Tucked away in the hustle and bustle of the simulated streets of the Paris Resort, Le Village Buffet offers patrons a Francophile restaurant experience. A tour of French cuisine is on offer, with regional dishes from Alsace, Brittany, Burgundy, Normandy, and Provence, as well as succulent French desserts. Breakfast is available Monday through Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m for $21.99 per adult and $12.99 per child between the age of 4 and 8. On Friday and Saturday, the cost is $23.99 for adults and $14.99 for children. Lunch, from Monday to Friday 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., costs $24.99 per adult and $14.99 per child. Dinner runs from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Friday then until 11:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. During the week dinner costs $30.99 for adults and $17.99 for kids, but on Saturday and Sunday, the price increases to $33.99 per adult and $19.99 per child. Champagne Brunch, featuring Saint Hilaire Champagne, is available on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. for $30.99 per adult and $19.99 per child.Read More ...
Mid-morning on a Tuesday is an interesting time to be in Sin City. The crowds of visitors, who come in for a weekend holiday, have all returned to their lives back home. The majority of people wandering the resorts are attending conferences or conventions, but my buddy Jan and I are on day three of our Vegas buffet adventure. As we pull into the parking structure of Paris Las Vegas, it is apparent that one of the benefits of early weekdays in Vegas is that parking is readily available, even at the more popular resorts. Our walk from parking spot to buffet is a quick elevator ride and short jaunt past the assorted restaurants and shops that line the simulated French main street aptly named, “Le Boulevard” that runs through the center of the Paris resort.
Le Village Buffet Paris Las Vegas offers patrons a Francophile themed restaurant experience. American style buffet fare is readily available, but Le Village also offers a tour of French cuisine, with sections of the restaurant dedicated to specific regions of France. The Alsace section offers hearty stews, Brittany has made-to-order crepes, roasted duck, and steamed mussels, Burgundy is home to the carving station, Normandy sees quiche and scallops, and Provence is the place to go for pasta made to order.
Available every day of the week from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., breakfast is available for $21.99. Lunch, from Monday to Friday 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., costs guests $24.99. Dinner, served every day from 3:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., sets patrons back $29.99. Available on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for $30.99, the Champagne Brunch at Le Village features bottomless glasses of Saint Hilaire Champagne.
We arrive at the line around 10:30 a.m. near the tail end of breakfast. As we take our place in line, there are already a decent number of people waiting for the buffet. This turns out to be the first wave of the lunch crowd. After a few minutes, the growing line behind us reveals that we are just ahead of the lunch rush. It takes us about 10 minutes to make it to the front of the line to pay. While we wait for our table, Jan asks the hostess if the crepe station has Nutella. He says the last time he dined at Le Village there was only chocolate sauce. She tells him that the kitchen makes its own Nutella mix to use on the crepes, but her explanation does not win him over.
The host leads us to our table. Our server arrives soon after to take our drink orders. I proceed to order what I always have for breakfast, black coffee and water. The server points out that our table already has a carafe of coffee on it, which makes me suspect that I will be finishing the coffee ordered by the previous guests that dined at our table. One taste of the tepid black liquid confirms my suspicion. While the coffee is of a higher than most restaurants quality, it is too bad I did not get a fresh cup to enjoy. Jan, who also follows his routine, orders a decaffeinated tea and receives a mint blend and chamomile.
As I make my initial inspection of the buffet, it is clear that I will only have one pass at the morning meal offerings before the switch to lunch occurs. The cooks behind the buffet are all working at putting the finishing touches on lunch. As I make my way around, I spot the omelet station. I step in line, only to have my hopes dashed by the man working the station. It turns out; the two people before me are the last two people to be receiving omelets on this day. While I understand that there has to be a cutoff somewhere, it is not as if the cook had closed down his station when I asked for an omelet. Everything needed was right there, and ready to go. Without an omelet, I shuffle off in an air of disappointment in search of a suitable replacement. I find my omelet substitute, an egg white frittata with mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, spinach, and feta cheese. All the ingredients are fresh and flavorful, and while it is no omelet, it is a fine alternative given the circumstances. I am glad to report that the French toast at Le Village is the best of the trip. The bread used is cinnamon raisin, and this simple substitution elevates the dish to a whole new level. I also sample both the Bavarian sausage and the standard pork sausage. The Bavarian sausage is more to my liking, as it has an extra bit of seasoning that I enjoy. The pork sausage is standard fare, nothing spectacular. When I serve myself a portion of Eggs Benedict, the tray is full, a sign that they have just been prepared. The eggs, skillfully prepared, have a runny yolk and fluffy white, which is nice. The hash brown triangles however, are downright bad. Cold and rubbery is not what I like in my hash browns, and that is the only way to describe these potatoes. The bacon is more soft than crispy, but of decent quality. The execution leaves a bit to be desired.
