The Vegas Buffet

Nevada / June 2, 2012 / by Steven
The Vegas Buffet

The buffet. In some cultures the translation simply means a table of food. In Sweden it is a smorgasbord and the etymology comes from the french word “bufet” meaning bench, stool, or sideboard. Throughout history, the idea of getting food from a centralized area has grown to become the identity of many places throughout the dining culture in the United States, especially in Las Vegas.

Tell anyone that you are going to a buffet and they can picture an idea of what that should look and taste like. I see a long line of built in steamer tables heating up water to keep the pans hot. Enough heat to sustain the food’s temperature as it waits to be removed by the gentleman spilling the ranch dressing into the thousand island. Sneeze guards at just below chest height line the buffet. As a barrier, they are designed to keep your body separated from the food below it, as well as be in the worst possible position to maneuver food from the pan to your plate. There are line jumpers who pop in and out of any portion of the buffet grabbing food as if it were about to disappear before their eyes. Cuisine from almost every culture is usually available at most general buffets. In fact, if people were willing to treat world diplomacy like their buffet plate; the egg roll, steak, sausage, and seafood would never be at war. 

Like most people, I like the idea of a buffet. The idea that no matter who you are with there will most likely be something for everyone. The ability to make a choice by making split second decisions on a craving or sudden urge to try something new. This is what most people love about a buffet.

What people usually think falls short about a buffet is the most important part, the food. By no means am I an expert on the buffet. I have worked in a restaurant and know the effort it takes to make it through a busy saturday night seating, but I have never experienced the intensity and insanity that must be happening in a buffet kitchen.

So, Vegas. The mecca of buffets. The gang and I decided to see how the vegas buffet stacked up to our experiences and found ourselves at one inside the Rio.

It was saturday champagne brunch so for $30 you could fill yourself to the brim with food and bubbly. I have been to many buffets and actually have a favorite in Williamsburg, VA but nothing was able to prepare me for that buffet. Endless amounts of food. If you can think of it, then it was probably somewhere along the buffet line. Just choosing what to put on your plate was like making a life or death choice. Surprisingly, most of the food that I put on my plate actually tasted really good!

I am sure the chefs, cooks, and preps have gotten their system down to a science that allows them to put out the highest possible quality food for the massive amount of people eating there. I like to think of going into a buffet as playing a game of russian roulette. Except, instead of 1 bullet there are 5. And if you happen to be lucky enough to pull the trigger and get the empty chamber, then you will have a rare but good experience. In Vegas we pulled the trigger and got a blank. The food was on par and our waitress, even though she couldn’t remember our drinks, was all about having a little fun. After all, it is Vegas.