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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

China Buffet- some hits, some misses but some tasty entrees and more

China Buffet on Urbanspoon The newly opened restaurant, China Buffet, doesn’t have a fancy name. I’ve seen this restaurant before and ducked into once but never ate as it did not look interesting. However when I saw the place boasted about having the largest buffet in the Kansas City area (a re-opening?), I thought I would check out whether this buffet lives up to its billing and how good the food was.

Entering the building, I could hear soft nice music. The serving area was smaller then I thought it would be. One area had the tables with the food but surely it did not look like the biggest buffet around. Maybe its a PR move and in a way it is. I looked at the menu and the big seafood part of the buffet (crab legs and more ) were for the night. Plus items are changed frequently so all the items are not there for lunch or dinner but these are still counted So the sum of the parts might equal the largest buffet. No matter tasting the food is the real public relations test.

There were quite a lot of dishes. But the largest moniker titling probably includes the dessert items, condiments, and items listed. I started with hot and sour soup. It had a nice distinctive flavor but not too spicy or sweet/sour but it did have a distinctive heat spiciness which i liked and was different. I am not an egg drop soup “fan” but I felt it was one of the best ones I have ever tasted. Thicker then usual it was nice and yellow with a very silky taste. I also liked the softwonton noodles soup. Wonton means “ swallowing the cloud} . Like a thin skin ravioli, it is made with a trailed noodle which floats in the soup liked “trailing clouds. You know I like something when I have to find a little information about its history.

I decided to do a tapas- like approach and savor the main dishes I wanted (I skipped several Pork dishes). The best were: coconut shrimp (white soft delectable balls of shrimp with a curious white coating); crab rangoon ( typical but good fried correctly); three different fresh tasting types of sushi (with green wasabi paste and pickled reddish ginger ). The rice pudding was creamy and excellent (for all I know it comes out of can/jar), The I spied some green like long items near the sushi and tasted it. Looked stringy but it was soft with little strands of carrots with a slight salty spicy taste. I asked even though I surmised) is was seed weed. It was sweeter and really good then I had tastedpreviouslyy at a restaurant in Overland Park that no longer exists.

The items that I sampled but were not as good and were okay were 3 types of egg rolls (meat, vegetable and another) which were fried but did not taste that great; chicken and broccoli; special chicken (not so special!); Marley chicken was not that spicy or have any particular specific flavor (I’ve had this at other restaurants and it has better flavor there); honey chicken chicken (too sweet and I have better at other places); egg food young ( did not have a good onion and egg flavor that I expected as other buffets); mushroom chicken did not have a meaty- buttery type taste I usually get from entrees like this); beef on stick ( little stringy); chicken wings (not spicy and did not have much flavor.

To top it off I sampled strawberry cheesecake ice cream I sampled had a lot of flavor (Baskin & Robbins like).

There were also different dishes that were not Chinese/. Asian meant to be part of the buffet that I did not touch like the regular salad bar items, baked potatoes
The soup were winners It has a big menu so you can also try other dishes not on the buffets. There are house specialties, all day comb specials. While it might not have been the largest set of items at the time, I visited, there was much that was good.

All in all for me, and possibly others, to come back to a restaurant, there are several factors . The price for lunch was right ($7.25). I thought the soups were special. Several has different textures, colors but above all tasted different then the normal and were a “level above” what I deem “average”. For overall consistency-wise, I prefer two places all you can eat places in Lawrence and Olathe.But I like a place that pulls a few surprises, has different flavors and has a " different take on foods " that I have not tasted before. I could see coming back here and seeing whether there are some entrees I missed.

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