Sunday of our Vegas trip was our day of rest. All we did was eat, lounge, shop, drink, stay up late and have a great time with friends.
If you haven’t figured out by now, I loves me some good buffet. I’ve done nearly every buffet in Vegas that I’m interested in eating and the one buffet I hadn’t tackled yet was the Sunday Sterling Brunch at Bally’s. It’s a whopping $90 a person and only offered on Sundays but there’s unlimited lobster, caviar, champagne, reservations meaning no waiting in line and your own personal and very attentive waiter.
It was time. Time to tackle the beast that is the Sterling Brunch. And when you consider a buffet an entertaining activity (as I do) we spent less on the buffet than we would have on Cirque du Soleil tickets.
I’m glad I was able to justify the price and we bit the bullet because it was AMAZING! We were greeted at the front desk with a smile and confirmation of our reservation and we sat for less than five minutes with the menu to browse while our waiter was alerted of our arrival.
We were escorted back to our private booth and seated at a white linen table dressed and ready for our meal. Our waiter introduced himself, welcomed us and gave us an overview of the buffet while he poured us our first glasses of Perrier-Jouët. I giggled as he walked away and tried to be subtle about taking pictures with my phone but it was pretty obvious we weren’t their typical crowd.
The buffet is set up in their steakhouse restaurant and the mood was Rat Pack hang out with dimmed lighting, 1960s lounge music drifting in the background and multiple staff standing at attention waiting for your requests. We were at least ten years younger than the other guests with the average dinner sporting silver hair.
We had 10am reservations and there were perhaps six other tables with patrons when we started our meal. That meant you walked up to the buffet and had your pick of food to select without waiting and everything was hot and fresh.
Because I wasn’t brave enough to start with caviar I selected the lobster, some fresh fruit and a dabble of bacon and cheese gnocchi. The gnocchi was amazing but I didn’t get seconds for fear of filling up on just that. The fruit was all fresh and diced ready to eat. I also had a bit of their lobster bisque and it was divine. The lobsters were as expected – dry and tough. I had been reading on various forums that the buffet touts its lobsters but they were lackluster to disappointing. I don’t know how any chef could be expected to keep dozens of lobster-tails sitting in a buffet pan moist and tender. They were labeled as roasted lobster tails so maybe that was supposed to mean they were more well done but they were hard to get out of the shell and chewy. The herbs on the meat were good and having individual butter dishes ready to take was a nice touch. I took a few bites and put the rest to the side, not too upset over the expected results. Some folks advised if you get a tough one to just put them aside and go back for more until you hit a good one, but I was ready to try other items and never took this tactic.
My second plate was to go after the caviar which you have to ask for from the sushi server. I’d never had caviar before and expected it to be salty, slimy and crunchy. I dished up my plate and returned to our table to see it had been cleared and freshened up with a new folded napkin and silverware returned to their correct locations. There was no saving things off to the side, everything was cleared away and a fresh table was waiting our return.
I was surprised by the caviar, it was salty yes, but not overly so and not slimy or crunchy at all. Caviar was more like a spread and I enjoyed it on the little toast and pancake bites provided. I wish I had taken more of the toasts because I probably would have finished the caviar if I had more bread.
I also dug in to some sushi which was good but not the best I’ve ever had. The prime rib was amazing and probably worth the price of entry on its own and the garlic and bacon mashed potatoes were not for folks on a diet. We drank and talked; ate and took in our surroundings. It was a great time.
My third plate was breakfast, simple scrambled eggs from the omelet station (I’m not an omelet person but Joel had a lobster omelet) along side the best waffle I’ve had at any buffet – it was petite, crisp on the outside and puffy and chewy on the inside with a hint of honey or carmel, I couldn’t pin point what made the waffle so amazing – perhaps it was the champagne. I also had some customary breakfast meat and more fresh fruit with whipped cream.
The waffle had me ready to hit up the desserts. And we did! Joel had a made to order crepe with a brownie and raspberry treat.
And I dug into everything else. Espresso tart, chocolate covered strawberry, key lime chocolate which was a key lime whipped center coated in chocolate and a key lime cheese cake.
