to at least give you a chance to try everything you want to try (not everything there is, of course).  I tried a lot of stuff.

The food stands are divided by French region, though there is a station dedicated to soup, salads and seafood and another to desserts.  I tried the French Onion soup here and was underwhelmed.  The onions had not been caramelized enough and the broth was too weak.

The first region I visited was Provence.  Here I tasted some beef braised in a dark sauce.  My husban liked it quiet a bit, but I felt the dish needed some sweetness, some wine in the sauce or caramelization on the beef.  The saffron rice tasted like plain buttered rice, it was good but there were no hints of saffron.  A dish of pasta in a cream sauce was quite satisfying, though I think it would have been helped by some grated cheese on top.  A stewed chicken gave a hint of having been cooked in wine, but otherwise lacked seasoning.

My next region was Alsace, a region in the border with Germany that has gone back and forth between the two countries.  I’ve both eaten and cooked Alsatian food before and I’m quite fond of it.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t too fond of the chocroute garni, the meat was a tad too sweet and too spicy for me, while the pickled cabbage was too vinegary for my taste.  The rest of the offerings were better, but not Alsatian.  The cassoulet was nicely done and the meat was flavorful,the caramelized pearl onions were delicious, though a little underdone, and the scalloped potatoes were  wonderful.

My venture into Savoie (a region I don’t know at all) was even more successful.  Here I tried the grilled pita bread, lamb, tri-tip and chicken – apparently they like to grill in Savoie.  They were all great, in particular the lamb and the tri-tip.  Don’t bother with the chateubriand sauce, however, it wasn’t that good and would have ruined the meats.

This station also includes a sample of cheeses.  The smoked gouda (or a cheese that tastes as such) was particularly delicious.

Normandy offered a stuffed sole which I loved.  It had a beautiful crust and a delicious flavor, once you added a squeeze of lemon juice.  Mike wasn’t as fond of it, and I can’t really understand why.  The ham and cheese quiche was less successful, it tasted very much of Parmessan.  There is also a small sushi section, but I didn’t try that at all.

Finally, I was surprised that there was neither beef bourguignon nor coq au vin in the Burgundy section but I then realized that this was actually the American station.   Here you can find rotisserie chicken (I didn’t try it), prime rib (very good), roasted pork with apples (so salty as to make it inedible), roasted and mashed potatoes (good enough) and mac & cheese (lacked flavor).

For dessert, I first headed to the Breton section where you could try apple crisp and bread pudding (homey, but nothing to write home about) as well as made-to-order crepes.  The crepes were the standard French variety, rather than Breton buckwheat galettes, but they were delicious.  I had mine with strawberries and bananas covered with fudge and hazelnuts.  The one problem is that the strawberries were already macerated and too sweet, so make sure you add some element to compensate for that.  Still, it was sooo good.

We also visited the dessert station and here I tried several things.  There was a chocolate mousse pastry on a hazelnut crust which was delicious and a lemon cookie sandwich that was out of this world.  The other desserts impressed less.  The cheesecake was less inspired that at other buffets and the creme brulet lacked umf.  I liked the peanut butter cookie, but the sugar cookie was nothing special.  The kids loved the soft custard (aka ice cream).

I had the unlimited mimosas/champagne/wine deal for dinner ($14, I think), and it’s a good deal if you’re planning to drink alcohol and are not too picky about quality.  I enjoyed the mimosas and the champagne.  The wine tasted like $2 chuck and I would definitely not have it again.

Probably the worst part of the evening was our waitress.  She was efficient but seemed to be having a crappy night and there was never a hint of smile on her face.  I’m sorry, but dining is an experience and unhappy waitresses bring it down a notch.

All in all this is a good buffet  and I’d defintiely do it again.

Marga’s Restaurant Reviews outside the Bay Area


Spice Market Buffet – Planet Hollywood Resort, Las Vegas – Review

(Updated with 8/14 visit)

Las Vegas used to be the land of buffets.  Every casino used to offer them as a way to draw in customers, who would then spend lots of money gambling.  They used to be terribly cheap. That’s no longer the case.  Every casino still has a buffet, but the majority of them are extremely expensive.  Even a cheap buffet like the Luxor’s is $20 for dinner, with most of the better ones averaging around $30.  I think the only reason why they can get away with those prices is that most of the restaurants on the strip are grossly overpriced, going off the strip requires a car, an expensive taxi drive or an uncomfortable bus ride.  They have you.

All that said, I sort of wanted to go to a buffet during our 2011 trip to Vegas.  I had gotten a 2-for-1 buffet offer with my MGM Grand room, but the MGM buffet gets such terrible reviews that I didn’t want to try it even at the reduced priced.  I decided upon trying the Spice Market Buffet mostly because it was at the Planet Hollywood hotel, where I wanted to go to check the “rainstorm” attraction, and because at $23 after a $5 off coupon I found online, it wasn’t terribly priced.  Plus it got decent reviews.  In all, it wasn’t a bad choice.  The food ranged from OK to good and given the prices in Las Vegas it wasn’t a bad value.

We returned to the buffet for dinner in August 2014, using the “buffet of buffets” pass (which gives you entry into 5 participating buffets for $50/$65 weekdays/weekends). The food then felt even more tired and less exciting than the first time around.  I don’t think any of us were able to find anything that really excited us.  The items I had liked during my first visit (Italian short ribs, American BBQ ribs and Chinese pork buns) were either missing or inedible this time around.   As in other buffets, your best bet may be with the roasts – if you watch to make sure that the piece you get is from the center of a fresh roast.

The Spice Market Buffet portrays itself as an international buffet, and while the food stations are arranged by cuisine (“seafood”, “American”, “Italian”, “Asian”, “Mexican”, “Middle Eastern”, “bread & salads” and “desserts”), in reality all the “ethnic” food are American favorites from other cuisines.  For example, Mexican food included fajitas, tortilla chips and guacamole – not a mole poblano or a pollo al pibil.  Similarly, there was no chance you’d encounter a Persian stew or Syrian kibbeh at the Middle Eastern station: hummus, pita bread and a chicken curry was more like it.  Still, there was a lot of food, much more than anyone could possibly sample on just one visit.

Among the things we sampled and failed in our visits were a linguini with a garlic butter sauce lacked flavor, though my 9-yo liked it. The meatballs were too dry and not worth the calories.  The sauce on the chicken marsala was nice enough, but the chicken was so dry as to make it inedible.  The beef on both an Asian stir fry and Mexican beef fajitas was also dry and tough, though the flavors were OK. The guacamole had been clearly mixed with some extender. The crab legs were very, very dry.  A crab-stuffed-sole had been left for too long under the heat lamps and had become too tough.

Desserts were weak during our first visit, but had improved for our second -perhaps in comparison to the rest of the meal.  We were able to get seated relatively quickly, but our service, which had been good the first time, was so-so the second time.

I’m definitely not looking forward to returning.

Spice Market Buffet
Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino
3667 Las Vegas Boulevard. South
Las Vegas, NV
702-785-5555
http://www.planethollywoodresort.com/casinos/planet-hollywood/restaurants-dining/spice-market-buffet-detail.html

Breakfast $20/13, Weekday lunch $23/$15, Sa/Su Brunch $28/$20, Dinner $31/$20 (second prices are for kids 10 & under, Total Rewards members save $1)

$5 off coupon often available, Groupon deal often available, part of Buffet of Buffets pass

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