Spice Market Buffet

Kevin and I had not been to a single buffet since moving to Sin City, a city that is kind of known for the buffets. In fact, we hadn’t even been to a Vegas buffet since before we got married, so it had been a really long time. But as part of our little “vacation at home” we decided to visit one. We went to the Spice Market Buffet at the Planet Hollywood, or the resort formerly known as the Aladdin. I don’t know why they kept the buffet name the same, for some reason the “spice market” theme seems to go along with the old theme of the hotel, but whatever.

Basically my approach was to take one bite of everything that intrigued me at all. I’m not a big fan of buffets, but since Vegas ones are supposed to have more variety, I thought it might present an opportunity to taste things that I may not want to order as an entire entree in other situations. Since the buffet is broken down into different stations, I’m going to base my review on the stations we visited.

Salad:
Um… this section was pathetic. There were a couple different fruits (pineapple, pears, melon), a big bowl of lettuce and several prepared salads. I hate pre-made salads full of mayonnaise-based dressings.

Sushi:
Oooh… Sushi! Oh, yuck… it’s rubbery and tastes weird.

Soup:
Good tomato soup, terrible garlic bread toasts that were rock hard.

Mediterranean:
Good hummus, weird baba ghannouj, decent pitas if you eat them warm but as they cool they get gross. Good skewered lamb, yummy vegetables. I also tasted falafel for the first time and wasn’t impressed. But then, I have no baseline comparison.

Seafood:
The crab was frozen and the chef at that station was MIA. But when Kevin went back to the station after the chef reappeared, he got some crab steamed and it was better. Other fish items were kind of gross, salmon and halibut were not that great.

Italian:
Pizza was pointless, eggplant parmesan was pretty good, the spinach lasagne was the best thing in this section, the lobster risotto was pretty good, the cheese ravioli was good. They had oyster stuffing balls, they just tasted like stuffing and I decided that it doesn’t meet my requirement of trying oysters before this summer.

Classics (or whatever it was called):
Prime rib is scary but Kevin said it was okay, overly-candied sweet potatoes, duck with no meat on it, dry turkey.

Dessert:
We got about 12 different desserts and took little bites of a bunch of them. Sadly, the cookies were the best out of all the fancy, elaborate dishes. Oh, the fresh chocolate crepes were okay too. But most of them were just weird.

Okay, so I’m still not a big buffet fan, but it was a fun experience and I wasn’t really there for a mind-blowing culinary experience. It more served a point of experimenting and that was satisfying.

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7 Comments to “Spice Market Buffet”

  1. You’re so brave to try ALL those things. I tend to not do the scary dishes like that…and I’m a TOTALLY plain eater anyway. GREAT discriptions!
    You’re such a great critic!

    Thanks for a LOVELY afternoon!

  2. So it seemed for a time that everyone just RAVED about the buffet at the Rio, so I ended up going with some friends once. Seriously, I almost hated sushi after my experience there. It was that bland. I didn’t really like anything that I tried. If I go to buffets with crab legs, I have come to the decision that I will eat salad and crab legs. And maybe the shrimp if it looks sufficiently de-veined.

  3. I’ve stayed at the Aladdin before and ate at their buffet…same place? who knows, but their breakfast was good!! especially a tad hungover :D

  4. Retro: I have been a lot more adventuresome when it comes to food in the past several years. As a kid I was sooooooo picky. Plus, a buffet seems like the best place to try the variety since you’re not committed to a whole plate of food you don’t like.

    Cardine: The salad and crab policy sounds like a pretty good one. The Rio is the last buffet Kevin and I visited, about… um… 8 or 9 years ago. I think.

    Little Miss Mel: I think breakfast buffets are usually better, it seems like they don’t mess options up as badly on those. But a tad hungover (or drunk) may be the way to hit a buffet anyway. :-)

  5. You couldn’t pay me to eat in a buffet. I’m too paranoid about food sitting out like that, being touched and breathed on by tons of people. Plus, I’m just not a fan of “all you can eat.”

  6. If you want a real culinary buffet experience in Vegas, there are 2 places I highly recomend:

    1. Bellagio -The Buffet: The food here is always fresh and they have an enormous amount of dishes to choose from. They don’t even have the windows that you usually see in a buffet (that gives it a cafeteria-type feel) so you feel you’re more in a restaurant. I even like the fact that no food goes to waste as they donate their left-overs to places like Child Haven and The Salvation Army Shelters.

    2. Orleans: The French Market Buffet is great! They are always staffed with pleasant employees who really make you feel like you’re in for an amazing treat. The week I stayed there, they had different selections so our pallets wouldn’t get bored. Sure, they had ala-carte dishes from Italian to Chines, but the there was “Bayou” night where they had shrimp etoufee, steamed crawfish with corn-on-the-cob, and jambalaya that really intrigued me. Overall a great place to have a meal.

  7. Buffets… mmm well … not so good. The only good one I know of is at the Wynn. But hey you pay for it.

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