John Curtas is …

WICKED SPOON BUFFET

Happy Memorial Day!  On this sacred, patriotic day, ELV asks: What better way to honor our war dead, and celebrate the start of Summer than by overeating!

If such a caloric confabulation appeals to you before you step into your summer duds, check out the Wicked Spoon. It’s worth a look for several reasons: (Some) portions are controlled to help curb the aforementioned overeating problem; the selection may not be as vast as other feed lots in our humble burg, but your first bites tell you quality is being stressed over quantity; and finally, it is located in the always groovy Cosmo, where public art is always in full bloom:

The Old Man was speechless...overcome by art.

Picture 1 of 1

The problem is, of course, just like putting a Panama on an even-toed unglate, a buffet is a buffet is a buffet. And while the best of them may be far superior to the worst, they are still the most offensive way to eat on the planet. Unless, of course, you don’t mind looking like this, these, or one of these.

But if waste and overeating is your thing, knock yourself out. As justified as those objections are to the very idea of buffet eating, another one bears mentioning: All buffet food, no matter how carefully prepared, is but a facsimile of the same dishes made better at a restaurant specializing in that sort of food. You want pancakes? Go to Du-par’s or The Original Pancake House. An omelet? The Omelet House. Asian food? Any one of 64 restaurants up and down Spring Mountain Road. You want to settle for line cooks and low paid workers trying to duplicate food that tastes better elsewhere? Vegas is here to bury you in badness.

We will let buffets off the hook on one level. They serve a useful purpose for our many Asian tourists who have limited (or no) English skills. Buffets enable these individuals and groups to easily navigate our cuisine (and find something to like) without putting them through the awkwardness of dealing with menus and waitrons. And I guess the same holds true for large groups, families, and hordes of hungry young men. For these groups, ELV gives all buffets a “go in peace pass.” But not for anyone who wants to eat good food, prepared authentically, in a civilized fashion.

Back to the Wicked Spoon…our dining companion, Troy Polee (aka ‘Cuz), was shocked ELV didn’t know you paid for buffets before you started overfilling your plate and stuffing your pie hole. So he took pity on us and picked up the $47 tab for lunch, for two. (Not that cheap, you say? We know. Yet another objection we have to these food factories.)

How was the food? At least as compared to the competition? Since this was only our fourth buffet (Circus Circus (so bad even our eight-year old son wouldn’t eat it), Rio Seafood (good, four years ago) and Bellagio (passable)), we had little to no basis for comparison. The barbecue ribs weren’t bad….but they weren’t that good either. The tacos weren’t in the same league as Tacos Mexico, much less some of our better shops in town, and the curried cauliflower was but a poor imitations of the real thing. The ceviche was okay, and the sushi no better or worse than Trader Joe’s. Desserts were the highlight…but then again, they should be. The desserts at most hotels are usually the best things their kitchens turn out. Our buffet maven cousin — who claims to have eaten in almost all of them — pronounced in it the top 5, but not better than Wynn or Bellagio. Because of his 25+ years of experience in these things, we’ll stand by his opinion, and let those be the last words on the subject.

Here’s hoping the last also describes our future with eating like this.

As mentioned above, the lunch tab for two came to $47+$5 tip. Thanks ‘Cuz!

WICKED SPOON BUFFET

In The Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino

3708 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89109

702.698.7000

http://www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com/taste/restaurant-collection/wicked-spoon.aspx


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12 Responses to WICKED SPOON BUFFET

  • The second picture looks like it was taken in one of the WWII Japanese-American concentration camps. Can you check your source? It’s pretty tasteless on your part if it is,especially sandwiched between cattle and jailed prisoners.

