Cravings Buffet is a hidden gem located within the Mirage Hotel and Casino. Open for breakfast, brunch, and dinner, any time is a good time to stop by and enjoy the scenery of this beautiful hotel and indulge in the finer side of all-you-can-eat. Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m., breakfast is available at $15.99 for adults and $11.99 for children under ten. Midweek brunch is served Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at $20.99 for adults and $16.99 for kids. Dinner is served daily from 3:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. priced at $30.99 for adults, $21.99 for children, and the weekend Champagne brunch is offered Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., at $25.99 for adults or $19.99 for the kids. With a diverse selection of international cuisine and top-notch service to back it up, Cravings offers one of the best buffet experiences on the Las Vegas Strip.Read More ...
After our final night in Las Vegas, a friend and I are up early and ready for one last feast before the trip back home. Upon recommendation from a colleague, we have saved the Cravings Buffet, inside the Mirage Hotel and Casino, for last on this trip. The buzz about town has given us high hopes for today’s brunch, so we have planned to arrive 15 minutes shy of 8:00 a.m. when seating begins.
We find a space in the self-park garage, bypassing the taxis and eager valets, and set out on foot across the cement bridge that leads to the hotel entrance. We ride the escalator down and make our way through the check-in hallway. On our way to the casino, we cut through the Mirage’s domed “Hidden Garden”, full of beautiful foliage and sweet aromas, and we follow the signs directing us to our destination. After about eight minutes of walking along the winding pathway through the casino floor, we arrive at the entrance to the Cravings Buffet. It is easy to spot because the glowing, golden sign stands out above the myriad of slot machines and black jack tables.
At 7:50 a.m., ten minutes before the weekend brunch begins, there is already a line developing out front. We hurry to gain our place with four groups now ahead of us. As we wait, I can’t take my eyes off of the series of TV. monitors occupying the wall to my left. More than ten screens display different items from the buffet as they are prepared. As I stand by, I witness vibrant orange juice being poured, hot bacon frying, fluffy pancakes being flipped on the griddle, and cartons of fresh eggs, all designed to tease my already gnawing appetite.
The buffet is open seven days a week, offering breakfast, brunch and dinner. Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m., breakfast is available at $15.99 for adults and $11.99 for children under ten. Midweek brunch is served Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at $20.99 for adults and $16.99 for kids. Dinner is served daily from 3:00 p.m. until 10:00p.m., priced at $27.99 for adults, $21.99 for children, and the weekend Champagne brunch is offered Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., at $25.99 for adults or $19.99 for the kids.
When 8:00 a.m. rolls around and the cheerful hostesses open two separate pay stations, the line behind us has grown to well over fifty people in just ten minutes. Luckily, having arrived early, we make it inside in fewer than five, but from the looks of things, some of these people will be in line for quite some time. Taking the obvious popularity of Cravings as a sign of good things to come, we eagerly follow our hostess through the dining room to our table.
Already I find myself quite impressed by the unique décor and efficient lay-out of the restaurant. The space is enormous, with at least a hundred tables dominating the open center. Brilliant chrome pillars are scattered throughout the dining room and lead my eyes upwards to a ribbon of shimmering gold plating that winds its way across the ceiling. Surrounding the well-lit tables, a series of waist-high partial walls separates diners from the numerous active service stations that occupy nearly every nook and cranny around the room. The small walls also serve as the foundations for long benches facing in towards the other tables, creating ample half-booth seating along the outer edges of the room. They are upholstered in an organized checker pattern of light and dark brown, almost matching the chic, striped walls of several food stations just beyond them.
It seems that as the stations alternate, so does the décor of the walls, from vertical brown stripes to horizontal chrome sidings, and pale, sky-blue paint. The juxtaposition of such different color schemes along with the glowing, golden ceiling decorations are visually appealing, and they help add subtle elements of elegance to the environment. Once we are comfortably seated at one of the many half-booths, our server quickly approaches, ready to fulfill our drink requests. She is happy to inform us that the Cravings Buffet offers premium, medium roast coffee as well as different hot teas like Earl Grey, Green Tea, or Chamomile, as well as assorted juice, soft drinks, and mimosas for an additional charge. I order a coffee with cream, water, and a glass of orange juice, and my friend takes the same, before we head off to survey the many different options that the buffet has to offer.
