When it comes to culinary clichés, the Mother's Day brunch may top them all.
You know the drill: Take mom to a fancy-schmancy hotel, where there's the usual spread of carving and make-your-own omelet stations and steam-table fare.
But there are a number of eateries that go beyond the cliché -- sometimes by virtue of the food (call it Buffet 2.0), sometimes by virtue of the setting. We've scouted restaurants from coast to coast to find such examples.
Remember, reservations are usually essential at these or most other establishments, since Mother's Day is one of the busiest dining days of the year.
For the Hungry Mom
By most measures, Bally's Las Vegas not only serves the most lavish Sunday brunch in this buffet-crazed town, but also one of the most lavish in the world.
Mother's Day is no exception.
Just about everything you could imagine is featured at what the resort and casino calls its "Sterling Brunch": meats, cheeses, breakfast items, a sushi bar, seafood on ice, desserts (including cherries jubilee) and even caviar and broiled lobster, all accompanied by endless champagne.
3645 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, Nev.
For the Mom Who Can't Make Up Her Mind
New York's renowned Waldorf-Astoria gives mothers a choice of two dining experiences.
For those who prefer the a la carte route, there's brunch at Oscar's Brasserie, the hotel's contemporary American eatery, featuring such menu items as crab cakes with tarragon vinaigrette and orange-pecan waffles.
For those who prefer an all-you-can-eat spread, there's a buffet at Peacock Alley with 16 specialized stations and 150 menu items, including five types of oysters.
Cost: $18 to $25 per entrée at Oscar's Brasserie; $120 for adults and $45 for children for the buffet at Peacock Alley.
301 Park Avenue, New York, N.Y.
For the All-American Mom
The American Village is Alabama's answer to Williamsburg, an "education campus," located south of Birmingham, that provides a living lesson in our country's past and that includes such attractions as a barn, colonial chapel and replica of the Liberty Bell.
On Mother's Day, it's offering what it bills as a "colonial groaning board" -- that is, a feast to end all feasts. The buffet menu, replete with carving and fruit and salad stations, sounds fairly typical -- save maybe for the roast pork loin with Dijon chardonnay sauce -- but the patriotic spirit of the setting can't be denied.
Cost: $32.50 for adults, $13.50 for children (ages 7-12).
3727 Highway 119, Montevallo, Ala.
(205) 665-3535 ext. 55
For the Mom Who Can Never Have Too Many Dumplings
Dim sum is the Chinese answer to brunch -- a spread of dumplings and other small bites, typically served in bamboo baskets.
At Gigi's Asian Bistro in Houston, they're bringing a mom's day twist to the concept, with what they call "Dim Sum for Mum." Loose translation: lots and lots of dumplings -- garlic chive and shrimp, chicken and ginger, sweet rice and Shanghai pork are among the many varieties being offered.
And if mom gets thirsty? There's a "bottomless sparking sake" special.
Cost: Price is per item (dumplings are $6 to $12).
5085 Westheimer, Houston, Texas
For the Mom Who Wants More Than a Meal
The James Hotel in Chicago ups the Mother's Day ante with a full day (and evening) itinerary.
A meal -- brunch at the hotel's eclectic restaurant, David Burke's Primehouse (we'd love to try the smoked pastrami salmon pancakes) -- is included, but so is a Chicago boat tour, a facial and hot-stone massage at the hotel's spa and one night's accommodations.
Oh, and Mom also gets flowers upon check-in.
Cost: $699 per night for two.
55 East Ontario, Chicago, Ill.
For the Fish-Loving Mom (Part One)
No, we're not talking about grilled salmon and fried shrimp. Rather, we're talking about taking in all the sea creatures at Atlanta's Georgia Aquarium, an 8-million-gallon wonder that bills itself as the world's largest attraction of its kind.
On Mother's Day, the aquarium adds a meal to the mix -- an "Around the World" buffet, prepared by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck's catering arm, with "offerings from renowned culinary destinations including Italy, Napa Valley, New Orleans, Alaska and local farms."
The menu is indeed quite sophisticated -- heirloom tomato salad, anyone? -- but it includes a few more familiar breakfast items.
And, yes, seafood items such as iced shellfish and smoked salmon are available.
Cost (including aquarium admission): $77.50 for adults, $44.25 for children (ages 3-12)
225 Baker St., Atlanta, Ga.
For the Fish-Loving Mom (Part Two)
OK, in this instance we're truly talking the eating kind.
But what makes the seafood (and sushi) so special at Uchi, an acclaimed Austin Japanese restaurant, is that much of it comes direct from Japan's Tsukiji market.
For Mother's Day, the eatery has a 10-course omakase (chef's preference) menu on tap.
Cost: $75 to $100.
801 S. Lamar, Austin, Texas
For the Mom Who Likes to Go for a Spin
At the New York
, mom can enjoy her brunch in circular motion -- the hotel's revolving, 47th-floor restaurant, aptly named The View, affords a panoramic view of the Big Apple.
The buffet typically features a mix of items, from a spicy Thai beef salad to a chocolate fountain; Mom also gets a souvenir photo.
Cost: $95 for adults, $39 for children (ages 6-12)
1535 Broadway, New York, N.Y.
For the Healthy-Minded Mom
We love the
chain, with 105 locations spread throughout the U.S., for many reasons -- its fresh and flavorful salads, its made-from-scratch soups and its yummy baked goods.
It's also one of the few buffets that puts an emphasis on healthy eating (just don't eat too many of the muffins!).
Now, we have a new reason to love it -- the California-based chain also offers a Mother's Day breakfast buffet, with such menu items as a zucchini egg frittata, Mediterranean sunrise pasta and homemade oatmeal.
Best of all: No reservations are required.
Cost: Varies by location, but is typically under $10.
Charles Passy is a Florida-based writer who covers food, travel, entertainment and consumer culture and products.