May 31, 2010

Buffet of Buffets: Spice Market Buffet

Part One of a Four - Spice Market Buffet - Planet Hollywood.
The Buffet of Buffets is a promotion currently going on in Las Vegas where you can eat at any of seven Harrah's buffets as many times as you want(!) within a 24-hour window for $34.99 (although you do have to sign up or have in your possession their version of a comp card or its $39.99). The Buffet of Buffets was only $29.99 when I went though (they raised the price because too many people participated). I actually went to Vegas expressly to see how many buffets I could hit up in a 24-hour period and determine which was the best out of them.

With careful planning my compatriots and I determined that we could pay a visit to four buffets in a 24-hour period. The seven available buffet choices are:

- Le Village Buffet at Paris
- Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood
- Paradise Garden Buffet at the Flamingo
- Flavors, The Buffet at Harrah's
- Lago Buffet at Caesars Palace
- The Emperor's Buffet at Imperial Palace
- Carnival World Buffet at Rio

Having already been to the buffet at Harrah's and the Flamingo, and with no desire to try the buffet at the Imperial Palace, we narrowed our choices to the buffets at Planet Hollywood, Rio, Paris, and Caesars Palace.
For our first dinner, we chose the Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood. Just a short summary of my experience and a bunch of pictures. The Spice Market Buffet features several stations with different types of cuisines: Mexican, Italian, Asian, Middle Eastern, American, and Seafood.
The Seafood station was definitely the most popular everyone wanted to get the crab legs that, along with prime rib, are a major draw at almost every single Vegas buffet.
The Spice Market Buffet used to be a relative bargain at around $20 for dinner but prices have gone up (see bottom for prices), while the food has stayed the same.  Still, there was quite a long line around dinner time.
Besides having an ice cream station, the Spice Market Buffet also served cotton candy.

There's definitely a fair amount of variety and cuisines to try at each station.  The meats tended to be a bit on the dry side though with a few exceptions including the braised meats and the fried chicken breasts.
The Middle Eastern section besides offering a Middle Eastern skewed beef, hummus, and the like also offered a couple of Indian dishes such as the Tandoori Chicken shown above.
Another item that seems to have made it on the way onto every buffet menu is sushi of some type.
One thing that struck me was the quality of the vegetable dishes at the Spice Market Buffet.  They were simple but a step above the other dishes.
The Mexican food station had fajitas (beef and chicken),
The dessert bar had a filled-to-order crepe station.  The crepes themselves are pre-made but you can choose your fillings.
The Asian station had a couple of stir fries, a small selection of dim sum, and fortune cookies.
Besides various pastas and sauces, the Spice Market Buffet also served pizza.

Overall, I would recommend the Spice Market Buffet for the broad variety or if you're a vegetarian.  There's a lot of different food choices so that you're bound to find something you want to try and the sauteed vegetables came in several varieties and were prepared well.  Otherwise, the food was merely middling for me.

In sum:

Good for: Variety.  Sauteed Vegetables.
But: Generally, food is just okay and prices have gone up.

Hours & Prices:
Breakfast: 7am - 11:00am; Daily - $14.99
Lunch: 11am - 3:30pm; Monday - Friday - $18.99
Champagne Brunch: 11am - 3pm; Saturday - Sunday - $25.99
Dinner: 4pm - 10pm; Nightly - $27.99