The Rampart casino is much smaller than it appears on the outside, and the bulk of the property is a hotel. Nevertheless, after signing up for the player's club I was given a 50% voucher for their buffet, The Rampart Buffet, and happily redeemed it. There was no line and the service people were helpful. One came from behind the counter to greet me, and to direct me to the proper area to pay. (There are two registers on opposite sides of the entrance, and whom to pay is mildly confusing.) The typical cost for a meal during the week is $16.99. Does the buffet justify the cost? Not in my opinion, and here is why.
The first area one notices when walking in is the salad bar and what a sorry sight it was upon my eyes. They attempt a type of optical trickery in how their selection is presented in that they use these gigantic bowls full of salad dressing that take up a 70% of one side of the bar. The reason for this is they are attempting to fill space. If they used a properly sized bowl, the salad bar would be revealed for what it actually is; paltry. There were three salads offered. Tuna salad, which appeared disgusting and flaky. I am leary to try tuna that has sat in an open bowl for who knows how long. The buffet was not busy and therefore could have sat for quite some time. The next selection, macaroni salad, was embarrassing and of low quality. The elbow macaroni appeared to be the type one could acquire at any dollar store. There was also a cold squash salad, which didn't delight my taste buds. Also available was a variety of jello, and some diced fruit.
The Asian food was mildly passable as a whole, but only because the general tso's chicken was delicious. However it was labeled 'sweet and sour chicken.' There was nothing sweet or sour about it, and the dish was in actuality simple fried chicken nuggets one would find in the deli-case at Walmart. I chalk this up to a mislabel. The rest of the offering was disappointing, however. The BBQ pork was not tender, and served in slices still containing a slice of fat. How difficult would it be to slice this layer off? Spring rolls of the typical variety were there. Mushy, and flavorless. Nearly every casino buffet I have visited offers these same disgusting items, so it cannot be held against Rampart alone. The pot stickers were crispy. To top off this station they had a fruit offering which was simply fruit cocktail out of a can. I was surprised to see this, and took special attention to confirm what my eyes were seeing. Who puts canned fruit on a $16.99 buffet? The Rampart Buffet; and it was a telltale sign of things to come!
The American food, or the meat station, whichever you prefer, was sparsely dotted with items. On the left side was the typical macaroni and cheese, and mashed potatoes and gravy. Also available was another section of sliced pork, again with a large strip of fat. Why would the buffet offer two of the same items at different sections? Because the meat used is cheap, that is why. That was all that was available, leaving me wishing there were others for me to select from that I would not try based on their unappetizing appearance. The individual in charge of cutting the meat was too chatty for my liking as well. There were two instances where they stood and talked to customers for several minutes, holding up the line. Who would I be to step up and interrupt such a friendly exchange? I do not enjoy putting myself in such scenarios and therefore avoided the meat section entirely. I've paid to be served. I did not pay to try to pry the worker's attention away from a customer who did not need to be served. A lesson to be learned is those who are poor in service will let those who appreciate excellent service know that they are not the individuals to visit. This entire section was a failure and I'd hope the casino staff finds a more pleasing person to serve customers. On the buffet was prime rib, and turkey breast. I'd of tried both had I not had the unpleasant choice of hampering a worker, on the clock, from carrying on a completely unrelated work conversation. This entire predicament left a foul taste in my mouth, and I disapprove 100% of the tact the worker used. For the price of the buffet there should have been a manager keeping the line moving, and keeping the staff on task.
The Italian food section regularly pushed out fresh pizzas of three varieties. Cheese, meat lovers, and a Greek pizza with olives, mixed peppers, and feta cheese. This pizza was surprisingly delicious, although carb heavy. That is the extent of my praise for this area. Also available was spaghetti that was dry and stuck together, and a thin pasta sauce. Certainly not homemade. It reminded me of the consistency one might find at a high school cafeteria. Manufactured meatballs and sausage were available. They appeared edible, but heartburn often follows such items and I was not in a sporting mood. To finish off the station was a warm squash medley. It was not different in ingredients than that of the cold salad, but the ratio of zucchini to summer squash was about 20 to 1.
To my disappointment, not a single drop of sushi was offered. Although given the quality of the buffet, I would have been lax to try any.
Desserts are a big theme here, and I ate so little from the dinner buffet that I decided to try to break even on the dessert. My effort was futile, and I do not believe I ate my money's worth here. However, do not let the beginning of my review taint this section. The desserts were impeccable and decadent. Tiramisu in a chocolate shell. Cookies and cream, in a dainty triangular container. Also were these lovely butter cookie tarts, stuffed with coconut. Those were the highlight of my meal until I tasted the raspberry sticks. The best way to describe these is the bottom half of a sugar cone, filled with raspberry cream, and then dipped in chocolate and covered with raspberry sprinkles. After eating that item last, I did not feel as taken advantage of. However one single half-cone does not a satisfying buffet experience make.
The wait staff was pleasant and prompt, and visited the table three times in 30 minutes. The drinks were refilled and excess plates taken away. The server certainly earned their $10 tip, which is the most I will leave at a buffet. Cost is not as important as value to me. I will happily pay for service and food if said items warrant such a cost. The Rampart Buffet did not. I was pleased to escape having only paid half price, as the dinner buffet wasn't even worth that cost. Overall I would not eat here again, nor would I recommend others to dine at this establishment. However if you find yourself at Rampart, you will be far from the strip. You may likely have a half-off coupon. Go ahead and use it and you will find that you agree with my assessment at the end of your meal. Happy dining.
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