Wicked Good

Cosmo’s buffet has it going on, and on …


Photo by Anthony MairAssorted truffle lollipops.


Photo by Anthony MairThe roast lamb.

Buffets aren’t my thing. So when I fairly rave about the Wicked Spoon, imagine how much you’ll enjoy it. I’ve had breakfast, lunch and dinner in this vast space, and haven’t had to wait in line once. Ironically, this is the only Strip buffet I’d line up for.

It took me a few visits to figure out to park near the west elevators. Most Cosmopolitan restaurants are on the third floor’s P3 Commons, reached by the east elevators. But the Wicked Spoon is hidden away in a corner of the second floor, far away from most public spaces in the casino.

The entrance is framed by a glowing black and tan sign. Local architect Brad Friedmutter uses floor-to-ceiling glass panels, oddball hanging sculptures doubling as light fixtures and muted colors in his design. Semi-private dining is available in smaller rooms, on request.

But it’s the quality and diversity of the food that makes it all memorable. Chef Bradley Manchester and his team have worked overtime to give their spread unique touches. The most distinctive aspects are the stainless-steel saucepans and cast-iron Staub cooking vessels used to dish up food, a welcome change from the steam table.

Breakfasts are sumptuous, with not-to-miss fare such as pulled-pork eggs Benedict, Guinness pancakes, chunky pastrami hash, homemade pecan sticky buns practically drowned in butter and sugar, and walnut cinnamon French toast with jugs of real maple syrup. Quite simply, it’s the best French toast in Las Vegas.

The lunch and dinner buffets are so diverse, only a brief overview is possible. It’s normal to start at a huge salad section stocked with such larder as assorted salumi, smoked salmon, an imaginative Korean beef salad and a terrific BLT salad amply studded with bacon. There is a gorgeous selection of boutique California cheeses. Miso shrimp with cucumber, avocado and scallions is a dish you’ll want again and again.

But I head directly to the carving station, where whole legs of lamb, amazingly flavorful chorizo-stuffed salmon, beef ribs on the bone and roasted bone marrow offer a departure from the usual carving station suspects at dinner. (At lunch, go for the steamship round of pork.)

Then, I hit the Asian section, mostly to stock up on the Korean-style kalbi short ribs, redolent of garlic, sesame oil and rice wine, and equal to those served at any Korean restaurant around. On my last visit, the sushi men were rolling nori around pieces of softshell crab, and a dim sum chef was stocking a tray with lo mai fan, rice dumplings in a lotus leaf, stuffed with chicken and sausage. Both turned out to be great.

At lunch, the far side of the buffet has Mexican fare such as pork tostadas, and a chef carving gyro meat from a doner, a rotisserie that spins. During dinner, the section is home to dishes such as a perfectly blackened haddock filet, sauced with the richest crawfish Hollandaise this side of the Big Easy, and served in double-handled cast-iron pans.

I ignored the Italian stuff. Go ahead and fill up on pizza and pasta if you like; I’d rather save room for homemade gelati such as hazelnut or pistachio, all made in-house, or any of the fantastic sweets—blueberry marshmallows, mango mousse and homemade fudge being just three—in the buffet’s enormous dessert island.

Shhh! Don’t tell too many friends. I don’t like to wait in line, actually.

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