Last year I took a trip to Las Vegas. It was my first visit ever to the Sin City, but while Vegas is primarily known for its gambling, I also quickly learned that it’s the culinary capital of the country; from pizza to seafood to Asian, no chef ever does anything halfway at Vegas’s top-of-line restaurant offerings.
We stayed at the Vdara Hotel, which – like many other hotels in the area – offered a gourmet buffet packaged in for free with the fee (we stayed for three nights, at $122 a night). While many of the restaurants were fantastic and unforgettable, it’s the buffet I remember best – probably because the food selections were as expansive and varied as they were delicious.
We arrived at The Buffet (as the Vdara/Aria buffet was simply and succinctly named) in the morning for breakfast/brunch, where there was already a huge line winding out into the hallway. We waited about twenty minutes, but I’d say it was well worth it. Once we were seated we were offered drinks by a waiter; we paid for the $12.99 unlimited wine option and I enjoyed a bottomless glass of mimosa. Then we had a free run of the buffet, with the various food stations spread throughout the area in an attractive design. I think I had at least one dish from each station – there was an enormous salad selection, carving station, and “fish market” area, along with Asian, Italian, Mediterranean, Indian, and Latin stations. I went back for seconds, then thirds and fourths (needless to say, I didn’t eat for the rest of the day). My favorite dishes were the Chinese dim sum, Tandoori meat kabobs, flatbread with hummus, pizza, and the American diner-style omelets. My favorite station overall was the Indian station.
The Buffet also outshone when it came to desserts. There was an enormous variety of gelato flavors presented on a revolving Wheel of Fortune-esque machine, of which I had three – oreo, vanilla brownie, and berry. The gelato was creamy and to die for. Other memorable dessert options were the flan, cheesecake, apple pie, and chocolate cakes and pastries (I’m a huge fan of chocolate and was pretty much unable to move after stuffing myself with the cookies).
I’ll definitely be back for a repeat performance of the absolutely decadent experience I had at this gourmet buffet the next time I’m in Vegas – especially now that I’m eating gluten-free and remember there being several gluten-free options at every station.