  • This is an incredible buffet! We love d the selection and everything was so fresh. We were in town for a wedding catered by celebrity chef Michael Parise, he owns Parise Catering, a Las Vegas catering company which is superb BTW. While we were in town we decided to go buffet hopping and we came across the Wicked Spoon at the cosmopolitan. Love the small bites and freshness of this cutting edge buffet. When in Vegas you must go to the website and check them out.http://www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com/taste/restaurant-collection/wicked-spoon.aspx and if you ever need catering in Las Vegas Call Chef Parise or visit the website http://parisecatering.com

  • No worries Cuz! Thanks for lunch on Saturday. Pana and the Wify had a blast seeing everyone…and we beat the bad weather today held for us.

  • Funny, this might be the rare occasion when we blog on the same place at (almost) the same time… Here’s my take: http://ecgladstone.com/2011/05/wicked-spoon-is-pretty-forkin-good/

    Now I guess I’ll have to weigh in on wakame sake…

  • I would say Mr. Gladstone’s review of Wicked Spoon is a far better review REVIEW-wise than yours, John. He actually goes into detail about a large number of food items, while your review spends more time pooh-pooh’ing the concept of buffets. True, your typical reader probably shares your view.

    However, as Gladstone points out, buffets wouldn’t continue to be built if they weren’t popular. They are an important and unavoidable part of the food landscape in this town. As such, you do a disservice to both reader and establishment by not concentrating on the food and service you received. Your review just seems like you were pishposhing the whole time you were there and ate the bare minimum required so you could quickly remove yourself from the forsaken place.

    I would argue that GOOD Vegas buffets are not simply “offensive” places to go for “waste and overeating.” I’ve taken visiting guests to Wicked Spoon, in particular, because the overall quality of food is very high, it has a nice casual setting, and there is guaranteed to be something for every eater.

    As well, a well-executed buffet with creative dishes like Wicked Spoon (or Bellagio or Wynn) gives people the chance to try multiple new things, thus widening their food interests. A risk-free expansion of horizons. I’d think you would encourage that.

    So which is the case… Did your preconceived anti-buffet notions prevent you from giving the place a fair shake? Or, was it the lack of a chef who would recognize the presence of John Curtas and, thus, give preferential service? ;)

  • I think fat Flanagan or is it pat has lost her mind. F buffets, theyre gross, theyre concept of speciality and unique dishes that represent both modern and world culture is so half assed done with subpar ingredients like canned this and that, all that cheap brined out Russian crab and hormone fed shitty pseudo prime rib. Buffets are for the fatties and the people to timid, insecure and cheap to explore the real restaurant experience.
    And to those same budget people with champagne wishes and caviar dreams – paddle fish roe is just that, boxters aren’t 911 and white zinfindale isn’t wine.

  • Tacos Mexico?!? What a great place! I remember the time I grabbed a couple chorizo tacos at the location by the Strat. The tiny tortillas. The spiciness of the meat. The grease dripping down onto the foil wrapper. Mmmmmmmm…. That was good eats!

  • Just for the record, since Mr. or Ms. Funny mentions it…

    1) I’m a he, not a her

    2) I’m 6′ tall and a rather fit 188 lbs. as of this morning, weighed before the three S’s.

  • @Pat – it must have been the androgynous name play. But you sure sound quite buff.

  • Thanks, Roger, but that’s stretching it a bit. Maybe put me next to Curtas and yes, I’d be consider buff. But that wouldn’t be a fair comparison, as I own no white suits.

  • I have eaten at my fair share of buffets in Vegas and elsewhere. My main complaint is the perception if value. If you compare what you would pay in a decent restaurant for well prepared food, to what you pay at a buffet for steam table food that sits for god knows how long, there is no legitimate comparison. Breakfast/brunch buffets are the worst (nothing good can come from Eggs Benes that have been sitting for 10 minutes. And what us that spray they use at the omellette station?)

    Next time you are at a buffet compare the cost to what you would have paid for a proper meal. Quality > Quantity.

  • the worst buffet. good eye candy but when tasted… disgusting. the heirloom tomato salad texture was mushy. the pastas are covered with cheese but no taste. sushi is bad. the only saving grace for me is the dashi broth. waste of money!!!!

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