Friday, February 08, 2013

Top Buffet of 2012 - Festival Buffet at Foxwood's Casino and Resort

The Festival Buffet is the buffet at the Foxwood's Resort and Casino in Connecticut and is names as one of our Top Buffets of 2012. I have been to this buffet a number of times and have reviewed and written about it several times - and each time that I have written about I need two weeks to say everything that needs to be said - and all good too! That alone tells you that there is something special about this buffet.

Foxwoods is a very large complex and consists of two hotels, several casinos, shops, night clubs and lounges, and a lot of restaurants. The Festival Buffet is the only buffet in the complex. When you come to dine at this buffet, it will be different on Monday to Thursday nights from Friday to Sunday nights. On Friday to Sunday they feature what they call an enhanced menu. Both weeknight and weekend buffets are great. The enhanced menu on the weekend adds steak, crab clusters, and more - at a slightly higher dinner price.

The buffet is located in what is called Rainmaker's Square in the complex. There are three dining areas for this buffet. One of these dining areas is actually outside the restaurant on the promenade separated by a low wall from those walking by. If you like the feel of a "sidewalk restaurant" this is what you will get outside. Be aware that this section is a smoking section. Of course, this areas has open access into the main dining room and the buffet area.

The food is set up in "stations" that follow the wall around the room and each station has a theme with food coordinating with that theme. The first thing you will see as you come in through the entrance is the dessert station and this is long and extensive. You are tempted as soon as you enter!

Following along the wall, there will be a station with seafood, a station with continental foods including entrees, carvings, and side dishes, a station with Italian food, a station with Asian food, and a station with both Tex-Mex and Barbecue. When the enhanced menu is in effect there is a station with crab clusters. The salad bar and the soups are on an island in the middle of the dining area.

There is a vast amount of food to choose from here and that makes wanting to try everything difficult. There is a lot to tempt you and there is way to much to be able to try - even taking small tasting portions. Starting with the salad bar, there are two sides to the salad bar with the soups on an end. On one side there are the makings for a Caesar Salad plus a pre-mixed special salad. On the other side is everything necessary to make an great tossed salad plus a variety of prepared salads. The salad is great but there is so much more to eat and I sometimes wonder why I did not just skip the salad and move on to all the rest. There were four soups to choose from when we went this past year - increased on the buffet from two soups before that. And if you go to the Asian station you may also find an Asian soup there as well. The New England Clam Chowder is excellent. Even the chicken rice soup tasted homemade!

As you go past the various stations and look at the entrees and side dishes you can be overwhelmed by all you see. At the seafood station there is mounds of fried cod, broiled seafood entrees, fried shrimp, fried clams, peel and eat cold shrimp, french fries, and more. I will come back to the continental station with its carvings and move you along to the Italian station. Behind the counter there are chefs preparing the dishes that you see laid out in front of you and these include not only hot entrees, but cold antipasto items as well. The dishes change here but I have had lasagna of various types, tortellini, pasta and a variety of sauces to put on, sausage and peppers, meatballs in tomato sauce, and more. At the Asian station there are also chefs behind the counter preparing and woking the dishes that are put out on the buffet counter.These have included dumplings, chow mien, various Chinese entrees, fried rice, noodles of various types - hot and cold, egg rolls and more. The barbecue/Tex-Mex station changes from weeknight to weekend and is more barbecue than Tex-Mex on the weekend. On the weekend they are charbroiling steaks here along with everything else. There have been very good ribs served, taco and burrito fixings, pulled pork, chili, riblets, BBQ chicken, beef brisket, beans both barbecue beans and Mexican beans, and more. Again, at each station, items change night by night and there is more on the weekend "enhanced" buffet at the stations. It is almost impossible to say what you will find on a visit - or the next visit after that.

Now, let's go back to the Continental station in the middle. I call this "Continental" as that seems to me the best way to describe it. Here there are a variety of entrees, side dishes, and vegetables. There have been Swedish meatballs, beef strognaoff, chicken with mushrooms, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, potatoes of various types, and various vegetables. The carvings may include several among which may be an excellent Prime Rib, pork loin, ham, tritip beef, turkey, and others. Portions are carved large.

As I have said, more than once - you cannot possibly try it all in one meal. But you want to!  

Still want dessert. The dessert counters are almost as long as the food stations. There are hot desserts. Cold desserts. Pies, cakes, pastries, diet desserts, crepes, cookies, cupcakes, soft ice cream. I will repeat what I wrote in my last article about the Festival Buffet's desserts -

"There was a lot of very tempting desserts and a wide variety from hot cobblers, hot bread pudding, an assortment of puddings including tapioca, rice pudding, etc. There were many different cakes. The apple cake caught my eye. It was a large slice of brown cake with apples very visible in the slice. There was coconut cake - yellow cake with white frosting super-filled with coconut. As I stood next to the serving counter, I could smell the sweet coconut call to me. There were brownies, chocolate mousse, soft serve ice cream, sundae fixings, and an area where crepes were cooked and filled to order. There is also a section of sugar-free desserts - mostly cakes."

Service has been excellent. The table staff are attentive and make sure your plates are picked up and your drinks are refilled (soft drinks are included in the price of the buffet).

I have been to casino buffets in Atlantic City and casino buffets at another resort/casino in Connecticut. This has consistently been the best. Others have been good. This is the one that I think about going back to - and do when I make the trip to Connecticut. There is no question that by the standards that has been set by this site, this is a Top Buffet. There is value for your money. The food is of excellent quality. It is prepared well and tastes great. Plus the staff are equally good. If you are in Connecticut, go to Foxwoods and have a great meal at the Festival Buffet. 

 The Festival Buffet is at Foxwoods Resort Casino. The address is 350 Trolley Line Boulevard,
Mashantucket, CT 06338-3777. The phone number is 1-800-369-9663. There is a website with directions, etc. and that is listed at the side of this page.

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