Get in Line to Dine

Buffet central

Serving buffets also are strategies that casinos, cruise ships, and sports arenas undertake in order to compete with one another. When these venues exist in tourist markets like ours, spillover naturally occurs in the area's independent restaurants. Hence places like David's Café II on Lincoln Road, which has been serving a popular Cuban lunch buffet; and Indigo, the Hotel Inter-Continental's signature eatery, where guests can choose a lunch or dinner buffet as opposed to ordering off the global à la carte menu. Tourists have the option of quick no-fuss lunching or dining, which allows them to maximize sightseeing and shopping time on Lincoln Road and at Bayside respectively.

Then, too, buffets that steam-table the same dishes every day almost seem to run themselves. Clearly Salsa has been left to do just that. When I called to speak to the owner or the manager, I was told that everybody in charge was "out of the country and on vacation."

And, of course, now that we have the base, I'm hoping for some innovation when it comes to buffets. I look to Joe's Be-Bop Café in Chicago for illustration: The barbecue joint sets up a bloody mary buffet table where clients can custom-make their own drinks from the 140 mixes, condiments, and garnishes. No one in Miami gets up early enough for bloody marys, but I doubt anyone here would be opposed to a midnight buffet of martinis.

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