The coffee is served hot and fresh in a carafe that our server leaves at the table, a touch most appreciated since I will definitely have multiple cups throughout the meal. The cream is served in a miniature, metal “carton” alongside the basic sweeteners. I take a sip of my orange juice, which is tart and refreshing, with very little pulp, then I down a small cup of hot, roasted coffee. Small details such as quality coffee and attentive service are keen to creating the most enjoyable buffet experience, and from the lavish décor to the heavy, unique flatware set upon quality cloth napkins, Cravings hits every detail right on the head. Content with what I consider to be a successful beginning to this endeavor, I rise to prepare my first plate.
Navigating between the different stations is made easier by brightly lit, vertical signs which indicate the type of cuisine that is available at each site. As I walk the pathway from one sign to the next, I account for more than ten separate displays, each acting as its own miniature restaurant with specific fresh items. It is refreshing to see that the portions of each item are small and reasonable, making it convenient to taste many different dishes in one sitting without feeling wasteful. I begin along the left wall, just inside of the buffet entrance, where a windowed hut houses a smiling omelet cook. I pass him by, looking in to see him preparing four separate orders simultaneously. There is a hefty line for his services, so I choose to fill my first plate elsewhere.
I begin with a breakfast burrito from the Latin station. Then I add biscuits and gravy, a sausage patty, some fresh bacon, hash browns, and a sausage link from the carving area, before returning to the table. The burrito is surprisingly impressive, with fresh pico de gallo, real scrambled eggs, breakfast sausage, green onion, cilantro and cheese. It is loaded, grilled, pressed and served in halves, which is probably for the best because it is so filling. The hash browns are golden on top and soft, but solid inside. I add a bit of salt and pepper for some extra flavor and the potatoes are very good. Next I go for the biscuits and gravy. The biscuits are obviously hand-made, and they are served separately from the hot country gravy. This allows me to enjoy the fluffy, dense biscuit before the gravy completely soaks the breading. The gravy has small chunks of sausage, and it is not overly peppery; this item is done well. The sausage patty is small, but is loaded with juice and flavor. It is exactly what I imagine when breakfast sausage comes to mind, with savory meat and a hint of spice. The sausage link has a sharp snap as I bite into it, and the inside is tender and warm. It is not quite as spicy as the patty, but definitely has a kick of its own. The bacon is marbled and crispy, a good combination, especially for such a favored breakfast stable. Though it is well toasted on the outside, the meat is still chewy and full of juice. It is not overly salty and definitely worth going back for seconds, but not today. Today I want to try as many different dishes as I can to enhance my all-you-can-eat experience. Drink my juice, have a sip of water, then head back for more.
This time around, I linger in the Italian section, just past the omelet hut. With its authentic wood-fired oven, traditional pizzas, breakfast pizzas and a more innovative breakfast pizza quiche occupy a small display along with small breakfast sandwiches on Italian rolls. But, this station also prepares all of the griddle favorites, so I pass on the pizza and fill my plate with French toast, a mini-waffle, a small pancake, and a helping of the well-presented eggs Benedict. To top off the griddle items, butter, maple syrup, whipped cream, fresh strawberry slices, white chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips occupy the right end of the Italian station. I choose butter and syrup for the pancake, but the waffle and French toast receive a helping of whipped cream, strawberries and white chocolate. Walking back to the table, I pass by other more healthy items like yogurt, granola, grits, and oatmeal, situated between the griddle items and the carving station, but with no room on my plate, I continue on my way.
I start with the savory before delving into the sweets with this plate. I cut into the eggs Benedict and the yolk is poached very well, holding together without oozing out. The ham is salty and sweet with noticeable hints of honey, and along with the toasted English muffin, provides complementing flavor combinations to the creamy Hollandaise and fresh chives drizzled over the top of the egg. This is a dish that I would certainly choose for seconds. Moving into my various griddle specialties, I am delighted by the quality of the pancake and waffle. The first is dense, chewy, and soaked in sweet, hot syrup. Without thoughts of overfilling, I eat the entire thing. The waffle is thick, with a light, crispy outer layer and a moist, fluffy interior. The sweet cream soaks into the breading, and the strawberries provide a fresh, clean finish. To close out this round, I cut a large piece of French toast, which is made with high-quality, thick-cut bread and slightly seasoned with cinnamon. Chewier, and denser than the breading of the waffle, I find that the toppings pair more seamlessly with this item and it is my favorite of the plate.
On my next walk-about, I am in search of a few lighter items. I pass through the sushi station and sample the spicy crab roll and the California roll. This section offers five different cut rolls as well as a couple of hand rolls, with wasabi, ginger and all the necessary condiments. Next, I move past the Chinese station with various soups and specialty entrees, and make my way to the salad bar. Here I find a display of multiple different greens and fresh veggies for diners to choose from. There is a “salad tosser” behind the display who gathers everything together and tosses each salad with your selection from more than ten different dressings. However, it is the cheese bar directly adjacent to the salads that really catches my eye. I sample the fresh Gouda, a bit of Swiss, and a cube of sharp cheddar, before moving further down to the different fruit offerings. I finish my plate with honey-dew melon, cantaloupe, watermelon, and a couple chunks of pineapple. I return to find my orange juice and water refilled and a fresh carafe of coffee waiting to be poured. Again, the quality service puts a smile on my face.
