Making my way through the lobby of the Bellagio, I have to give it to the interior designers; this place is full of color. The abundance of art glass hanging from the ceiling and arranged about parts of the floor really adds an air of sophistication, contrary to the sometimes tacky Las Vegas feel. Entering from the sidewalk on Las Vegas Boulevard, I navigate my way through long rows of slot machines and card tables as I follow the hanging signs to the buffet.
I initially walk past the entrance to the restaurant, in spite of the large glowing marquee that clearly states, “BUFFET”. I am surprised by something I have not seen all week, a line to get in. It is before 9:00 a.m. but there are at least a dozen people in front of me. Fortunately, the line moves quickly; as it turns out, there are only three parties of four ahead of me.
The Buffet Bellagio opens for breakfast Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and only sets you back $17.99. Lunch, offered Monday through Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. is $21.99. Dinner, served daily from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. is $32.99 Sunday through Thursday, and the gourmet dinner on Friday and Saturday is priced at $38.99. Weekend brunch, Saturdays and Sundays from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. costs $38.99 and includes bottomless Champagne.
Before the meal commences, my server appears and I order my standby, coffee and water. As she leaves, I make my first trip to the buffet. I plate up an order of the Eggs Benedict, which are a generous portion. Then, a tray of apple cinnamon crepes catches my attention, and I plate up a couple of those as well. The blintzes are situated near the crepes, and being the sucker that I am for a blintz, I grab one of the cheese filled delights. To finish off this round, I grab a link of sausage and three long pieces of bacon.
I return to my table and find a very hot cup of coffee waiting for me. The quality of the coffee is good, and the temperature is spot on as far as I am concerned. The cup is a standard eight-ounce size, which could be problematic since I drink coffee like it’s going out of style. Looking around, I notice my server has quite a full section to keep track of.
I dig into the Eggs Benedict, which are a solid example of this classic buffet breakfast dish. The quality of ingredients used is high, and the taste reflects this fact. The English muffin is light and fluffy, the eggs are poached well, the slice of ham is flavorful, and the Hollandaise sauce is rich.
The apple cinnamon crepes, while small, are a sweet morning treat. The crepe is warm, thin, and holds together well, while the filling is just sweet enough, without tasting too candy like. The warm temperature leads me to presume they had just come out of the kitchen.
The cheese blintzes are not lava hot, which is nice. They are constructed well, and the creamy, warm filling oozes out when I take my initial bite. The sausage is surprisingly good. The flavor is rich, and not too salty like so many other buffet sausages. The bacon is long, and crispy, with a nice shine of greasy goodness.
On my second round, I hit up the omelet bar. I order the works without even looking. I also grab a slice of wheat toast, and some strawberry preserves. The preserves at Buffet Bellagio are single-serving glass jars of Bonne Maman, a quality brand. This is a nice touch; it’s the brand I eat at home. This preserve uses grape juice as a sweetener instead of sugar, and being that this is the Bellagio, the use of such a top-shelf spread is not surprising. I also get a few slices of cantaloupe, pineapple, water melon, and honey dew.
When I return to my table, I discover that the omelet contains tomato, onion, peppers, bacon, ham, shrimp, crab, spinach, and cheddar cheese. Although I’m not a seafood lover, I can tell the ingredients are high quality. This is a fine omelet. However, I am not enjoying the toast. The spread is top notch, as I already established, but the bread leaves much to be desired.
The fruit is hit or miss. It is not high season for any fruit, but I do score a nice piece of cantaloupe. Unfortunately, only one slice is good, the other is bland and tough. The pineapple is mediocre, as is the watermelon. The honeydew is a complete let down; it is hard with a lack of flavor.
On my final trip to the buffet, I go hog wild for the pastries. I grab an apple Danish, a bear claw, and a cheese filled Danish. I am not one to go overboard with sweets, but these three items just look too good to pass up. There is also a soft serve machine, and I grab a bowl to sample both the chocolate and the vanilla.
I am hoping for a fresh cup of coffee when I return to my table, as coffee and Danishes go together like peanut butter and jelly, but alas, my cup is empty. The desserts however, do not disappoint. The apple Danish is exactly what a Danish should be. The apple filling is not too sweet and has a fine touch of cinnamon. The bear claw is light and nutty, with layers of cinnamon and sugar topped with roasted almonds. Finally, the cheese filled Danish, like the two before it, is the definition of Danish. Topped with powdered sugar, the light texture and creamy filling really hit the spot. The dough used in all these treats is light and fluffy. Whoever does the baking is well versed in their craft.
The soft serve has a nice texture and smoothness, sure signs of high quality. I am, without-a-doubt, a chocolate snob, and the chocolate flavor seems too artificial for my liking. The vanilla is spot on though. Smooth, cool, and not too sweet, I thoroughly enjoy the vanilla.
I would like another cup of coffee to complete my meal, but my server has now become fully preoccupied with the growing rush. So, I use this time to make my exit and escape the gathering crowd. The buffet itself was good, but the service left me wanting more. Perhaps I caught a stroke of bad luck, but none-the-less, the quality of the food and the ritzy atmosphere of the Bellagio are certainly worth the trip.