The newly opened Hollywood Casino boasts four restaurants, including something called the Epic Buffet. So of course I had to check it out immediately.
Buffets crack me up. It's essentially a collection of food designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator, which means there's nothing on there that discriminating eaters really want to eat. But load up your plate a few times with a comical mishmash of foods and you quickly forget all about the subpar quality. Indeed, I shelled out $20 for an all-you-can-eat dinner on Sunday and came away full and happy. (The endorphin rush that comes with an evening of gambling probably helped).
Here, the Epic Buffet is a fairly standard-sized setup with typical offerings like a carving station (with overcooked flank steak rather than prime rib), fried chicken, mac and cheese, pizza, spaghetti and meatballs and a salad bar. And a whole ton of Asian food. Like, an oddly high percentage, including a whole section of Americanized Chinese favorites like sweet-and-sour chicken as well as these buffet curiosities:
Giant, caterpillar-like, poorly wrapped Vietnamese spring rolls with good spicy peanut dipping sauce.
Sushi, but only sushi rolls with veggies and cream cheese -- no fish.
An entire Pho Bar where you can build your own Vietnamese soup. This idea is neat in concept, but unfortunately the broth was lukewarm, and definitely not hot enough to cook the raw beef I chose to go in my soup. I'm not sure if the casino is banking on a high percentage of Asian gamblers or if they're just betting on Asian as a surefire trendy cuisine, but it's definitely an interesting approach.
This slice of "handmade" Margherita pizza was actually my favorite item, with good crispy thin crust and high-quality cheese and toppings.
Well, my favorite besides the smorgasbord of desserts, of course. My only complaint is that there's a soft-serve ice cream machine but no sundae toppings a la childhood buffet favorites like Ponderosa.
Epic Buffet at Hollywood Casino
200 Georgesville Rd., West Side