The sushi is actually made quite well, and the ingredients are obviously quite fresh. At first, I dip the spicy crab in soy sauce, but the flavors of the sushi are so fresh and crisp, that I decide to let them stand alone. It is always a treat to find sushi with real crab. The cheddar is potent, and quickly overpowers the remaining sushi flavors, and the Swiss, though more mellow, is also quite good. Of the three, the Gouda is my favorite. It is more firm and leaves a lingering hint of smoke on my palate. From here, I finish with the vibrant array of fresh fruit I have selected. My pineapple is bursting with juice. It is ripe and tart, the way good pineapple should be. The watermelon is deep red, but still firm and full of sweet flavor and the honey-dew is also a hit. Sadly, the cantaloupe has not yet reached maturity, and the flesh is a bit hard and bitter.
At this point, I take a few moments to sip on my coffee and let things settle before continuing on my quest. I am nearing my maximum capacity, but I feel like at least one more plate before dessert. I have decided to save the best for last as I grab a plate and stand in line for an omelet. This is obviously the most popular station of the breakfast buffet, because in the entire time we have been here, there have been a minimum of two people waiting for a custom omelet. I scope out the ingredients: sausage, ham, bacon, tomatoes, onions, mixed bell peppers, spinach leaves and mushrooms. For my last hurrah, I go with the works. Before the preparation commences, I am asked whether I prefer egg whites, a gesture which I appreciate, but politely decline. The cook just smiles and adds my ingredients to the grill where he is already cooking five other omelets. He rotates and flips the different creations with ease and quickly produces one after another in constant succession. Nearing the end of the cooking process, he offers either cheddar or Monterey jack cheese; I take both. Next, I make a stop at the carving station where I sample a slice of prime rib and a hefty piece of ham. I scurry back to my table to enjoy this final monstrosity of a breakfast entrée, and every ingredient looks fresh and vibrant. As I cut open the egg, steam rises and gooey, melted cheese oozes out the sides. The different flavors meld together in every sumptuous bite, and the addition of tender prime rib or sweet, cured ham from the carving station add even more to this delicious dish. Hands down, this is the true star of Cravings breakfast spread, so be sure not to pass on an omelet just because there is a line.
Finally, I set out for one last trip to the dessert section of Cravings where I find large, sugar coated sticky buns, apple turnovers, cinnamon rolls, and a large display of different pastries and baked goods like muffins, cheesecake, donuts, cupcakes and cookies. But, the true standout for this station is the different gourmet gelato and sorbet selections. This morning, the available flavors are sugar free chocolate, pistachio and vanilla for gelatos as well as pineapple and raspberry sorbets. Also, for those who don’t stray far from more traditional buffet desserts, the soft-serve machine offers vanilla, chocolate or twists flavors. I complete my final portion of this meal with the three different gelatos, a sticky bun and an apple turnover. My gelatos are beyond creamy, and each is made with only the freshest ingredients. Flecks of vanilla bean are visible and the pistachio is loaded with chopped nuts. The chocolate, though sugar free, is still quite sweet and very rich. The sticky bun is thick, chewy and overly sweet. The nuts on top also have a good roasted crunch. The apple turnover is slightly cold, which really takes away from my enjoyment. But if hot, I’m sure it would be a hit.
Overall, the Cravings Buffet is a definite winner. The service is impeccable, both fast and efficient, and the staff are always friendly and accommodating. There are many different drink options, and the coffee is good quality. They also leave the fresh pot at the table in a carafe. The different items available span a great number of different cuisine types, including Italian, Carving, Rotisserie, Latin, BBQ, Raw Bar, Fishmonger, Noodles, Sushi, Chinese, Salads and Desserts. Although each section has a fairly limited number of dishes, by the end of the meal I haven’t even tried the half of them. The Mirage is right on the strip, just minutes from the many different luxury hotels, so dining here is never difficult, and the hotel has plenty of different signs that lead the way to the buffet, whether you park yourself or walk in from the street. I would recommend the Cravings Buffet to anyone. The price is a bit high as far as buffets are concerned, but the value of the Cravings experience is well worth the coin. Needless to say, I shall return again soon.
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