A buffet typically doesn't scream "vegan-friendly." And a casino buffet? Well, I'd expect a bare looking salad bar and maybe a bowl of steamed white rice. But the new Buffet Americana at Gold Strike Casino in Tunica, a little casino cluster about 30 minutes south of Memphis, is vegan-friendly!
The folks at Gold Strike reached out to me to ask if I'd sample some of the vegan options on their buffet. Paul and I went last night to check it out, and the chef walked me through the buffet and pointed out every vegan option. Granted, there is a lot of meat (including whole lobsters, which made me sad). But if you find yourself getting peckish after a concert at the casino or a night of playing the slots, a vegan can find a good, solid meal at Buffet Americana.
For starters, the Salad Bar is pretty decent. It's not just ham cubes and shredded cheddar. The salad bar has actual vegetables — peas, beets, mushrooms, black olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, corn, waster chesnuts, chickpeas, romaine, mixed greens, and iceberg. I put a little of all of that onto my salad plate and topped it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (the Italian style vinaigrette is also vegan).
There's a Mongolian Grill at the buffet, and the chef there will gladly saute your veggies in oil instead of butter. Now, meat has also been cooked on this same grill, so if you're super strict, this may not be the thing for you. But they do clean the grill between cooking customers' entrees.
At the grill, you fill a bowl with veggies and noodles and then hand it to the chef. You pick a sauce, specify oil instead of butter, and he cooks your meal on a hot griddle. I went with carrots, onions, bell peppers, spinach, cabbage, and mushrooms. Those noodles were a fettucine-style noodle, which made me happy since traditional lo main isn't typically vegan. I picked ginger-hoisin for my sauce. After the dish was handed to me, I drizzled it with some sweet and sour sauce too.
There's also a Pasta Grill! This was, by far, the best part of the buffet. I love pasta, and so often, pasta served in Italian restaurants is made with fresh pasta, which contains eggs. But the chef assured me that they use dry pasta at Buffet Americana. And that means it's vegan. Here's the Pasta Grill lady! You pick the veggies, oils, pasta, sauce, and seasonings. She sautes your veggies, boils your pasta, and puts it all together at the end.
And here's what I picked — bow-tie pasta with marinara, garlic oil, white wine, fresh garlic, black olives, tomatoes, bell peppers, spinach, onions, and crushed red pepper.
I got this dish last, but I so wish I'd have gotten this first. It was my fave, but I was so full from the salad and the Mongolian grill meal that I couldn't finish this lovely plate of pasta. But I ate it until I felt like I would pop.
As to be expected, none of the desserts are vegan. But if the chef knows you're vegan, he'll make sure you get a lovely fruit plate after dinner. With Paul's help, I made a tiny dent in this big ole plate of fruit. I wanted to eat more, because I hate to waste.
Oh, I've forgotten about the most awesome thing about Buffet Americana — free wine and beer on the weekends!
And they have Memphis-made Ghost River Golden on tap!
Once you're thoroughly stuffed, you can head out to the casino floor for a little slot machine action. I'm not a big gambler because I'm cheap as hell. But that didn't stop me from feeding a few dollars (and losing them all) into this penny slot machine. I mean, how can any vegan resist the siren song of Kitty Glitter?!!!
Buffet Americana is located inside Gold Strike Casino, 1010 Casino Center Dr., Robinsonville, Mississippi.
Buffet Americana is open Monday-Thursday 7 a.m.- 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.-9:30 p.m.;
Friday 7 a.m.- 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.-12 a.m.; Saturday 8 a.m.-12 a.m. and
Sunday 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Breakfast is $10.99; Lunch is $13.99; Dinner is