On my second round, I am fortunate enough to see that the line for the crepe station is non-existent. Anyone who has been to any buffet that offers fresh crepes knows that there is usually a queue of at least three people, so I hurry over before another guest can cut me off at the pass. When the man behind the station asks what kind of crepe I would like, I have a hard time choosing between the ham and cheese and the garden vegetable crepe. The cook behind the glass makes my choice simple by asking if I would like to have a hybrid of the two. He explains that this is his personal favorite crepe, and I have no objection to his suggestion. I end up with a massive ham, cheddar, spinach, mushroom, and onion crepe that is not only delicious, but also made with utmost care.
Having informed Jan that there is no line at the crepe station, he takes advantage strikes while he has the chance. He returns with what Le Village calls the “monkey” crepe. Touted as a banana and “Nutella” crepe, I have to put Nutella in quotes here. Both Jan and I know what Nutella is. This crepe does not feature the rich, brown, hazelnut and chocolate spread. It does however have a black chocolate sauce that the managers at Le Village attempt to pass off as Nutella. It is simply wrong. Jan, not impressed by the crepe does not finish it.
After I finish my leviathan crepe, I decide on a simple field green salad for my third round. The mixture of fresh greens is light and crisp. The vinaigrette dressing I lightly drizzle atop my salad is thick and tart. After this respite, it is time for dessert.
The dessert station is not as vast as I would have expected considering the culinary traditions of France, but the few dishes I sample are good. The crème brûlée, while small, is better than expected. The crisp, caramelized sugar, the signature crust of the dessert, adds a simple sweetness to the rich vanilla custard. Flecks of vanilla bean are present in the custard, which shows the high quality of ingredients used in the confection. I try a crème caramel, which is less impressive than the brûlée. The consistency is firm; perhaps there is too much gelatin in the batch. The almost too soft consistency that has a tendency to keep people away from this treat is what I find delightful about a nice flan, or crème caramel. The rubbery texture of this particular dish has me leave the dessert only half finished. I draw my course of strictly sweets to a close with a bowl of soft serve ice cream. The vanilla tastes like milk, and has no substantial vanilla flavor to it. It is also a bit too sweet. The chocolate, on the other hand, has a slight malt flavor profile, a creamy constistency, and is not too bitter. I ignore the vanilla, and let the chocolate wrap up my meal with a sweet conclusion.
Le Village Buffet at Paris has some room for improvement. The Nutella issue may seem minor, but if a restaurant is going to specify an ingredient by name, substitutions for that ingredient are unacceptable. To promise one thing and deliver another is simply poor form. While my denial of an omelet is objectively my fault, due to my late arrival, the cook could have spent an extra minute making me an omelet and I would have walked away a happy customer. On the plus side, the service we experience from the servers is top notch. Returning from a run to the buffet, I have a full water glass every time. The servers are so attentive that I have to turn away a couple of refills. Some of the other buffets in Vegas could take a cue from this service detail.
On our way out of the buffet, I notice a bird perched above the fountain on Le Boulevard. This little bird stands in stark contrast to the simulated nature the Paris Resort has put so much effort into creating. Like getting chocolate sauce when expecting Nutella, it is a bit of a shock. With the hand painted sky above our heads and the gentle breeze of the air conditioning on our faces, we make our way back to the car. Reflecting on my meal, I expected a better experience at Le Village Buffet. Considering the price of admission and the culinary tradition of the city for which the resort takes its name, it was good but not great. The service made up for some of the shortcomings, but not enough to justify the cost. When it comes to all you can eat in Vegas, there are comparable buffets for less money, and better buffets for the same price.
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