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RESTAURANT OF THE WEEK
A PERSONAL REVIEW OF RESTAURANTS AROUND THE WORLD

MANDALAY BAY'S BAY SIDE BUFFET
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

Las Vegas is famous for its buffets and while they're not inexpensive like they used to be in the good old days, they're not bad.

If you get to this one early, you'll be seated in front of windows.  Outside those windows is part of the hotel's massive "beach" complex.  Just looking at the decor and all the palm trees outside, you'd swear you were dining at a fancy hotel restaurant on Maui in Hawaii!   A very nice setting--if you get there early.  Otherwise its just a series of big dining rooms.

We sampled this restaurant in the Mandalay Bay Resort several times for breakfast and once at dinner.

Of all the breakfast buffets we tried in Vegas during our most recent trip, we liked this one the most.  I liked it because it had a lot more than just "breakfast" selections. 

Among the breakfast offerings were carved turkey breast (incredibly moist and tender on one visit, dry and chewy on another), sirloin steak (nearly always overcooked and chewy), pork chops, lamb chops and my personal favorite -- smoked salmon.  The salmon was world class, plentiful and kept at an ideal cold temperature.  Too often buffets let the salmon get too warm.

The restaurant had an excellent omelet station and I saw some people getting eggs over easy there, too.

They offered Eggs Benedict although they didn't look too appealing, all the usual breakfast meats including sausage, bacon and ham, pancakes and a nice selection of fresh fruit.

There were a handful of ethnic entries, too, like egg rolls and an interesting and tasty Mexican mish-mash involving crushed tortilla chips, scrambled eggs and cheese.  It packed some nice heat and was one of my favorite dishes on the buffet.  Also offered were various breads and small bagels.

For dinner they offered a small salad selection, ham, prime rib, turkey breast, and Alaskan snow crab legs. They also offered peeled shrimp and while they were moderate in size, they had a pleasant flavor.  I suspect they came from the same place that many of the waiters come from in Vegas.  A place that's far away where little English is spoken!  Which brings me to an interesting point.

I asked our waiter if I could see a wine list.  He gave me a puzzled look and replied:  "Buffet.  You buffet."  I said:  "I realize I'm at a buffet but I'd like to order a bottle of wine."  His reply:  "You buffet."  I then asked him if he could get somebody over to our table who spoke English.  Another chap from the same part of the world appeared and he could speak some English.  When I requested a wine list he said:  "Wine.....???  Ah, need money up front right away!"  I asked him what he was talking about and he muttered that he would have to "leave restaurant, get wine from bar and return---must pay cash up front, right away."  I said:  "Fine forget about it."  It was too much trouble.  But wouldn't you think this restaurant would want to offer cocktails and wine?  I would have parted with $40 for a bottle of wine that night and they lost the business.  Quoting Napoleon Dynamite:  "Idiots!"

Interestingly, a dessert section was offered at both breakfast and dinner.

On a scale of 1 to 10 I'd give this buffet a strong 6 to a weak 7.

As I recall, the breakfast buffet set us back $13 a head and dinner was more like $16.  My mother-in-law accurately pointed out that the buffet was cheaper than ordering off the regular menu at the downstairs restaurant at THEhotel at Mandalay Bay where we were staying!  By the way, THEhotel is a great place to stay with all suite rooms.

The Mandalay Bay web site is here although it's not too helpful when it comes to info on restaurants.
 

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