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Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan

December 23, 2013

Las Vegas has always been known for its buffets.  Back in the day, people loved these buffets because you could stuff yourself on just a couple of dollars.  These days, buffets are still popular in Las Vegas, but more so for their quality rather than their quantity.  Most of the buffets now are high-end affairs in fancy settings with one buffet trying to out class the next buffet.  On our past trips to Las Vegas, we’ve had the occasion to visit both the Buffet at the Wynn hotel as well as the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesar’s Palace.  During our most recent trip to Las Vegas, we decided we’d try a different, but very well-known, buffet and see how it compared to the others.

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Located at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, the Wicked Spoon is known for its size and sumptuousness of cuisine.  According to their website, the Wicked Spoon serves “well-crafted original selections for every appetite.  With its mix of top quality, familiar staples in addition to imaginative and seasonal dishes, this Las Vegas eatery will satisfy cravings and invite discovery.”  That description, along with its reputation, had me excited.  After all, this place is called the Wicked Spoon, right?  It sounds like a place to indulge in all of your cravings and stuff yourself to the gills.  From everything I had read, this place was supposed to blow you out of the water.  And this is Las Vegas where everything is over-the-top, so why not expect a buffet with the name Wicked Spoon to be just that much more extravagant?

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Much like any other buffet, the dining room is a large open area with a number of tables and booths.  Along the entire far wall is the buffet itself with various stations depending on the type of food being served.  The food is generally separated based on ethnic cuisine, so you’ve got your Italian station, Mexican station, BBQ station, seafood station, Asian food station, etc.  And let’s not forget the entire section dedicated solely to desserts!

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Perhaps it was our bad luck, but our timing for arriving at the Wicked Spoon was bad.  We arrived just before the buffet switched over from brunch to dinner.  So, while we got to enjoy a variety of breakfast and lunch items, the chefs were really starting to wind down their brunch service, so basically whatever was left from brunch was all that was put out.  As items ran out, they were put away and never replenished.  So the whole set up was a bit disorganized as you could tell that everyone was preparing to set up for dinner.  The first breakfast station contained pancakes, maple syrup and French toast.  However, these weren’t any old pancakes, they were Blue Moon beer pancakes.  I’d never heard of such a thing before, and when I realized they were Blue Moon beer and told my husband about it, he just had to give them a try.  He said they were pretty good and you could definitely taste the beer in the batter.

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Of course there was the obligatory salad station.  How can you have a buffet without having a salad station?  Here is a premade kale salad, tomato salad and Caesar salad.

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Much like the trend found at a lot of other buffets these days, there were a lot of individual-sized portions of many different items.  Basically prepared foods, salads in this case, that are served in small individual portions that you can just grab and sample.  The beauty of these small portions is that you don’t overload yourself on any one item and can enjoy a variety of items while you dine at the buffet.

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Moving on down the buffet line, there was the Italian station featuring a large pot of ravioli with smaller serving portions of Italian sausage over creamy polenta.

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How about child-friendly and adult-friendly pizza and grilled focaccia bread?  They had several wonderful varieties of pizza including a three cheese pizza and a bbq chicken pizza.

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If Italian isn’t to your liking, what about BBQ grill items?  The bbq featured several meat items I haven’t really seen at other buffets before.  One being grilled roasted chicken thighs and drumsticks.  It’s not that I’ve never seen chicken at a buffet before, I just haven’t seen it set it at the meat station for you to just grab with the other bbq and grilled meets.  And second, grilled sections of bone marrow.  I’ve seen bone marrow items at a buffet before, but never just laid out at the meat station for anyone to just grab.  And then there was Korean bbq ribs, which I just love.

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If you were looking for Spanish food, you could find traditional paella and sautéed peppers and onions.  It looked and smelled so good.

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The Asian section is always pretty popular.  I loved that the Wicked Spoon served portions of steamed white rice to guests in traditional Chinese to-go boxes.  Super cute and clever.  There was also sautéed baby bok choy, lo mein noodles and the ever-popular fried rice.

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Southern favorites such as chipotle creamed corn and fried chicken wings.  And I can attest to the spiciness of the creamed corn.  It had tremendous flavor but had a little bit of a kick to it at the end with the chipotle spice.052

Going back to some breakfast favorites, here’s something my husband really loved, smoked salmon, capers and all the fixings!  My husband can’t get enough of smoked salmon in all forms.

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And breakfast items at brunch can’t be complete without homemade breads and bagels with traditional condiments such as butter and cream cheese.  The thing about brunch is that it’s hard to decide sometimes between enjoying breakfast items or lunch items!

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060After stuffing yourself full of food, whether its breakfast or lunch, it’s time for dessert!  Everything looks so delectable and it’s so deceptive because the servings look so small you could just grab one of everything.  And I love the play on colors to really make everything appealing to the eye.

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Here’s something you see tend to see at the dessert station at a lot of buffets, bread pudding.  Doesn’t that look sweet and yummy?  But deceptively filling with all that bread!

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And here’s my absolutely favorite, chocolate covered strawberries!  They had chocolate covered strawberries with crushed nuts or crushed Oreos.  Ok, I admit, I had to try one, or maybe two, of each.  How can you not love chocolate covered strawberries?  They have to be one of the best dessert creations ever concocted!

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If chocolate covered strawberries aren’t your thing, you can go for more traditional desserts such as chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies and peanut butter cookies.  Or what about coconut macaroons?

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And of course, what’s a buffet without ice cream?  Well, actually in this case, it was gelato.  But who’s keeping track?  There was a freezer full of 18 different flavors of homemade gelato ranging from mint chocolate chip to chocolate to coffee to strawberry to raspberry.  Pretty much a flavor to satisfy all tastebuds.

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I decided to load my plate with chocolate covered strawberries (what else) and a couple of scoops of gelato – that’s coffee and chocolate chip, in case you were wondering.064

My husband went a different route and wanted to try a little bit of everything.  He took a mini cone, a couple of scoops of gelato including blood orange flavor, a cream puff, only one chocolate-covered strawberry (blasphemous!), a couple of mini cups of mousse and some coconut macaroons.  Hm, I like my plate better.

In the end, neither my husband nor I left the Wicked Spoon feeling hungry.  How could you leave a buffet and still be hungry?  But we did leave feeling like there was a something to be desired.  As I said perhaps some of it was our fault since we arrived at the Wicked Spoon so late in the day that the staff was looking more towards setting up for dinner rather than trying to refill brunch/lunch items as they ran out.  But, at the same time, I felt like the restaurant should have been conscious of the fact that there were paying guests who were there to enjoy brunch and that items should be refilled and counters should be left empty and desolate.  I think if it hadn’t been for the fact that when I went back to stations where I previously saw items I wanted only to discover that they had closed down, or that there weren’t disorganized/messy stations due to the fact that food wasn’t being refilled and cleaned up then I would have felt better about the Wicked Spoon.  This isn’t to say that the food I had wasn’t good, but it’s to say that I wasn’t overly impressed by the restaurant itself and it just didn’t live up to the hype that had been built up prior to our dining here.  My husband and I both agree that it’s one of those, “been there, done that” type of establishments.  But I don’t think we’ll choose to go back there again any time soon.

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