Saturday, December 22, 2007

Road Trip: Las Vegas, Part 1a: Buffets!

Mystery Eater and I went to Vegas for a little post Finals/Mystery Eater's birthday celebration, while there we enjoyed foods from every culinary corner of the world. So for the next 4 posts we'll be taking a tour of what Las Vegas has to offer in its culinary delights.

Since we were staying at The Wynn, we decided the very first meal we'd have is the Wynn Buffet. So very first thing we did after checking in and dropping off our luggage was run downstairs to the slot machines. (ah you expected buffet right?)

You're probably curious ...
  1. Why we didn't run straight to the buffet
  2. Don't you hate slots charlie?
Your questions are well founded dear audience, but allow me to elaborate. Currently the Wynn has a promotion that if you play 50 points on your player's card you get two free buffets! (50 points = $150 in slots, $450 video poker). After about 20 minutes, Mystery Eater and I were able to get enough points on my card (split one account into two cards) for 2 free buffets as well as $30 in winnings between us!

When we arrived at the Buffet entrance we were greeted by this
A massive line of people waiting to get into the buffet. We looked at the line, stuck out our tongues and said "NA NA NA NA NA" to them and walked to the front of line.
Thank you tower suites card and the benefits you bestow on us.

After a 5 minute wait to get seated, we were promptly placed in the center of the dining area. The Buffet looks like Tim Burton's happy dreams, colorful and crazy.
The Buffet serving area is actually blinding white. Clean and shiny there's a sign above each station telling you what they have. The food ranges from Shellfish, Seafood, Japanese, Chinese, Pasta, Italian, America, Breads, Grilled, Salads, Desserts, Carving, and Soups. We tried to take pictures but the workers wouldn't let us =( So we just have pictures of our food.

The very first thing we saw was the Candied Apple display, the ONE picture we got in the buffet line.
They are constantly making fresh candied apples. They also have all kinds of "home made" ice cream: Vanilla, Chocolate, Coffee, peppermint, and Berries with a plethora of toppings! As well they have the always delicious Creme Brulee and other pastry delights.

The two neatest things there were the Pasta Station and the Noodle station.
The noodle station is Chinese noodle soup (Cantonese style) , egg noodle with chicken, duck, shittake mushrooms, Gai Lang, and some other toppings. The broth isn't extremely rich, but it was still tasty for a buffet noodle soup.
The pasta station was a mix of chicken, Italian sausage, onions, mushrooms, roasted peppers, onion, huge baked garlic cloves, and basil with bow tie pasta. You get either Alfredo, Pesto, or Marinara sauce. It smelled amazing , but i only ate a few bites. I realized I'm not a huge fan of Marinara sauce of any kind, haha. They also had some other Italian Pasta dishes, their Gnocci was particularly spectacular.

The Chinese section had Sweet and sour pork, deep fried shrimp dumplings, pan fried dumplings, bok choy, chow fun. Mystery Eater said the S&S pork was very good and i found the deep fried shrimp dumplings to be perfectly fried. *yummy*!
(Bok choy on the left, dumpling on the right).
Also on this plate is some food from the Carving station.
A whole Tom turkey as well as a nice standing Prime Rib roast. They have a few style of gravy, stuffing, and beef dripping!
Probably the best buffet Prime Rib I've had. It wasn't rough (aka sitting under the lamp forever) and it had a nice fat trimming. The turkey was good, especially since turkey has a tendency to dry out. The dark meat was moist and the gravy was saucy! (opposed to.. solid).

Also on the plate was the Sushi section. I got a spicy salmon handroll, that was stuffed very spicy salmon goodness. One of the few hand rolls I've had in any restaurant stuffed with fish.

Next up, American/Grill!
A mix of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, grilled lamb chops, grilled veal, grilled squash + eggplant, Lamb Oso Buco. The fried chicken was beautiful. A slightly sweet skin filled with buttermilk. Even sitting under a heatlamp it was good, if it was fresh I'd probably be drooling all over.
The grilled meats were all tender and flavorful. I was a huge fan of the grilled veal. I'm very appreciative of the effort put into making sure the meat is still tender even after sitting out in a hot lamp for however long.
As well there is a grilled seafood section. Herb-crusted salmon, mahi mahi, red snapper, and tuna abound! The fish did not flake easily and did not live up to the visions of yummy flaky chilean sea bass (a la Bellagio buffet). However, this is not a problem unique to the Wynn Buffet, but just grilled fish generally-- I think the problem is that it gets cooked too long and becomes tough, almost meaty. Then add in the fact that it's sitting under a heat lamp it only exacerbates the problem. The red snapper was good because its a naturally oily and flaky fish, but the mahi-mahi was extremely tough as well as the salmon.

Of course with every good buffet's seafood section, you need great raw items. Luckily the Wynn didn't disappoint in that.
First is the Ceviche.
A deliciously tart cacophony of Bay shrimp, lemon zest, cilantro, red onions, and wild greens mixed together in a small cup. I personally found it very appealing, it would have been nice if the shrimp were bigger than my pinky nail but what can you do. My cuisine companion found it overly lemon-y though, so those who are not a fan of lemon may want to avoid the ceviche! There were other types of ceviche as well, so those more adventurous are welcome to try to the octopus!

And second is the most important part of any $20+ buffet: the crab legs. (Which the Morongo Casino buffet (Palm Springs) doesn't have. $26 dollars for over-cooked prime rib, mushy raw shrimp with skin still attached, and NO crab legs!).

Ah Alaskan King Crab legs. Easily one of the most delicious things in the world when not frozen for extended periods of time. These... were decent. It came with a large dispenser of warm butter, which was so buttery that even I said "that's too much".

I'd say definitely give it a shot, use the slot play free buffets!

Wynn Las Vegas
3131 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109


Anonymous said...

Yeah, they wouldn't let me take photos of the line either when I went last year, but gosh the food was excellent, wasn't it?

Merry Christmas! -Cathy

Anonymous said...

Clayfu- How would you say the Alaskan crab legs compared to those at other buffets, like the Bellagio?

Charlie Fu said...

cathy: Greetings from Rome! The crab legs are about the same. The line is considerably shorter for crab legs tho at the Wynn.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, this is Sherwin. Play slots to get free buffets. Your sneakiness holds no bounds.. I am proud. said...

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