Archive for September, 2012

Restaurant Review: Bacchanal Buffet at Caesar’s Palace

Bacchanal Buffet
Bacchanal Buffet at Caesar’s Palace
3570 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Buffet (Casual Dining)
Hours Of Operation
7am – 10pm daily
Dress Code Casual

The opening of the $17 million Bacchanal Buffet at Caesar’s Palace this week has been greatly hyped as a breakthrough in buffet dining, because the food is supposedly prepared fresh rather than just dumped in steam trays.

I decided to give it a try, arriving at 6:00 PM Friday; it was a two-hour wait in line — and a $40 check per person (using my players club card for a $3.00 discount) to get in.

That two-hour wait and entry price about double the average Las Vegas buffet colors everything about this review.

It’s a good buffet with a lot of variety. Everything I had was well-prepared, and I sampled a bite of different offerings: prime rib, rib-eye steak, lamb chop, snow crab legs, a mixed seafood salad, sushi, a hamburger bite, fish & chips, fried chicken & sweet potato fries, asparagus, broccoli, and for dessert the custard bread pudding, creme brulet, and a chocolate parfait.

It was all just fine.

But it wasn’t worth a two-hour wait and a $40 per person check.

Bacchanal Buffet at Caesar’s Palace

For one thing, when you walk in, the display case shows Maine lobster and Maryland soft-shell crab. Neither was offered and the crab was the same snow crab legs you can get at any Friday seafood buffet in Las Vegas. The Royal Seafood Buffet at the Rio used to have rock lobster available; if Caesar’s wanted to impress me that their buffet was special at least this would have been in the seafood section, if not the Maine lobster they display.

There was nothing really exotic among the meats. The last time I was at the Bellagio buffet they were carving venison and buffalo steak. The meat offerings at this buffet were nothing you couldn’t get at any other buffet in Vegas.

The sushi was freshly prepared but there was little variety. There’s a far superior sushi and Asian seafood buffet at Makino’s on Decatur for about $25.

There were no juices offered with the beverages, and the coffee was about Denny’s quality. The soft drink selection was no better than the cheapest buffet in Las Vegas: Pepsi or Diet Pepsi, and Iced Tea.

I will give the buffet this: I’ve never eaten better asparagus.

Everything else was fine but not markedly better than other Vegas buffets.

All in all, this buffet would be fine at half the price and without the wait. My rating: 6.5 out of 10.

Now in production: Alongside Night. Look for it in 2013!

Bookmark and Share

9/11 was the “Moneyball” of War

I would have written this earlier on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11/2001 attacks, but I was busy looking at actors’ reels all day. — JNS

Osama bin Laden and his cohorts launched the first ultra-low budget indie war. They demonstrated the Moneyball of war a year before the Oakland Athletics demonstrated Moneyball in baseball.

For the price of finding and training a small crew of fanatical acolytes to hijack and pilot four commercial jetliners, the al-Qaeda attacks produced as many casualties and physical destruction as the Empire of Japan — with a fleet of aircraft carriers, bombers, and submarines — inflicted on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

The 2011 movie Moneyball tells us the story of how Billy Beane’s under-financed 2002 Oakland Athletics baseball team — whose players kept on getting raided by teams with bigger budgets, to hire away what in the movie biz we’d call A-list players — was able to produce an unprecedented series of 20 unbroken wins by hiring players not by their star reputations but by what hits they could produce on the playing field.

This may have been a genius move in baseball but it’s business as usual to indie filmmakers, who find innovative way after innovative way to make movies on a shoestring budget by concentrating on putting story and performance on the screen rather than explosions, car crashes, and CGI-driven special effects headlined by stars who get “paid-or-played” millions of bucks regardless of whether the movies they headline ever make a profit.

Indie Warmaker Osama bin Laden
Indie Warmaker Osama bin Laden

So in the same way that Billy Beane showed that the under-financed Oakland Athletics could be competitive on the baseball diamond with rich teams like the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, and the 2007 movie Paranormal Activity showed that a movie made for $11,500 could produce box-office revenues of $283,000,000, Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda showed that a microbudget raid could produce the results only previously achieved by imperial attacks.

In the eleven years since the 9/11 attacks Republicans have chided Democrats for regarding 9/11 as a criminal matter rather than a war.

They’re both wrong. It’s not traditional war. It wasn’t a crime like a bank robbery.

The truth is, al-Qaeda rewrote the rules of engagement forever after.

They made a major war possible for the price of a low-budget movie.

Bookmark and Share