Excalibur makes much of their buffet being “all-new,” so you know it’s not like it was before the December 2014 renovation. Sadly, it’s not much better.
The new design looks pretty much like a cafeteria, which is fine at this price point. When you pay $24, you’re expecting a cafeteria. Awkwardly-designed sneeze guards make it difficult to get at anything in the back.
One thing they got right: the beverage station, with soda fountains and other drinks available so you can serve yourself. Most buffets leave you at the mercy of a server for your drinks, making you wait until he blesses you with his presence and takes your drink order, and then you wait again for the drink to arrive. Then you drink it, and it’s gone, and you have to wait all over again. But at Excalibur (and Luxor) you can get your own drinks. All buffets should do this.
The cocktail shrimp are unpeeled. There are crab legs only on weekends, when the price for dinner is three dollars higher; what you get is a pathetic little pile of chilled—but not pre-halved—crab legs, overcooked and not very fresh. Overcooked crab legs have softened shells, and when you break them open, the meat breaks right along with the shell, making it difficult to eat; and some of the flavor is cooked out. This is definitely not worth the extra money.
At the Latin station, the fried shrimp were good, though I’m not sure how it qualifies as Latin. There are tacos, but the flour tortillas were hard and clearly not fresh. Move over to the Italian section and you’ll find meatballs that taste just like Chef Boyardee, pizza that’s just like frozen, and a couple forgettable but harmless pasta dishes. The veal in spinach sauce looks like cutlets, but it’s secretly ground veal formed into shape and it’s pretty bad.
There are bland honey barbecue ribs, lumpy and bland mashed potatoes, and some “halibut fish” (in case you weren’t sure what kind of animal a halibut is) that tastes like it came from a gym locker.
Try the carving station and your reward is prime rib cooked medium to medium-well, a bit tough and chewy, but not terrible. You can make it edible with some gravy or horseradish sauce, or, preferably, both. But the Italian sausage is pretty good.
When dessert time comes, and you’re still hungry, you’ll discover a made-to-order crêpe station—a glimmer of hope. Sadly, the crêpes aren’t great. There’s also soft-serve ice cream, but the machine was set wrong or something: it was half-melted by the time I got it back to my table. Selection beyond that is not great.
At $24 on weeknights, $27 on the weekend (with the lame crab legs), the price is right, but the buffet doesn’t deliver. Walk through Luxor over to Mandalay Bay for a $30 buffet that’s much better.