The Buffet At Wynn
"Luxurious, delightful, decadent." Three words to describe the Wynn buffet.
Las Vegas is a land of excess, but anyone can experience the lifestyle of (and eat like) a king here. Due to the economics of a city run on the proceeds of gambling, Las Vegas is a unique place. On a moderate budget (say, $200 per night), you can experience a level of luxury here that's almost unimaginable anywhere else.
Before you even make it inside the Wynn hotel, it's obvious that you've arrived at a place (which I'll write about later) unlike any in your hometown. The visuals throughout the property are stunning yet refined, and waiting in line for the buffet, you look around to see lots of white wooden slat surfaces with decorations of ornate lights and tropical fruits and flowers.
Upon the hostess sitting you at your marble table, you notice the high end cutlery & pinstriped grey cloth napkins, and you see the heavyweight drinking glasses on the other tables. You know the ones I'm talking about : when buying glasses or a set of silverware, there are the cheap ones that are light in weight and there are the ones that cost twice as much and have a different feel to them. At the Wynn buffet, the cutlery is heavy and the glasses have thick bottoms. Making sure every aspect of your experience is top notch is what really sets the Wynn apart.
Along with the buffet staples of prime rib and a Caesar salad, you'll find gourmet takes on comfort food such as "Waffle-Batter-Breaded Fried Chicken with Chili Maple Syrup" and deep fried turkey breast.
You can usually tell the quality of a buffet by the shrimp and the crab legs. The lowest quality buffets have neither, the next up have small peel-yourself shrimp but no crab legs, the third level have both in skimpy quantities, and it goes on up from there. At The Buffet at Wynn, not only are the shrimp large, pre-shelled, deveined and plentiful : the crab legs are also pre-split and abundant. Pre-split crab legs are the top of the line, and that same attention to detail that subtly served you with heavy silverware and more expensive drinking glasses is evident in the food, too.
For my first course, I got a chicken tamale, a mini pork sandwich (complete with coleslaw and baby pickle skewer), a slice of cheese pizza, and a roll with chile peppers and cheese.
The pork sandwich was excellent with its combination of the peppercorn crust and the sweet, crunchiness of the coleslaw. The pizza was as high end as you'll likely ever find. I simply got "cheese," but they also had more exotic flavors like ham & cracked egg. The roll was good but nothing outstanding, and the chicken tamale was of high quality but almost too bland for my tastes.
For my second course, I went for the seafood. A line of about seven people was waiting for the shellfish area, so I loaded up my plate. Shrimp, sushi, and crab legs. The cocktail sauce had just enough bite with the horseradish to really give it a kick, and the shrimp were succulent and tasteful. Knowing that I could have as many as I wanted, I was tempted to get even more than I got, but so many other excellent food choices were waiting as well. The crab was easily accessed and consisted almost entirely of legs. (Lower end buffets tend to have lots of crab claws as they're cheaper.) Everything was excellent.
I was full, but at around $40 per person (and wanting to be thorough for Fuzzy Navels), I went back for a third course. This time I picked up everything from steamed pork & duck buns and Thai basil fried rice to that deep fried turkey breast and waffle batter breaded fried chicken I mentioned before. The fried rice was amazing. The basil gave it a bit of an exotic flavor while it kept close enough to the familiarity of typical fried rice that it wasn't too exotic. The waffle-batter'd fried chicken was delicious and savory all at the same time. It tasted just like eating a maple syrup covered waffle with a bit of fried chicken on top. I'd never had fried turkey before either, so it was interesting that the change in the cooking process actually changed the flavor. I'd always just dismissed it as a Southern fad.
The jalapeno spoon bread and the pineapple topped fish (whose type I can't remember) were also excellent. The only complaint for this plate was that the buns were quite lacking in meat. One simply had a piece of duck skin and duck fat inside. I sat it aside. The other had a sliver of meat. I took a couple of bites and sat it aside, too. Yet in a buffet of so many wonderful options, I can't complain.
About to pop but wanting to make it to the "finish line," I went to the dessert area. At least four dessert chefs were inside ; one was working on topping the creme brulee, another was making crepes-to-order, and another was scooping ice cream. I grabbed a full size plate from the hot foods area then saw a sign explaining the custom ice cream sandwiches. I chose Tahitian Vanilla Bean ice cream placed between two cinnamon sugar cookies and rolled in toasted coconut. Yum!
I also picked up a sort of wet apple cake, a creme brulee triangle, a candy apple and two mini cupcakes. I was afraid that the apple cake would be hard and tasteless. Instead, it was surprisingly moist and delicious, with the chunks of cooked apple having a nice "crunch" in the middle of what almost seemed like a bread pudding. The creme brulee (a sort of custard concoction with a caramelized topping it's the dessert they make with the blow torch) was of a superb caliber. It was easily the most sinful thing on the menu (creme brulee translates as "burnt cream"), but I couldn't stop eating it. The crisp caramelized layer combined with the slightly less than room temperature custard is an amazing combination, and when done right and high end, like at The Buffet at Wynn, it's breathtaking.
The candied apple was a nice whimsical touch, though I must admit that I only ate part of it and got sticky in the process. The mini cupcakes were a bit dry, but again, with so much excellent food, I had no problem simply eating the other items.
The drinks were refilled consistently and the waiter was attentive without being overbearing. It was an incredible meal, and with a bit of time to let my waistline recover, I'm sure I'll be back.
Literally aching from having stuffed ourselves, we headed towards the exit and back into the plush, red dominated casino before heading on to our show over at The Quad.
Be sure to check out The Buffet at Wynn when you get a chance.
The Buffet at Wynn
On The Las Vegas Strip
8AM to 10PM Daily
Closed From 3PM to 3:30PM