A few weeks before our Las Vegas adventure, MJ suggested that I look into Sunday brunch options as a way to cap off the last day of our trip. The research took a little longer than usual because I simply refused to believe the findings: the best Sunday brunch in Las Vegas was supposedly at Bally's. Not the Bellagio or the Wynn or the Venetian, but a place so old it was the original MGM Grand. Surely they couldn't be serious, but as the consensus favorite from nearly every source - from blogs to travel mags to newspapers - I was eventually convinced that the Sterling Brunch at Bally's was the place to be on Sunday morning.
What finally persuaded me? It was fully booked three weeks in advance.
With no availability showing on Open Table, and a complete lack of contact info for the restaurant on the Bally's website, I did what any travel blogger would do - I took to Twitter. A tweet sent to Bally's begging and pleading for a reservation was replied to minutes later with the direct line for the restaurant. I was impressed by the swift response, and even more impressed by the answer from the hostess...
"I have a 9:50am and a 1pm."
We were delighted to score a table, but the disbelief was still hard to ignore. A buffet...at Bally's...fully booked...three weeks in advance. This I had to see.
The welcome to the Sterling Brunch - which is hosted in the Bally's Steakhouse - is decidedly old school Las Vegas. From the striped wall paper, to the black and white photos of Golden Age personalities, to the host of servers clad in red coats popping champagne corks by the dozen, at any moment you half expected Frank and Sammy to ask for a table.
About two sips into my first glass of champagne the flute was refilled and I set off to survey the feast. Rounding the corner to the separate room where the buffet is located, it was as if someone had pulled back a curtain to reveal Kate Upton holding one of those oversized checks for $5 million. In a town built on the dream of getting lucky, this was most definitely a jackpot...
Until now, only in my dreams did such a room actually exist. Where a seafood raw bar, fresh carved beef tenderloin, made to order omelettes and waffles, lobster tails with drawn butter, and a dessert bar that released all of the serotonin in my brain on sight, all could be found within this single, magical room. I didn't know where to begin, but caviar and smoked salmon seemed like as good a place as any.
What follows is trips two and three to the buffet. I'd love to add some sort of commentary, but sadly I suffered from coma-like symptoms during this period.
Between the copious amounts of seafood and champagne - MJ and I resolved to get our money's worth by polishing the two bottles at our table - by this point in the proceedings I was moving slow. The brain was telling me to go back for a chocolate chip waffle or a gluppy cheese omelette but alas the stomach decided it was best to move on to dessert.
As I sat back in the banquette enjoying a mimosa - look, I didn't realize they were an option until after all of the champagne, alright? - it was clear that the clientele at the Sterling Brunch was just as old school as the setting itself. Texas oilmen in stetsons and southern belles passed on the regular, most greeting all of the staff by name. The impression was that the Sterling Buffet, and perhaps Bally's in general, is still a draw for those that remember and like to revisit the Las Vegas of old.
So did the Sterling Brunch live up to the hype? Well, I have nothing else with which to compare it to know if it is truly the best Sunday brunch in Las Vegas. What I do know, however, is that it was worth every penny of the hefty price tag ($85 per person with a $5 Caesars Total Rewards discount), especially if you consider it was literally our only meal of the day.
Will I go back? Based on the food...absolutely. The word from our server, however, was that the Bally's Steakhouse, and thus the Sterling Brunch, would close for an extensive renovation in February. As much as I typically turn up my nose at old school hotels and restaurants, in this case that was half the charm of the Sterling Brunch. To lose that would be a real shame.
Enjoy Your Stay