Sep. 10, 2012 at 9:43 AM ET
Gamblers, start your appetites.
Las Vegas — already famous for some of the most lavish, eye-popping and belt-busting buffets out there — is home to a new all-you-can-eat extravaganza on The Strip.
The $17 million Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace opens its doors Monday, with organizers promising guests “an over-the-top feast” that features nine kitchens and chefs cooking up more than 500 dishes — many prepared as guests watch.
You’d have to go through a pile of plates to try just a fraction of the offerings: prime rib, king crab, dim sum, wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas, lasagna, sushi, enchiladas and roasted South Carolina shrimp and grits.
Craving something sweet? Try a chocolate soufflé baked to order, scoops of gelato or crème brûlée from the massive dessert station.
Breakfast may leave you breathless, too: made-to-order omelets and crêpes, breakfast pizzas and red velvet pancakes.
“We are offering the most items out of any buffet in Las Vegas,” said executive chef Scott Green, noting that the initial menu had close to 750 items, which he narrowed down to focus on the best selections.
“Personally, I believe this is the perfect size, the perfect outcome of what a buffet should be,” he said.
The new arrival is drawing attention in Las Vegas because there hasn’t been a big buffet opening in Sin City since the Wicked Spoon debuted at The Cosmopolitan several years ago, insiders noted.
“There’s a buzz about this one,” said Anthony Curtis, publisher of LasVegasAdvisor.com.
“It’s been pretty quiet in Vegas for the past few years due to the economy," he said, "so this is something that we haven’t seen in a while and I would say that the anticipation is pretty high.”
At $39.99 per person for dinner, the Bacchanal is joining Vegas’ high-end buffets, where patrons expect the freshest ingredients, smart preparations and the opportunity to sample an array of dishes they might see in a high-end restaurant, Curtis said.
It will also face lots of competition.
Caesars is taking the Vegas buffet to the next level by elevating the quality of the menu and the level of service, Green said. The eatery will employ almost 180 people, including cooks trained to interact with diners, he said.
But Curtis noted there’s nothing groundbreaking about the Bacchanal’s concept since high-end Las Vegas buffets already offer an incredible amount of good food, with chefs at cooking stations and multiple cuisines under one roof.
So while the Bacchanal will be a big draw for visitors, it remains to be seen whether it can out-dazzle or overshadow some of the city’s other gourmet buffets, such as the popular spreads at the Wynn and the Bellagio, Curtis said.
“It’s going to be hard to top them … (but) obviously, it sounds really awesome,” he said.
Back at the Bacchanal, organizers aren’t only bragging about the food but also about the decor. The 25,000 square-foot buffet – almost half the size of a football field – can accommodate 600 guests in sections that feature glass, wood and steel and offer views of the Garden of the Gods pool complex at Caesars Palace.
You won’t see any togas or other Roman touches that many visitors associate with the resort because the emphasis is on a modern look, Green said.
As gargantuan as the new eatery is, Curtis isn’t ready to bet on the end of the buffet race in Sin City.
“If anything is going to survive in Las Vegas, it’s the buffet tradition,” Curtis said. “The scope of that seems to be sort of limitless. One opens and another one tops it.”
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