The New Wave of All-You-Can-Eat Buffets in Las Vegas

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Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

Las Vegas buffets, much like the city itself, are polarizing. You either love them, or you hate them.

Kris Yenbamroong posing with the buffet. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

For Night + Market Chef Kris Yenbamroong, buffets are his vice of choice in Sin City. “To me it’s sort of an escapist thing,” he says. “I don’t gamble or do drugs or go to strip clubs, the one place that I could do something that seems irresponsible and decadent is going to a buffet.”

A new wave of buffets are sprouting up in Las Vegas, determined to overturn the stigma of soggy bacon and and rubbery pancakes. The Wicked Spoon at The Cosmopolitan, helmed by Chef de Cuisine Mark Crane, was the first to unveil à la minute eggs benedict, beef culotte’s carved to order and a staffed gelato station. Chafing dishes were replaced by induction heat and individual portions of squid ink pasta and mussels mariniere are served in pint-sized sauce pans that one might otherwise use as measuring cups. Aside from looking adorable (my favorite were the mini fry baskets of fried chicken), small portions mean less waste and quality control for the kitchen’s 80 line cooks.

Scenes from The Wicked Spoon: sushi, risotto, fried chicken, eggs benedict, wedge salads, beef culotte, chocolate covered strawberries, bone marrow, crab fried rice and Chinese boiled peanuts. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

In 2012, Caesar’s Palace invested $17 million in their Bacchanal buffet providing another chef-driven, all-you-can-eat option on the strip. Given the incessant arms race of glitz in Las Vegas, you can be sure that other properties will soon follow.

If you’re planning a trip to Vegas, here’s Bon Appetit’s run down of the city’s top buffets.

What do you think? Does this look like a heaven or a nightmare to you?


Here’s what our facebook community had to say about the buffet schism:

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