Thursday, August 7, 2008

Travels with Blondie: Vegas Buffets

Ah, Vegas. Ah, buffets. Actually, I tend to get overwhelmed at buffets, fret, and run to order something off the menu, but not this time; if I was going to Vegas it up, I was going to buffet it up. And I wasn't going to buffet it up anywhere, oh no, when I saw that the nation's best Thai restaurant (according to Gourmet magazine) offered an $8 lunch buffet, I believe my exact words were "Hells yes," there might have been an expletive, but you get the idea.

When I heard of Lotus of Siam, I immediately saw that a reservation was crucial, but then I figured out the catch. A reservation is crucial if you're going for dinner, but the lunch buffet is walk-in and has the option of eating off the menu. Jackpot. Upon arriving, I discovered they had a "small scale" buffet, as Zach would put it. Few options, but I really didn't care. I also had no idea where to begin with the menu, so buffet it was. A closer inspection revealed there was two soup choices, about 9 entree choices, and 5 or 6 desserts. Soup and I are enemies, so I went with entrees, and dessert of course.

For my first plate, I felt pressure to make Zach proud. It was almost like a little Zach angel was on my shoulder saying "Blondie, you better make the most of this buffet. You know you can't come close to this in midtown." I can only hope I succeeded! I loaded up on everything, especially the pad Thai and garlic chicken. There was nothing REALLY Thai offered, but keep in mind that I'm sort of new to Thai and I'm still not too sure what spices my body will reject so this was ok with me. Plus the entire reason I was here was the buffet. Saying that, the pad Thai and chicken were absolutely, without a doubt, the best I have ever tasted. The vegetables you see there were crispy and fresh. Nothing was swimming in sauce or mediocre. Yes, everything was excellent and took my palate to a whole other level. It wasn't too long before I joined the empty plate club and had to go the second round.

This time I focused on smaller portions. I was teetering on destruction, but I wasn't leaving without trying them all (except for the soup.) I got the two rolls, spring and banana, the curry puff, and more garlic chicken. Both rolls were crispy on the outside, delicious on the inside. I imagine the banana roll would be delectable with some Nutella infused in there. The garlic chicken was just as good as the pieces I had had five minutes before.

To drink, I was going to 'go out on a limb' as the youngins say, and got the lime drink. It was limeade. I try to be adventurous and I fail.

Lotus of Siam isn't on the strip; it's on Sahara Avenue, a good 3/4 mile east of the north strip, in a strip mall. The best way to get there is cab or the monorail. Once you're there, it is so completely worth the haul. Reasons why:
1) $8 buffet
2) Locals go there (I saw cops, nurses, suits, and normal Vegas people eating there)
3) $8 buffet
Keep in mind, you see the back of the restaurant from Sahara Avenue.

This was not the only buffet I did. There were two breakfast ones, Le Village Buffet at Paris, and The Grand Buffet at MGM. Don't waste your time at the one in MGM; Le Village Buffet is 1000x better. First, they serve all breakfast food (I for one, cannot eat tacos or mac and cheese for breakfast unless I have nothing else to eat, and then maybe.) Second, you HAVE TO do a walk-through before attacking, it's that big. Fortunately, or par usual, I brought my appetite. The most exciting part had to be the crepe making station.

I've been to Paris, and ate a crepe almost every day for a month, so I'd like to think I know my crepes. These were some thin, right on the money crepes. This one was filled with fresh berries, topped with caramel and Chantilly cream. Mine was filled with Nutella. My brain said "Nom, nom, nom" not "Take a picture." Everything there was pretty fresh, some things not so Frenchy, but they have to appeal to the masses, no? All the stations had constant food turnover, and included a person behind to help with things like cutting meat or making you more Nutella crepes. Next time, and there will be a next time, I'll hit up Bellagio's buffet, which is supposed to be the pinnacle of buffets.

Lotus of Siam
953 East Sahara Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89104

Le Village Buffet
3655 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, NV 89109


marisa rose said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I just posted mere moments ago about my upcoming trip to Vegas and what I need to check out. Quite serendipitous.

Anonymous said...

god i love buffets.

Siobhan said...

@JulyBug: you are quite welcome. There will be more Vegas food posts soon. There are a few threads on Serious Eats Talk that are worth checking out for recommendations.

@Zach: Did I make you proud? Told you I had to lose weight to gain weight.

Anonymous said...

Zach would of had a tear in his eye 'my work here is done.."

Brownie said...

You did good, kid. Buffets are the one instance where I agree with you about soup. Totally not worth the stomach space.

So when are we going back to Vegas?

Anonymous said...

The Paris buffet is GREAT!! Next time, try going closer to 10:30 because it's the "overlap" period with lunch -- the breakfast stuff is still out then they start bringing out the lunch items. Two for one! I couldn't eat the entire rest of the day after I stumbled outta there..