Bacchanal Buffet

“Hercules! Hercules!” Some might wish for the strength of ten men, I wish for the stomach capacity of ten men. This newly renovated buffet at Caesar’s Palace is truly fit for the son of Zeus or any other god. They spent an astounding $17 million to construct this place and in doing so raised the bar for all buffets.

I was able to gain entry through a Yelp event. Sure, it was a good PR stunt for Caesar’s to invite Yelpers to garner positive feedback but we were all instructed to review the event itself and not leave a review for the Bacchanal Buffet on their business page. Reviews on the Bacchanal page are meant to be from paying customers (or those receiving comps directly from the hotel).

Here’s the breakdown of pricing:
Breakfast: M-F, $19.99 ($16.00 w/ a Total Rewards card)
Brunch: Sa-Su, $34.99 ($31.99)
Lunch: M-F, $24.99 ($21.99)
Dinner: Su-Th, $34.99 ($31.99); F-Sa, $39.99 ($36.99)

Kids ages 2-8 pay $9.99 for breakfast, $15.99 for brunch, $12.99 for lunch, and $16.99 for dinner. Sorry kids, no Total Rewards discounts for you. Kids under 2 years eat free.

If you buy a Buffet of Buffets pass — the all you can eat/visit any buffet at a Caesar’s property — you’ll have to fork over an additional $15 for each visit to Bacchanal.

Now, on to the food… The seafood section is the first thing you see as you enter and it was clearly the most popular, as it had the longest line. There was plenty of king crab legs to pick from as well as crab claws (but I don’t think they were stone crabs). After you select your crabs you can ask to have them heated. Despite dunking them in a large pot of liquid for a few seconds, they weren’t dripping wet or mushy. With fewer buffets offering crab legs Bacchanal gets points for having a crowd favorite. Along with some drawn butter they were delicious.

Next to the crabs were mussels and oysters. The oysters weren’t labeled, but they were fairly mild and small. Next up were cold shrimp with cocktail sauce located close by. They also had some cajun seasoned shrimp with shells and head still on. One of the best dishes of the night was a thick and creamy lobster corn chowder. The soup is already pre-portioned and sitting in bowls so don’t be surprised if it’s not to hot.

Sticking with seafood, I also tried oyster shooters which had a mild kick and medium to large sized oysters that were difficult to coerce out of the shot glass. The ceviche contained a white fish and a balanced amount of acidity to make it another one of my top dishes. The gazpacho, on the other hand, was bland.

The best looking dish was a mosaic of feta cheese and watermelon cubes wrapped in cucumber, topped with micro greens and a touch of balsamic vinegar. It was a beautiful way of presenting some classic flavors.

Also on that third plate of food were two decent pieces of a spicy tuna roll, three pieces of sushi, asian style BBQ pork, kalbi beef, and Peking duck. I normally stay away from sushi at buffets, but these cuts weren’t bad. The BBQ pork was tender and succulent, but not as good as what you might find in Chinatown. The kalbi ribs were equally as tender but lacked the flavor punch of superior kalbi elsewhere. The duck was good but could have benefitted from crispier skin, which is always the highlight of that dish. Each of the meats were pre sliced and displayed in separate woks for you to pick through.

Continuing with more proteins, I sampled smoked lamb, ribs, and carne asada. The ribs were tender and meaty and covered in a tangy sauce. The lamb was excellent — probably the best meat I tried at the buffet. It was spiced and seasoned wonderfully  (although some BBQ sauce unfortunately found it’s way on top) and was easily cut with a butter knife. The carne asada was dry and tough. I took one bite and couldn’t eat any more.

By that time I had to stop eating the savory stuff and save room for sweets. Walking around, there was plenty of great looking stuff I didn’t sample. Others raved about the sliders and the fried chicken. There were at least five kinds of pizzas and flatbreads on display, charcuterie and cheeses, soba noodles and ramen, dim sum, tamales and tacos and the list goes on and on.

Finally making my way to the dessert section, I was in heaven looking at the variety they had. The pecan tart was nicely presented as a rectangular, individual-sized serving with a delicate pastry crust and a not-too-sweet filling. I had some sort of domed-shaped chocolate mousse/chocolate tart thing that was tasty. I’m always a sucker for chocolate chip cookies and their warm version baked in a ramekin was a hit, as were the macarons. The wonderful Aztec chocolate gelato was rich and creamy that left traces of spiciness on the palate. The final dessert I had room for was the chocolate praline bar — a rectangular strip of bittersweet chocolate on top of a pastry crust and topped with a sliver of chocolate. Just like the other desserts it was a beauty to look at and even tastier to eat.

If only I had more room I would have sampled the apple pie, panna cottas, chocolate creme brûlée, flan, macaron pops, bread pudding, or the made-to-order crepes. They also bake a few soufflés at a time. Enough so that you can get one that fresh and hot instead of something that’s deflated and cold. This night they were serving banana soufflés but the flavors change periodically.

I’m giving this place 5 stars. It isn’t the best food on the Strip when compared to high-end dining, but compared to other buffets it’s head and shoulders above the competition. They’ve taken the best elements of Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan and other top buffets and elevated it to a new level. Not all of the dishes were stellar but, as a whole, it’s as good as it can get in its class. Let’s hope they can maintain the quality and reduce wait times because, like a mere mortal, I’ll have to wait in the regular line with all the other folks upon my return visit.

5 Stars

Caesar’s Palace
3570 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Bacchanal on Urbanspoon

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