Oh and also an eclair, maple puffed pastry, toffy candied cake, mango and chocolate mouse and another chocolate covered strawberry.
The desserts were heaven and unlike many other buffets the decorative toppers were actually tasty on their own. The mango dish I enjoyed had dark chocolate decorations on top that were yummy yummy.
The interesting thing about this buffet was even though its offerings were much smaller than all other buffets on the strip I still didn’t get to everything available. In the salad area there was a bowl of crab in the shell but it wasn’t the skinny legs, it was a bowl of nothing but claws. I’d never seen such a thing before. There were other shell fish, meats like duck and lamb and several other sides I didn’t even touch. While it looked like a small buffet there was more than enough to enjoy to feel like you were getting your money’s worth.
But to me the biggest justification of the cost was the service. After having an hour long wait at Caesars the day before it was wonderful to just walk right in and be seated. The attention to detail by our waiter was amazing; there was perhaps one time that my glass of champagne was ever past the half way point.
We didn’t have set plans after brunch and it was a very good thing because about all we could handle was to mozy back to our hotel room and pass out for a couple hour nap. The rest of our group was up North watching football so we slept off the champagne and then headed out for more outlet shopping.
We drove to the Town Square Mall and hit up H&M, Old Navy and searched for Eddie Bauer which didn’t exist. I hit the jackpot at Old Navy and found a mega wall of clearance items. I picked up a handful of shirts and tank tops for under $5.00 each. We had previously done the prime outlet mall but there were a few stores we didn’t have time for on Friday. We burned through Haggar, Van Heusen and Sketchers before deciding we better head back to get ready for our night activities.
Our group went to two different shows on Sunday night. Some of us went to the Divas concert and Joel and I went to see Absinthe at Caesars. We caught dinner with Zandra from the to go counter at Serendipity 3 and after eating at Sugar Factory I’d say you could skip Serendipity and just do Sugar Factory. But it filled us up and we got to try the famous frozen hot chocolate drink.
Absinthe was great. It’s an adult themed variety show with comedy, singing, acrobatic segments and it al takes place in an intimate tent.
We sat at about the half way point of the audience but we were still so close to the action. They warned the front row not to stand up at one point so they wouldn’t get kicked in the head by the roller skating act.
I definitely recommend this show to anyone who’d like to see a little bit of everything and doesn’t get offended by adult humor. After the show we walked back to our hotel to wait for the rest of the group to get out of their show.
It was another gorgeous night in Las Vegas.
The final thing on my Vegas bucket list was to visit the Ellis Island casino. It’s a casino behind Bally’s that’s supposed to have decent food and an amazing steak special for $8.00. I also had coupons from my folks so we got Zandra to rally and headed over there. I think we started our outing at midnight which is a shame because I had coupons for ten free drinks from the bar. We made it through our first four and played some slot machines before we decided we better have some food to go with our liquid. All the eateries were closed except for the cafe. So it was a no go on trying their pizza by the slice or the bbq plates but we got to sit in a booth and enjoy some grub. I had a turkey club sandwich which is becoming my go-to dinner/cafe meal and a standard for my rating of a restaurant. It was good. There was a lively karaoke group in the next room and we laughed at some of the song choices and talked about how we’d had pretty good music playlists at all the places we’d visited on the trip. When we were at the Thai restaurant in Fremont we even broke out into an 80s sing along with their music while we waited for our bill to arrive (it took a while).
I wanted to get some more free drinks after our meal but since my last coupon was good for six drinks and I knew we’d only get through another one I didn’t bother using the coupon. Perhaps in another lifetime I’ll be back for my “three free rounds of drinks for two people” voucher. We played a couple more slots and then cashed in our tickets. We actually did pretty well. The benefit of being at an off strip casino at 1am on a Sunday meant we got our pick of machines and didn’t have to wait. I scored with a $70 bonus round on a Monopoly machine and we also played some video poker, dirty dancing, hangover and michael jackson themed slots.
We were headed out and back to our hotel at 3am with the next day being our check out day so there was no sleeping in for our crew. Whew!