Vegas and buffet are almost synonymous words in my book. You can’t go to Vegas, shop till you drop, gamble like money grows on trees, and NOT eat until you explode. Almost every Vegas trip includes a visit to whatever the hottest buffet is at the moment. That hot buffet is Bacchanal at Caesar’s Palace. The Bacchanal has an impressive spread, but it comes with a hefty price tag. I think the buffet itself is $60 or so, but I’ve never had the patience to wait an hour in line so I’ll pay the extra $15 for the express line. When all is said and done, I’ve just paid $80 for a pile of vegetables, butter, and sugar (I lean towards the veggies and dessert bar).
Anyways, this isn’t a blog entry about Bacchanal. It’s about a nice alternative to that buffet of the masses. You’ve probably never heard of MOzen. Heck, I never had until Decidedly Undecided told me Big Spoon gave it two thumbs up. Maybe the appeal of this place is rooted in the fact that nobody else is eating here. You don’t have to wait in line to enter the buffet, to just wait in line again for the crab legs or prime rib. So yeah, the place was a bit empty, but it was peaceful and relaxing. I wouldn’t be quick to judge the place. MOzen is located at the Mandarin Oriental. Who goes to the Mandarin Oriental for anything??
The Sunday brunch bistro is unique for its buffet offerings and choice of entree from their a la carte menu for $65. So as a result, their buffet is not nearly as extensive and international as many other buffets. There’s an Asian slant, which I don’t mind one bit since I always gravitate toward the Asian items anyways. The focus is on quality rather than quantity.
Chickpea Salad chat masala, tamarind chutney
Cous Cous Salad
Shrimp with Green Curry
Cold Cuts, Cheese, Grilled Vegetables
Crab Claws, Oysters, Shrimp Cocktail
Buffet oysters are usually kind of tasteless, so these were the best I’ve had. Not as good as $2-3 a pop oysters but good enough. I enjoyed the crab claws which were more manageable than crab legs. Shrimps were snappy and sweet.
I was quite pleased with all of the above.
Fresh Baked Cinnamon Rolls
This was probably a bit of an odd offering at an “Asian bistro.” Does it get anymore American than cinnamon rolls? Just kidding, it probably does. It’s not like they gave us donuts or homemade ho-ho’s. I appreciated the soft warm just baked goodness. I also liked how these weren’t sticky with massive amounts of butter and icing. I also didn’t like them because they weren’t sticky with massive amounts of butter and icing a la Cinn-a-Bon.
I missed out on pictures of the hot foods, including the noodle bar and dim sum. The dim sum was just ok, but probably the best dim sum for a Las Vegas buffet. You get your choice of noodles and toppings but there’s only one broth. My bowl of noodles was a bit watered down, but Decidedly Undecided’s noodles were better.
Makhani butter chicken, lentils, garlic naan
By the time the entrees arrived I was pretty stuffed. We tried to make our dent into them though. Sweet, saucy, creamy, tomato-y. Probably too heavy a dish to tackle after 2 visits to the buffet line. Quiet enjoyable nonetheless.
Pan Seared Diver Scallops artichokes, tomato thyme broth, black olives
The fatal flaw of many scallops is being too salty. This leaned that way but overall it was still good. I liked the tomato-olive flavor.
Raspberry Macaron Fruit Tart
I’m not sure what shape or design they were going for here. My first thought was “feet”. I didn’t want to eat anything shaped like a foot. Then I thought, “Maybe it’s a balloon?” Then I thought, “That’s an ugly balloon.” Then I thought, “I don’t want to eat anything I have to spend more than 2 minutes trying to figure out.” End story.
Lychee Pudding with Tapioca
Lemon Meringue Tart
Matcha & Raspberry
Blueberry Mascarpone Hazelnut
The blackberries and strawberries were a delightfully seasonal highlight.
The matcha was not my favorite. The chocolate tart and raspberry macaron tart were lovely.
Decidedly Undecidedly’s picks. The coffee religieuse tasted like a coffee cream puff. I liked the tapioca pearls in the lychee jelly. Ho hum creme brulee.
MOzen Bistro did not disappoint. I am glad Big Spoon steered us in this direction. The service was warm and friendly. The ambience was serene. The buffet was not very extensive, but the selection was better quality than your average buffet. The addition of the a la carte entree makes this a little more unique. The entrees themselves were solid. I wish I had more room for them. The dessert selection was large. Maybe not all the desserts were winners. The fruit was actually the best part, but I still enjoyed the variety of sweets. I would recommend MOzen if you wanted a change of scenery to Bacchanal and wanted to avoid its craziness. MOzen offers a more contained experience, so this isn’t the place for people who needs lots and lots and lots of everything, or large slabs of meat.
10 – You NEED to eat here