Pork Bao Buns / Congee with Scallions / Pork Potstickers / Pina Colada Fritters / Braised Beef Poutine
Buttermilk Pancakes and Brioche French Toast with Strawberries, Raspberries and Maple Syrup / Bananas Foster Waffle / Cream Cheese Blintzes with Blueberry Compote and Vanilla Yogur
Ham, Pepperoni, Mozzarella Stromboli / Chili Pie / Breakfast Quiche / Smoked Sausage / Bacon / Sausage Links / Hash Browns / Buttermilk Biscuit / Four Cheese Pizza
Grilled Pita Bread, Babaganoush, Hummus / Spring Rolls, Sweet & Sour Sauce / Salt & Pepper Chicken Wings / Cheetos Crusted Street Corn / Flaming Hot Cheetos Street Corn
BBQ Pulled Pork / Cornbread / Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese / Pork al Pastor with Guacamole and Cheese Taco / Chicken Fajita Taco
Cinnamon Roll / Blueberry Scone / Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce
Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich with Caramel and Chocolate Gelato / Oreo Coupe / Brownie Sundae Coupe / S’mores Coupe
Apple Cobbler with Vanilla Soft Serve / Chocolate Mousse Cake / Tiramisu Coupe / Red Velvet Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting / Mini Cream Puff / Rice Pudding Parfait / Peanut Butter Cookie / Sugar Cookie / Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
As part of an ongoing arms race for tourist dollars it was shortly after Station Casinos took over The Palms that change was underway, the conversion of 24/7 Café to Lucky Penny followed by an announcement that Alize would shutter to make way for one of America’s greatest Italian Chefs plus the opening of A.Y.C.E. on December 22nd.
Described as a “celebration of All-You-Can-Eat” and a significant departure from Station’s Feast brand of Buffet found from Red Rock to Green Valley and everywhere in between, A.Y.C.E. features a spacious floor plan bolstered by clever artwork and recipes created by Executive Chef Joseph Kudrak, the Cuisine divided across seven stations including the Greenery, Hearth and Roastery plus World Pan, Smoke & Fire, Revival and Sweet & Light.
Priced at $8.99 for Breakfast, $11.99 for Lunch and $17.99 for Dinner or Sunday Brunch when using Station’s Free Players Card, a few bucks extra for those unwilling to sign up, guests arriving at The Palms will find A.Y.C.E. at the center of the property and although lines run a bit slow during prime time the average wait is far less than Bacchanal, Wynn or Wicked Spoon while service once inside is fairly typical, Beverages always taking a bit longer to fill than expected though empty plates disappear fairly quickly.
Doing a nice job with the build-out, open kitchens and live stations visible behind several of the sections including a unique “Revival” area that offers cold-pressed Juices, Vegan and Vegetarian fare, it was after perusal of the whole line-up that a plate was selected, bottomless Coffee included in the cost of admission plus Water refreshing the palate between tastes from the World Pan including creamy Congee plus convincing Coconut Fritters plus Pork Buns while the Potstickers were unfortunately a bit flavorless, though Poutine performed well with fresh Curds and Fries that held their own.
Taking an alternating savory and sweet approach before realizing Breakfast turns over to Lunch at 11am on Saturday, the Buttermilk Pancakes which are also offered in Gluten-Free format outperforming Brioche French Toast that appeared to have been sitting out for a while, two highlights from Breakfast included individually portioned Waffles smothered in Bananas Foster Sauce as well as Cheese Blitzes every bit as good as those at Canter’s whether on their own or topped with Berries available fresh or as Compote.
Rarely impressed by Buffet Italian, though A.Y.C.E.’s stone oven and Chef maneuvering items with a peel certainly adds a bit of authenticity, it was with a bit of surprise that Stromboli offered gooey Mozzarella plus two types of Meat inside a respectable Crust even though the Cheese Pizza slice was a bit undercooked and flaccid, the Breakfast Meats and Potatoes from nearby par for a Buffet while the springy Quiche, fluffy Buttermilk Biscuit and Chili Pie beneath a Cornbread Crust were all quite good.
At this point witnessing a substantial changeover, nearly 2/3 of the Breakfast items slowly phased out for Lunch, it was on the advice of a friend that Salt & Pepper Wings as well as Spring Rolls from World Pan were investigated and found to be as good as what one might find at any place on Spring Mountain Road, the Babaganoush accompanying warm Pita a very good rendition though Hummus was fairly flavorless while Mexican Street Corn was cleverly presented though hit and miss, the regular Cheetos version featuring mushy Kernels while the Flaming Hot version was better, though both would likely be better with fresh Cobs during the proper season.
Mixing stations a bit to try a few additional savories, the bounty of items far too large for a comprehensive tasting in one visit, fans of sweeter Barbeque should not miss Pulled Pork that was visibly being roasted behind the hearth while those who like a bit more smoke will likely be impressed by Al Pastor presented alongside Condiments for making Tacos, the Macaroni and Cheese unfortunately compromised by Noodles that had not been cooked thoroughly enough with those Carbs set aside in favor of moist, dense Cornbread.
Missing out on Breakfast Pastries due to the transition to Lunch, though that certainly does not mean A.Y.C.E. is lacking for sweets, it was budgeting capacity that plate six featured a Scone, Cinnamon Roll and scoop of Bread Pudding made from those Rolls that is better than any Bread Pudding tasted in Las Vegas in quite some time, the Apple Cobbler also faring well beneath a swirl of Soft Serve while the build-your-own Ice Cream Sandwich station is at least as good as Sweet Addictions or CREAM with better quality Ice Cream – or in this case Gelato – than both.
Rounding out the morning with a few more small Desserts, the S’mores Coupe too sugary for even the most overgrown sweet tooth, those looking for something a bit more nuanced would do well to investigate the Rice Pudding Parfait, Tiramisu or Chocolate Mousse Cake, though in terms of unexpected “wow” factor it is tough to top the Oreo Coupe that manages to replicate America’s favorite Cookie in flavor without weighing more than half an ounce.
FOUR STARS: Priced at about 50% of Bacchanal or Wicked Spoon but offering a great variety of well-prepared Food it will require a second visit for Dinner to determine A.Y.C.E.’s overall place in the hierarchy of Las Vegas Buffets, but so far The Palms is two-for-two on their rebrands and whether one wants to go all-in or focus on healthy options the new Buffet fills its everything-to-everyone role better than most.
RECOMMENDED: Mini Waffle with Bananas Foster, Cheese Blintzes, Chili Pie, Salt & Pepper Wings, Babaganoush, Cornbread, Pork Al Pastor, Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding, Caramel Gelato, Oreo Coupe.
AVOID: Macaroni and Cheese, Cheese Pizza, French Toast, Pork Potstickers, S’mores Coupe.
TIP: Boarding Pass Members should keep their eyes on the mail for BOGO Buffet Coupons.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.