Food Porn: Mongolian Buffet

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source: terry @ urbanspoon

We all have our guilty pleasures; I admit that from time to time I enjoy eating some completely unauthentic “Chinese food”, an sometimes even at a buffet (which is arguably the lowest form of Chinese fast food).  However, recently there has been an explosion of Asian cuisine the southtowns.  In the last year there has been 2 new Fuji Grill Locations, a Wasabi, and this newest addition- The Mongolian Buffet.  Normally I wouldn’t be that excited about another Chinese Buffet, but as you can tell form the picture above this location advertises Hibachi (essentially cooking raw meat on the spot, normally it’s entertaining) and a Sushi Bar.

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In general, the best time to go to a Chinese Buffet is shortly after they open their doors.  The inside looks nice, the food for some reason tastes better, the seats/booths aren’t sticky yet.  It’s insane how much wear and tear can happen in a year of operation, so if anyone reading this is interested in trying out Mongolian Buffet…do it now.

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Alli and I surveyed a sampling of what they had to offer in the gigantic buffet (there are 4 double sided buffet stations full of food)…their General Tso’s was decent, their Salt and Pepper Shrimp was pretty good (and something I haven’t seen before in a buffet), and their Coconut Glazed Shrimp hit the spot.  The Sushi, one of the 2 reasons we decided to try Mongolian, was pretty lackluster.  They have a cook constantly preparing and they had about a dozen offerings of sashimi (thick cuts of fish) and, as seen above, various rolls.  The biggest dilemma in something like this is obviously the freshness of the sushi.  Truth be told I’ve actually become a fan of Wegman’s prepared sushi and was somewhat optimistic about trying it at a Buffet.  I tried several different pieces and it wasn’t that good, there was a staleness that made the sushi seem almost scary.

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The other reason we decided to try Mongolian Buffet was the Hibachi “Station”.  Hibachi in Buffalo isn’t exactly a new thing, for years now Shogun (located on Transit Rd in Williamsville) has been offering an entertaining Hibachi experience.  For those of you who have never tried it, here is a video that shows the Onion Volcano, just one of the many tricks the cooks preform during the meal.  You do not get any of these tricks at Mongolian Buffet.  It’s not exactly surprising that at a Buffet where they serve 100-150 customers and hour at a rapid fire pace that they don’t have time to entertain each person that comes through the line. Walking up to the station you pick out a selection of frozen beef/chicken/seafood along with frozen vegetables and put them on a plate and hand it to the cook.  You then pick out what sauce you want poured over the food (I chose Teriyaki).  The end result was not very appetizing.  The meat was pretty tasteless except for the charred burned edges from where the cook burnt the hell out of it and the vegetables seemed old and stale.

Realistically I didn’t expect to eat at Mongolian Buffet and think that the Sushi was going to be Sea Bar quality Sushi or that the Hibachi would be like going to Shogun.  But even with those lowered expectations, it was still extremely disappointing.  If you want some good Sweet and Sour chicken or some decent Chicken and Broccoli then I guess this is a good spot-its pretty cheap, only 11.99 a person all you can eat (this includes buffet, sushi, and hibachi).  But if you want anything  of quality, do yourself a favor and spend some extra cash and go to Wasabi or Fuji Grill, both of which are less then a quarter of a mile from Mongolian Buffet.

Mongolian Buffet on Urbanspoon

One thought on “Food Porn: Mongolian Buffet

  1. Eatinaround

    Yes I eat alot at the Buffet but isn’t that why they are there? Was called a “PIG” by the young Asian waitress!! She walked by my table and said “Zhu”!! I spoke the word into translate and it said Pig!! I confronted her and the manager saying I understand a little Chinese and BAM!!! they start yelling at eachother then start apologizing saying she was just speaking out loud and not towards me! Wow even though I feel insulted at least I know for sure!! Never going back there!! Thanks Google Translate!!

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