Back in 2015, we ranked America’s 14 best all-you-can-eat buffets, and one rose to the very top of the pack: the Bacchanal Buffet, at Las Vegas’ Caesars Palace. Not only is the sheer quantity of options that are available mind-boggling, the quality of every single dish is worthy of a high-end restaurant, and the end result is a culinary whirlwind the likes of which you really wont’ find anywhere else.
The 25,000 square foot Bacchanal Buffet opened in 2012 after a $17 million buildout, and it’s a bright and spacious, well-designed room with seating for 600. There are nine distinct stations, each with its own open kitchen and designated executive chef: Latin, Italian, Chinese, seafood, pizza, deli, American classics, and a massive dessert section. All told, there are nearly 500 different dishes available on a daily basis, and more than 3,000 people visit daily. It’s a truly massive operation.
Before visiting for brunch recently, we made sure to read up on the best ways to conquer a buffet of this magnitude and wore our loosest-fitting clothes. During breakfast/brunch hours, a massive selection of breakfast items came out to play: red velvet pancakes, eggs Benedict, chicken and waffles, crepes, bananas Foster doughnuts, parfaits, French toast, churros, breakfast pastries, bacon and other breakfast meats, various egg preparations (including made-to-order omelettes), croque-monsieurs, scalloped truffle potatoes, frittatas, bagels and lox, hash browns, fresh-squeezed juices… it goes on and on. Oysters, shrimp, crab legs and claws (steamed to order on request), ceviche, lobster corn chowder, mussels, and individual clam bake buckets followed. Then onto the carving station: perfectly cooked prime rib au jus, ham, turkey, pork belly, barbecue ribs and brisket, and sausages, cooked via peach wood-fired grills and smokers. Traditional American fare came next: sliders cooked to a perfect medium-rare, fried chicken in individual baskets, mac and cheese, waffle fries, and tater tots, crab cakes, grilled corn, grilled salmon, shrimp and grits, chicken fried steak, rotisserie chicken, lamb chops.
Then came the Asian department: kalbi short ribs, sushi, soup dumplings and other dim sum, chicken satay, phở, Peking duck, pepper steak, kung pao chicken, pad thai, Chinese roast pork, pan-fried dumplings. Then Mexican: chicken, beef, or pork tacos made to order on a comal and served with your choice of more than a dozen different salsas. How about Italian? Pizzas, baked ziti, meatballs, pesto chicken pasta, chicken parm, lasagna, cured Italian meats and cheeses. Middle Eastern: falafel, tabbouleh, hummus, baba ghanoush. Cold composed salads, fruit, fresh-baked bread, roasted vegetables, soups, and honestly probably many other things I’m forgetting rounded out the savory options. (Needless to say, I wasn’t able to eat nearly as many dishes as I would have liked due to that pesky thing called stomach space.) There are also 15 chef’s specials added to the menu each day, to take advantage of what’s fresh and in-season, so the offerings are never exactly the same (It should also be noted that some of the items listed above are only available at dinnertime). And as for dessert, well, use your imagination and we bet you’ll come pretty close; more than 100 sweet offerings make this place the spiritual heir to Willy Wonka’s chocolate room.
Not only are the folks who run the Bacchanal Buffet able to actually get all these dishes in front of guests, each and every one is good. They’re made fresh and constantly replenished so nothing is sitting out or warmed-over, many dishes are individually plated in thoughtful and creative ways instead of spooned out of a giant serving tray, and it’s laid out in such a way that lines never get too long and each item has ample space. There are also some nice perks for in-the-know guests: Upgrades include unlimited mimosas and all-you-care-to-drink beer and wine for $15; you can purchase an express pass to skip the line; and kiosks let you check in and return when your table is ready.
The Bacchanal Buffet is nothing short of a culinary wonderland, a utopia of comestibles, an edible fantasyland, a culmination of centuries of culinary heritage, and, arguably, the peak of human civilization.