Spice Market Buffet
Hundreds upon hundreds, if not thousands, of dining options exist in Las Vegas, so when you're visiting for a limited time, you want to make sure you're getting the best bang for your buck. In the case of the Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood, you'd be better served by heading down the street to the Wynn.
For only a few more dollars, you can have food that's pleasantly presented and tastes fresh instead of the mess and blandness presented in this basement Planet Hollywood location.
Don't get me wrong. You won't eat at the Spice Market Buffet and think, "this is terrible." It's certainly in the top half of a Las Vegas buffet lineup, but in a city filled with high end buffets, it's no where near the best. Yet it costs almost the same as those much better ones : it just doesn't make sense to go there unless you're limited by an additional constraint (lack of time, meeting friends, etc.).
If you do go, however, you might find it odd that upon reaching the bottom of the entrance escalator, a photographer wants to take your picture. I certainly thought it was odd. Who commemorates their trip to a buffet? We simply declined and proceeded to the line for the cashier.
Upon paying and moving to a second line, we stood behind a dozen or so people until the host took the group at the front of the queue. Apparently, he wanted us all to follow, which is fairly common at buffets (having several groups follow and seating them as the train of people moves through the restaurant), but it wasn't communicated clearly to the group directly in front of us. Jamie had to explain it to them... when the, pardon the pun, train left without them.
After being shown our table, I headed first to the seafood section. All in all, it looked "ok" but disheveled. The crab legs were pre-split, but there was certainly nothing impressive about them. They were tiny, and the shrimp, too, were pre-shelled but tiny. Considering seafood used to be a strong point for the Planet Hollywood buffet a few years back, it was a considerable let down. — Perhaps most telling, I put just one crab leg on my plate : the collection looked that unappetizing.
In fact, perhaps most telling of the whole buffet is that I just got one of each thing except the shrimp. Normally when you go to a buffet, you tend to find something that just looks so great that you get at least a couple, but at the Spice Market Buffet, I didn't do that with anything other than cocktail shrimp (which are one of things that vary least in taste from place to place).
Bland fried fish, generic fried rice, a fried chicken breast that could best be described as "nothing special" : I just wasn't impressed.
The cheese biscuit and jalapeno corn muffin were a bit better, but I expected far better.
Hoping for something more exciting for round two, I passed the "Mid-Eastern" section, which I've yet to find at any other buffet and curiously note is called "Mid-Eastern" instead of "Middle Eastern." Is that some crazy modification for middle America to not realize they're eating food like "the terrorists" eat? — Yes, it's a longer name than the other sections, but conversely, it's shorter than "Spice Market Buffet" and you won't see "S.M. Buffet" written anywhere.
Anyway, for my second round, I got a cheese quesadilla, which I topped with chicken fajita fixings, chicken curry, poor pitiful slices from the end of a turkey breast, macaroni & cheese, and barbecue pork ribs along with a bowl of clam chowder and a glass of mashed potatoes.
Just like the first round, it was painfully bland. The cheese quesadilla was hard and dry. I took a few bites of it then moved on. The chicken curry, I don't even recall eating at all. The turkey breast was overcooked, and the pork ribs were, again, just "okay."
The best things in the second round all involved cream. The clam chowder was standard issue but rich, the macaroni had the right ratio of cheese and pasta, and I'd dare say the mashed potatoes were excellent.
In fact, after picking out five cupcakes from the dessert area, I ended up eating the remainder of the mashed potatoes as the true dessert. The cupcakes, while labeled with imaginative flavors, such as caramel apple and pumpkin, were incredibly dry and ultimately unappetizing. I pretty much took one bite out of each then sat it aside.
All in all, I had expected so much more, and if you find yourself stuck in Planet Hollywood for whatever reason, try something else. For around $30 for dinner, you could certainly do a lot better (and cheaper) at P.F. Chang's. It's just footsteps away and will likely be familiar since they have 200+ other locations. If you're wanting something new and Vegas-y, Gordon Ramsay's BurGR is just footsteps away as well. I had a "farm burger" there that was divine : it was expertly grilled and had duck breast bacon, cheddar cheese, and a fried egg on top.
At Planet Hollywood
On The Las Vegas Strip
7AM to 11PM Daily