The Good, the Bad (or Inconvenient) and the Ugly (Layout) at the Harvest Buffet
The Fresh Harvest Buffet at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City is a decent buffet so let’s start with the best things about it first. High quality ingredients are served very fresh. They offer prime rib roasted in small batches and freshly shucked oysters and clams. The mac & cheese is absolutely delicious as are the scalloped potatoes.
The plain and Old Bay peel and eat shrimp is some of the best I’ve had at a buffet, though a person sitting two feet from me, while I was declaring how I could come to the Harvest Buffet for just shrimp and gelato, got up from the table saying, “This shrimp is dry and tasteless.” I guess one person’s dry and tasteless is another’s meaty deliciousness. (On my most recent trip to the buffet, the shrimp was not as some would say, over cooked to meatiness, so I was disappointed.)
The dessert station, which includes crepes made to order, serves a pistachio gelato to die for and excellent oatmeal cookies. There are very few things that I’ve tasted that weren’t really good. (Their Caesar salad dressing could use improvement.)
Check Your Hard Rock Marketing Mailers
The price for the dinner buffet has been lowered two times, from $37.95 when it opened, down to $34.95 and then to the current $29.99, which is more reasonable. The buffet is good, but it’s still a buffet. The lunch price went from $19.99 to $16.99.
If you have the Rock Royalty tier level, you can pay for the buffet for yourself and one guest for $10 comp dollars per person. Many people get 2 free buffets (or entries into the Legends Lounge for Rock Royalty members) in their monthly mailer.
The Bad – Inconvenient Hours
They do not have teaspoons at the buffet, only tablespoons. For a time, when they first opened, they did not put any spoons in the place setting. They offer gelato and have served crème brûlée in dishes smaller than a tablespoon. The Harvest Buffet needs to procure some teaspoons.
The hours of the buffet are a bit inconvenient. There is an early lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., but no breakfast (even though they have some breakfast items at lunch, such as a smoked salmon and bagel station.) The buffet is open late (Dinner from 4-9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 4 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays) but is closed from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. This ensures a long line when it does open at 4 p.m. I think they could get more people through efficiently if they extended the lunch to 3 p.m. and opened for dinner at 4 p.m. Possibly the prep of the dinner food negates this option.
The Ugly – Terrible Design
The layout of the buffet stations is terribly designed and causes congestion and delays. When it’s crowded, there’s no way to get hot food back to the table. The dessert station and the Italian station have room to move about them from different directions, but everything else is along one long wall, which makes it seem like you have to line up at one end. You could start at the salad station at the other end, but then you run into the long line that is going from right to left. The buffet is in a big space. There’s no reason it couldn’t have been set up for traffic flow.
Anytime I have been to the Harvest Buffet when it was crowded, the buffet was under staffed—severely understaffed, as in servers running from table to table, dishes not being cleared, drinks not getting filled. There really is no excuse for this and it’s really annoying. It’s not fair to the wait staff, which rely on tips and it’s not their fault. Hire some people, now that you know when the busy times are.
Fresh Harvest Buffet
Located in: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City
Address: 1000 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Phone: +1 609-449-1000
Hours: Lunch Daily 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Dinner (Sun – Thu) 4:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Dinner (Fri – Sat) 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM