Welcome Platter – Apricot/Blueberry/Strawberry Jam, Compressed Melon Skewers, Blueberry Danish, Chocolate Muffin, Banana Muffin, Pain Au Chocolate, Butter Croissant
Sui Mai/Har Gao/Char Siew Bao/Peking Duck Bao
American Caviar, Buckwheat Waffle, Chive Crème Fraiche/ Tuna Poke with Mango in a Squid Ink Cone/Foie Gras Profitterole with Asian Pear/King Crab Legs/Assorted Sushi
Lobster Pot Pie
Sweet and Sour Chili Crab/Chinese Donuts
Lobster Benedict/Traditional Benedict/Banana-Nutella French Toast/Red Velvet Waffle with Cream Cheese Frosting
Pear Almond Tart/Apple Tart/Pound Cake with Golden Raisin/Zucchini Bread/Almond Berry Financier/ Chocolate Profitterole/Raspberry Profitterole/Vanilla Profitterole/Coffee Gelee with Almond Cake and Cheesecake Mousse
Whole Grain Bagel Chips/Assorted Cheeses/Charcuterie/Cornichons/Glazed Nuts/ Porchetta/Honey Glazed Slab Bacon/Wood Roasted Carrots/Spinach and Gruyere Crepe
Ginger Chicken Congee/Diced Fruit with Kaffir Lime Leaf and Coconut Honey Cloud/Mango and Papaya Infused Muesli/Peking Duck Bao
Vanilla Gelato with Oreo Cookies, Caramel, Milk Chocolate Dipped Walnut Fudge
Assorted Cheeses/Dried Fruits/Glazed Nuts/Date Bread/Dark Chocolate Truffle/White Chocolate Coconut Truffle/Milk Chocolate Truffle/Giadujia Truffle/Raspberry Pate de Fruits/Apricot Pate de Fruits/ Foie Gras Profitterole with Asian Pear
Crème Brulee/Tiramisu Mochi/Strawberry Mochi/White Chocolate Rice Crispy Treat/Milk Chocolate Brownie/Dark Chocolate Strawberry/Coffee Gelee with Almond Cake and Cheesecake Mousse
Espresso Gelato with Milk Chocolate Marshmallows, White Chocolate Rice Crispy Treat, Fudge
Chocolate Covered Strawberry/Chocolate Profitterole/Vanilla Profitterole/Figs/Glazed Nuts/Fresh Fruits/Banana-Nutella French Toast
Coming off a truly unexpected experience at Wicked Spoon just one week prior and with a long holiday weekend at my disposal it was with high hopes that I waltzed through the Bellagio conservatory en route to a meal nearly four years overdue on my expansive ‘to-do’ list – a Sunday afternoon at the upscale Cantonese restaurant Jasmine for “Fountains Brunch.” Considered by many to be one of the best buffets in the city and housed in a breathtaking room where floor-to-ceiling windows joyously exploit the twice-hourly water-dance outside it was to the left of the ornately decorated space that I found myself sat and with lightly roasted coffee adding $4.50 to the base $58 my meal began, a tableside pastry tower presented from my server whose interactions would otherwise prove perfunctory at best. Small in size but diverse in selections with steamer tables, chilled sections, prep-to-order, and a whole room of desserts it was with Asian options that I began and with sliced to order Peking Duck on warm bao the star of the show both dim sum and crab soup would show equally well while congee proved mealy and flavorless leading me to overlook the noodle station in favor of things more unique. Focused next on cold tables it was in exotic ingredients and iced shellfish that Jasmine hoped to justify its pricetag and although the King Crab was fine while foie gras pastry proved addicting the sushi, cheeses, charcuterie, and salads were rather pedestrian – a toothsome muesli better fitting as dessert a rare exception to the rule. Moving through more “American” selections including a decadent pot pie, two delicious benedicts, and casserole-style French Toast imbued with banana and Nutella while quickly discarding flaccid waffles and dried out breakfast breads it was finally in sweets that nearly everything excelled – a well culled selection from which I nearly sampled the gamut – a Jean Phillipe’s gelato station, perfect puffs of choux, and DIY fondue all receiving repeat visits with Asian pastries decidedly conspicuous in their absence. Undoubtedly a special space but maligned by service faux-pas necessitating requests for refills plus clean utensils suffice it to say that although ‘luxe’ in many ways a brunch at Jasmine does not come cheap and while some items shined none but the duck was on par with Wing-Lei’s Chinese New Year while neither service nor selection were equal to Wicked Spoon which rings in at nearly half the price after tax, tip, and drinks.
THREE STARS: Comfortably showing the kitchen’s talents with upscale Cantonese cuisine while struggling with service issues as relates to both the table and more time-sensitive food presentations Jasmine’s Fountains Brunch takes full advantage of the Bellagio’s prime real estate by charging a premium for a few culinary gems amongst an otherwise middling cast. Certainly a special meal and one I’m glad to have finally experienced I cannot say I’ll be rushing back anytime soon, but I also would not rule out a dinner visit for the future as the duck was truly excellent and the walnut prawns look tempting as well.
RECOMMENDED: Peking Duck Bao, Profitteroles, Gelato and Chocolate Fondue Stations, Sweet and Sour Chili Crab, Mango and Papaya Infused Muesli, Steamed Dim Sum
AVOID: Red Velvet Waffles, Congee, Laminated Pastry, Breakfast Breads
TIP: Unlike Wicked Spoon all beverages are served at additional costs and most of these seem excessive, the $4.50 coffee appearing as a French Press though in reality a simple pot of drip. For those desiring an up-close view of the fountains it is advised to call at least 2 weeks in advance and to request a spot on the lower level – far from the buffet and bathed in the sun with an unobstructed view.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor