Remember when you could eat at a Vegas buffet for a buck, and the food was bad? Those days are gone.
To wit: updated dishes at Wynn and Caesars Palace buffets that are setting a new standard for Las Vegas buffets.
After an extensive remodel, the Buffet at Wynn recently reopened with the addition of 120 new items to the already extensive menu.
The Wynn buffet, with a new noise-dampening sound system, features Guinness-braised short ribs, made-to-order Peking duck buns and South American barbecue prepared on a special grill.
There's also spaghetti and meatballs, made using Frank Sinatra's family recipe.
Dinner costs $42.99 Sunday through Thursday and $49.99 Friday and Saturday.
Caesars' Bacchanal is raising its already high bar by giving guests the opportunity to essentially "dine around" by trying food from some of the resort's other popular restaurants.
The chefs at Caesars also are doing some name dropping. Through Dec. 20, Bacchanal's Taste the Culinary Empire experience features dishes made popular elsewhere on the property.
The special offerings are available only at dinner and include:
Gordon Ramsay’s Yorkshire Ale battered fish and chips from Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill.
New York-style lobster mac-and-cheese from Old Homestead Steakhouse.
Chicken Scarpariello from Rao’s, cooked with a mix of hot and sweet peppers.
An assortment of chocolatier Francois Payard’s macarons from Payard Patisserie & Bistro.
The restaurant features more than 500 items; the meals costs $52.99 Monday through Thursday and $55.99 Friday and Sunday.
Such prices are a far cry from Vegas' legendary bargain-basement buffets, where "quantity was usually emphasized over quality" at the Strip's earliest buffets, according to UNLV's Center for Gaming Research.
The trend began at the long-gone El Rancho Vegas, which opened in 1941. Hoping to keep its 24/7 casino customers fed and watered, its Buckaroo Buffet cost $1.