The Buffet at Bellagio
Posted: 2011-11-22. Categories: Uncategorized

We fought the traffic to make it back across town after deciding against eating at Seasons Buffet. I was determined to share another perfect dining experience with my sweet husband, so I strongly recommended we eat at The Buffet at The Bellagio. The tab was $79.89 for the two of us, no alcohol was ordered, plus tip, including tax. I can’t express to you just how disappointed I was with that meal.

Bellagio (hotel and casino)

The Bellagio Buffet Review

Billed as a “Gourmet Dinner” for $39.95, offered on Friday and Saturday only, The Buffet was a zoo. Not because there were too many people, but because of the way the stations are layed out. There should be a natural flow to a buffet. With the current design, people are headed in every direction, but are corralled in such a way that walking between the buffet and seating areas creates bottlenecks and unnecessary delays. The area near the dessert bar has some very tight quarters. I almost had three or four head-on collisions.

The Beef Bourguignon (a fancy way of saying stew), tasted exactly like my mother’s swiss steak and I really dislike swiss steak. Where was the beef tenderloin? I detest prime rib. I’m a cook, my beef must be cooked to exactly 165 degrees internally. No way am I eating anything luke warm and bloody. Hot food should be hot. Cold food should cold.

I was famished, so I managed to eat 3-King Crab leg halves but I was a little concerned. I noticed big clear plastic bins with crab legs, that didn’t appear to be on ice, on the floor just behind the ice crab display. I tried to put it out of my mind. I asked where to have them steamed, then waited while the chef overboiled my King Crab Legs. Did he think he needed to cook them? They were tough and stringy. The butter was lukewarm, not hot.

My husband starts every buffet meal with a salad (I don’t feed him enough greens). The Buffet has a beautiful salad bar, but the salad fixings were only available to the salad attendant within the cage. He’s extremely particular about his salads, so was very displeased with this. The fruit was good, and had a nice variety. Why is it that the best watermelon is always on buffets?

He also had the prime rib, which wasn’t even room temperature, the crab and various southern items. The prime rib was fair, and the horseradish is strong.

Where’s the Bread?

I’m a bread person! I want homemade, soft, fluffy, warm, fresh rolls with my meal. I make them at home from scratch. I don’t want hard, cold, overcooked rolls with my tough crab legs. Every buffet in Las Vegas must buy these rolls from the same supplier – or just reuse the same basket everywhere. I opted for the sourdough bread. It wasn’t warm, it wasn’t under a light, though, so I guess they did me a favor, I didn’t need butter. I dunked my cold sourdough bread into a nice hot bowl of Snow’s Condensed Clam Chowder with a dash of white pepper. I use the same thing as a base for my own clam chowder.

Who are they trying to kid? I know times are tough guys, but get a clue! When you are charging $40 a person, the food should be fresh and everything should be delicious, even if you have to offer fewer options. You don’t serve old, hard, dried-out hockey pucks disguised as rolls. The fish was dried and overcooked – all of it. Those truffle things had a good flavor, but they were overcooked and dried out – and I believe they came frozen.

The dessert bar – don’t bother. The Buffet has their portion sizes right, unlike the Bayside Buffet. At Bayside, portions are too large, causing more waste than necessary. Very few people visit a buffet and select one large slice of cake or pie – they want to try new things. Tiny portions will cause you to use more dishes, but it will drive your food costs down.

My husband – a self-avowed ‘candy man’ – had a large sampling (over a dozen) of the desserts from The Buffet, and says that the only dessert item worth trying was the “homemade marshmallows” – and he doesn’t even like marshmallows! Everything else was too rich or bland.

The dessert bar at both The Buffet and Bayside Buffet, were old, stale and hard. The chocolate cake would have tasted like Heaven on earth but it was too hard to chew — we gave up. Huge displays of food sitting around getting stale only increases waste, driving up food costs. During slower times: make smaller batches, use those plastic hoods especially made for buffets. Smaller portions may create more dishes to wash, but it wastes less food and helps you control quality.

Time are tough for everyone right now — or are they? Let’s see what you think…

Earnings Preview: Frontier, MGM, CBS Report Q3 Results Thursday

MGM Resorts International. (MGM) is anticipated to report earnings before the opening bell on November 3, 2011.

MGM Resorts International, through its subsidiaries, primarily owns and operates casino resorts in the United States. The company’s resorts offer gaming, hotel, dining, entertainment, retail, and other resort amenities. The
company was founded in 1986 and is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. MGM trades an average of 24.2 million shares per day.

52-Week High: $16.94
52-Week Low: $7.40
Book Value: $13.03
Float Short: 14.41%

On average, 19 analysts are expecting a drop of $-0.10 in earnings per share compared to last quarter’s results of $-0.05. A beat of $-0.15 per share will top the estimated per share earnings. Analyst estimates range between $-0.33 and $-0.02 per share.

I am bullish on most of the space, including MGM. From a month ago, the stock has increased in price 39.98%, with a one-year change of 5.40%. When comparing to the S&P 500, the year-to-date difference is -22.15%.

Investors have been rewarded with an increase of year-over-year revenue. Revenue reported was $6.02 billion for 2010 vs. $5.98 billion for 2009. The bottom line has falling earnings year-over-year of $-1.44 billion for 2010 vs.
$-1.29 billion for 2009. The company’s earnings before income and taxes are falling, with an EBIT year-over-year of $-1.16 billion for 2010 vs. $-963.88 million for 2009.

Here is a look at the fiscal year revenue: [Read More…] revenue gross bar chart for MGM

Let’s be fair now, because you are bilking your guests when you charge exhorbitant rates and fail to deliver on your end of the bargain. These practices are a flagrant abuse of the trust you have generated with the public over the years. I put my trust in your reputation. The Buffet at the Bellagio was recommended to me as the best buffet on the Las Vegas Strip. I came in search of the best and I knew I would pay to get it. I paid for my meal, up front I might add, sight unseen. Your restaurant violated that trust. It was my one opportunity to enjoy a truly wonderful dining experience — a once in a lifetime trip for me and you spoiled it.

I’ll eventually get over my disappointment, but until then, I’m using my words to heal my wounds. Writing about my experience has been terrific therapy. I don’t expect to get something for nothing, but I do expect to be treated fairly by the businesses I choose to associate with. I am sick and tired of getting ripped off by corporate America. MGM Corporation has this down to a science.

We didn’t just feel ripped off, we were. The food was ridiculously overpriced and over- (or under-) cooked, the service, while okay, definitely didn’t warrant the cost, and the management didn’t care. Oh, did I forget to mention that I talked to the management on the way out? For almost two full minutes I explained the problems with the food and layout to three management staff at the exit, and they didn’t say a single word! Not an apology, not even an acknowledgement.

I guess I shouldn’t take this so personally, but I can’t help it, I do.

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