Friday, January 20, 2006

Buffet at the Wild, Wild West Casino, Atlantic City, NJ

I have not reviewed casino buffets before. I will start with my favorite - the Buffet at the Wild, Wild West Casino on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The casino is run by Bally's. The buffet is called the Virginia City Buffet. There is now a second buffet in the casino that I have not yet seen and just learned about.

The Virginia City Buffet is the casino's original buffet offering. It is located on a upper floor of the casino and is accessed only through the casino floor which means NO CHILDREN. Yes, this is an all adult buffet experience. No running kiddies. No hands in the serving trays (well, maybe, as I have seen quite a few adult hands in serving trays in the many buffets that I have been to). You purchase a ticket for your meal in advance. Soft drinks are included. Bar drinks are available. Your meal includes an extensive all you can eat buffet and a ticket for one chargrilled steak. Arrive early and purchase a ticket for the time that you wish to eat. The restaurant is open until 9 from Sunday to Thursday, until 10 on Friday, and until 11 on Saturday. If you arrive at dinner time you are going to find that tickets are being sold for late seatings - especially during peak tourist seasons. The price is in the mid-$20 range per person. When you arrive at the suggested 15 minutes before your seating you will wait on a line for a table. Those who have been "comped" for casino play will be seated first. The dining room looks like an old west town with western building facades.

The buffet is divided into cuisines. To start, there is a soup and salad area. There are more than four soups served. The cabbage soup is very good. You can also create matzoh ball soup or wonton soup - you may even mix the two. There are prepared salads and tossed salad with toppings. You will also find peel and eat shrimp here.

The next section is Italian. Here you will find pasta dishes being made behind the buffet counter and refilled regularly. There is a variety of sauces for pasta. There are Italian entrees and pasta dishes that are well prepared. The Italian food served is as good as any Italian restaurant.

The next section is Deli and here they are slicing hot pastrami and hot corned beef to your order. There are potato pancakes. There is a variety of deli salads. At one time there was sliced lox (smoked salmon) here, but in the past few years this has been replaced with a lox spread.

The next section is Chinese. There is a wok behind the buffet counter and a chef is preparing a variety of dishes to refill the serving trays. There are egg rolls. There is an array of Chinese entrees. The selection and preparation is as good as a good Chinese restaurant.

The next section is a potato and vegetable buffet bar. There is a variety of side dishes to be found here along with baked potatoes with toppings, mashed potatoes, and cooked vegetables.

Next to this section is the meats and entrees. There are sliced meats such as turkey and pork. There are prepared meat entrees. There is also a charcoal grill that is flame-broling steaks to your order. You give your ticket for your one steak and order your steak at the grill. It is prepared as you like it - and surprise! they get it right. This is one of the best steaks that I have had.( Oddly, the same lady chef is always cooking the steaks the many times that I have been there - does she never get a day off?) At times the steak area overwhelms the entree and carving area and my wife has complained that you cannot get the server to pay attention to you to get carved meat.

To complete your meal there is a dessert section that takes up the entire middle of the buffet area. There are cakes, pies, pastries, suger-free pies, soft ice cream and toppings, hot cobblers, puddings, fruit, jello, and others. The desserts are good. I do not find them as lavish as the meal, but there really is nothing lacking.

Your table is set with all utensils and your server brings your beverages. Dishes are usually collect promptly and the server is usually available to you if needed. There have been a few rare occasions when table service was not as good as it could have been. In the middle of the dining floor there is "house" with a porch. There are tables on the porch and inside the "house" is a parlor with dining tables. I find that service is not as good both on the porch and inside the "house" as it is on the dining floor.

There is a smoking section in the dining room - though NJ smoking laws may have changed this.

I wholly recommend a visit to the Virginia City Buffet. If you are with the family look elsewhere - or feed the kids first and sent them off to the arcade.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good read, this Virginia City Buffet...I find this blog quite interestng, as you have chosen a niche ara that is however of intreest to quite a few foodies

I liked especially your comment "no hand in the service trays, maybe!"...frankly, if my observation powers are anywhere near what I think they are, I have found an equal number of adult hands (if not more) as children's hands...the child is, after all, the father of a man!

Ec, Castor Oil