Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Riviera World's Fare Buffet Dining Tips

When you are a savvy Las Vegas gambler like The Flusher, part of it all is doing things the Royal Flusher Way.

And part of the Royal Flusher Way, besides traveling with the scientifically proven minimum possible (but still biologically safe) number of pairs of underpants for the trip, is to enjoy what has to be Las Vegas' biggest draw - low end, inexpensive buffets which surf the fine line between potato and ptomaine.

I had been pondering various professional buffet techniques for my upcoming trip, and what should fall out of my research portfolio but a very handy reservation card from the somewhat decrepit yet classy Riviera Hotel and Casino. And on the back of said reservation card are what every buffetnomist needs - a ready to roll set of buffet tips. I hesitate to say 'rules' because for me, anything goes at the buffet, including my soon-to-be-patent-pending office chair 'rolling trough' technique for which you never need carry food to your table.

The Riviera, for me, is immortalized in a couple of ways. For one, it is the only hotel still open that was hit by Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra and those other possum pack guys in the original 1960 classic movie Ocean's Eleven. The line-up was the Sahara, the Sands, the Riviera, the Dunes, and the Flamingo. And they hit the buffets in every one of 'em. They even cut the line.

Secondly, the Riviera figures prominently in a more modern movie, Casino with Robert de Niro and Joe Pesci. There's a great scene by the Riviera pool and some other ones where they walk in the south doors. They are probably headed straight for the buffet.

So let's get down to business here and take a look at the savvy advice from the Riviera Reservation Card Production Team.

Side 1:

The World's Fare Buffet is a self serving restaurant. When you reach the top of the escalator:
Locate a table and place this reserved sign and receipt on the table.
Beverages are also self-serve for your convenience.
Thank you for dining with us.

Please do not remove any food or beverage from the buffet.

Let's break it down. Side 1 does indeed set the stage for a successful buffet - or should I say - self serving restaurant! I've known many people to be self serving, like that coy, mewling so-and-so Norbert at North American Veeblefetzer, where I pump out a steady stream of size 7 grommets faster than a rabbit pumps out raisinettes and goobers. But a self serving restaurant... is a first. Does it tell you how good it is as you leave?

Now, when you locate a table, can you just pick any table you like, or should you choose one that isn't occupied? I do like to meet people, so I will probably seek further clarification on this.

I love the 'convenience' of getting my own beverage. It's also convenient to get my own food. Wouldn't it be even more convenient to be able to place the various hot food selections into the self serving restaurant steam tables? Hell, for more convenience, why don't they let me go in the back and conveniently cook my own goddamned meal. I could even conveniently order the fucking ingredients from the convenient office that is no doubt conveniently placed behind the greasy walls of the World's Fare buffet.

Thank you for dining with us. When I read this, I feel like I've received an insincere thank you from the Riviera Reservation Card Production Team! I believe this is exactly what they intended.

Finally, the admonishment not to remove food or beverage from the buffet puzzles me. Because whatever I eat and drink is coming with me - unless I am required to sit quietly with a book and digest the stuff for 4-6 hours.

Side 2:

To better enhance your dining experience, we suggest the following:

1. Visit the beverage station first. Your server may assist you with your beverage, time permitting.

You know, today's self serve restaurant server is a busy animal, There is slop food to be removed from tables, tips to pick up, cigarettes to smoke, keno tickets to surreptitiously check. You should really know how to make what we called 'swamp water' as kids (which is a careful mixture of every type of beverage available), but its nice to know that if you get stumped, you have a pretty good shot at getting some professional beverage station assistance.

I know that on my next trip, I am going to enquire about beverage station assistance before I commit to dining at any particular buffet.

2. View all food selections and make your choice prior to plating your meal. This will help the food remain hot.

What a classic piece of advice. It is standard operating procedure to carefully survey the buffet top to bottom, front to back, before digging in. There is no sense in loading up a plate with six pounds of cream cheese only to stupidly find out on the way back to the table (where a family of 9 from Iowa awaits, because you carefully chose an already occupied table, because the rules didn't say not to) that there are BAGELS available. This has never happened to me at the Fremont buffet, or the Main St. Station buffet, last trip.

3. Select and enjoy your cold foods first. Make a second trip for your hot selection.

I suppose you should not mix hot and cold foods. I've heard that your teeth could shatter. To prevent this, I will load up with - sorry, plate - cold cuts, ham hocks, pigs feet, egg salad and ice cream before heading back for a luke-warm slice of bloody utility grade roast beef.

4. If you desire to make one trip, plate your cold items first, then your hot items.

The essence of a good set of buffet techniques is flexibility. Like, on a Saturday night, when I am hoping for some 'action', I could ply Mrs. Flusher with Champale, or I could switch it up and ply her with beer. Flexibility, that's the R.F.W.!

5. Stir hot items and dish up from the bottom of the container. This is where the selections are hottest.

I can't help but wonder, now that the World has read Royal Flusher's Savvy Buffet Techniques, how this will play out. Surely everyone will be stirring (for their convenience) the hot items. That means when I get there, the cold part of the 'selections' could very well have been just stirred to the bottom of the container by the previous savvy self serving restaurant patron. This is really troubling me and I think the way to go may be to conveniently make the food myself (see technique 2 above).

Also, I got in trouble once for stirring the pan of eggs benedict. Who knew they would combine into a runny yellow mass topped with lonely looking english muffin halves???

6. When you visit the carving station, do so prior to plating any hot selection.

So you can make a cold trip, then a hot trip as long as you hit the carving station first, or if you prefer one trip, you can plate some cold ham hocks first and 6 pounds of cream cheese, then get your hot items, off to one side, if there is room on your plate, and as long as you hit the utility beef station first, then plate your other hot items.

Got it.

Gratuities are greatly appreciated.

I'd rather wait and see if the beverage station server has time to assist me, if you don't mind.

I'll wrap up with a Royal Flusher Way Advanced Buffet Tip: Cargo pants have lots of pockets which can hold bananas, corn bread, and sausages. Zip-loc bags hold a lot of crab legs.

I'm just sayin'.

Post Script

The World's Fare Buffet is now closed. The Riviera offers 'The Riv' for a convenient self serving restaurant experience.

Post Post Script

The Riviera closes May 4, 2015. R.F.

1 comment: