RENO, NEVADA – What is it about casinos and buffets?
Anywhere I’ve gone that’s hosted casinos – Las Vegas, Atlantic City, coastal Mississippi or New Orleans – if there are slot machines in the area, buffets are close by. During a stay in Reno, at a hotel called the Silver Legacy, I found myself once again being tempted by the lure of a gambling buffet. In this case, it was called Flavors International Buffet, and the name was appropriate, because this rather spacious buffet truly does have every flavor of cuisine you might imagine.
Have you ever gone to a restaurant that offers a Sunday buffet, or maybe a lunch buffet, and you get there and it’s nothing more than a tiny section with lettuce, a few other vegetables, and some dressing? You stand there in front of it and wonder why they even bothered calling this pitiful thing a buffet?
Casino buffets are not like that. They tend to be sized to not only accommodate a huge number of tourists, but also are big enough to land a plane in.
Welcome to Flavors.
Like most casino buffets, getting into the place is not inexpensive. It costs $20 per person, plus tax – I think tourist towns, or at least the governments that get elected to operate them, probably view sales taxes as the greatest invention since the water faucet – so for the two of us, our bill came to $44 plus change. That doesn’t include drinks, and Flavors is ready to tempt you with everything from wine to Margaritas to plenty of other alcoholic combinations.
What you get for that is, well, quite a bit.
Once your waiter takes your drink orders, you have to decide where to begin. You have plenty of choices.
You might opt to head over to the pasta line, where whole pizzas await you.
There’s the standard salad bar section, with lettuce and the like, but I noticed almost no one in this fairly crowded buffet was spending much time there.
More likely, they’re waiting for the meat, where a chef will cut you a slice of ham, turkey, roast beef, or sausage, all cooked to a sizzling delight.
There’s plenty of fish, and a good variety, from smoked salmon to raw shrimp, and a wide selection of sliced meats and cheeses. In Flavors, the plates are so big you could house a family of three under one, but you’d be amazed nonetheless how many times you’re tempted to go back, again and again and again, and refill those plates with food stacked so high they resemble the mountains that surround this charming town. There are sections for American, Italian, Asian and Mexican specialties, and on Saturday nights – when I went to Flavors – they have International Night. You can also get a Champagne brunch on the weekends.
And, of course, there’s the allure of the desert section – the slices of cake, from carrot to chocolate, that wink at you when you first walk in, along with mousse and Jello in tiny cups. If there’s one thing that casinos and other resorts seem to have done to perfection, it’s buffets.
The staff at Flavors is friendly, rushing over with the speed of the Road Runner when they see you’re done with your plate so they can instantly clear it away – a couple of times, I almost thought my waiter was giving me a smiling wink, as if to say, Come on, go back for more. You know you want to.
When you’re on vacation, you’re far less likely to feel guilty for overindulging – although I suppose if your newly gained weight causes your plane to tilt a bit midair, that might change your mind.
“Delight your senses with an irresistible array of taste sensations and indulge your appetite for variety at this extensive buffet,” the resort’s advertising notes. At least they’re honest about their mission: to get you to eat, and eat, and eat. Whew. At least all of the food is quite well prepared, and doesn’t have that straight-off-the-shelf taste that some buffets do.
The Silver Legacy is a casino resort in the gambling area of downtown Reno, and from the inside of this hotel you can walk right into other neighboring resorts like Circus Circus with its kids arcade, or El Dorado.
This hotel has a mezzanine level with the hotel lobby, restaurants, bars, shopping and gambling, plus a casino level with a Comedy Club bar, Fresh Express Food Court, high limit slot area, Sports Book Bar, Silver Baron Lounge, and MGM Mirage Satellite race.
There’s nightlife at the Rum Bullions Island Bar on the mezzanine level or the Drinx Lounge. I wonder sometimes if they even want you to leave the hotel during your stay in Reno.
With options like Flavors at your disposal, that’s not a bad idea.
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