Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Spice Market Buffet, Las Vegas

Spice Market Buffet
Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas

The Big Two of Vegas buffets are the Bellagio and, apparently the Wynn. But Spice Market was voted best buffet in 2007 (then again, this is Vegas, so there are roughly two awards for every person, show, and restaurant) and had been getting great reviews, so we decided to check it out for brunch on our recent trip.

The name is the last holdover of the old Aladdin Casino, now Planet Hollywood. We loved the Aladdin and its Middle Eastern theme, but the Roc Bar is gone, the Desert Passage is now the Miracle Mile, the sweeping mural of winged horses is replaced by lights that change color slowly, and the whole Arabian Nights theme is now a style we can best describe as "generic 1980s." Blah. But the name Spice Market buffet continues on, reminding us of what once was, probably because they haven't figured out whether changing the name to "Lunch Counter" will mean they have to give back the awards.

At any rate, the quality of the food shouldn't be dependent on the name, and we did quite like Spice Market. It remains a touch short of the Bellagio (we have yet to try the Wynn), but it's a good, solid brunch. Good fruit selection, including a couple nods to the Middle Eastern name (figs and prunes); a standard omelette bar; Southern style cornbread griddle cakes (like small pancakes, but with a crunchier outside--pretty good); delicious pastries (surprisingly lacking in the cinnamon department); and very bland scrambled eggs and potatoes. In addition, they had some lunch dishes that were good, if unremarkable. There was plenty there to eat, but for the price, just walk across the street and pay another dollar to get better eggs, more pastries, and fluffier pancakes, not to mention more interesting lunch dishes and good salad selections.

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